During the primaries, there was a tipping point where Hillary knew she had no other option than to go for the low blow, to ignore policy and direct her attention down the low road. Ultimately it was either too late or people simply weren’t (completely) buying it. Nevertheless, some of it stuck to Obama towards the end. Apparently, some 12% of Americans believe Obama to be a Muslim (in the land of religious freedom and political correctness, Islam is as bad a communism or a death penalty pardon) and to be unpatriotic.
We’re only in early August and yet John McCain feels so threatened by his rival that he has already turned nasty, even against what he had originally promised in terms of a “clean fight” — McCain now accuses Obama of being unpatriotic, acting like a celebrity wanna-be, and playing the race card. The New York Times Editorial Board, which had previously refused to publish a McCain op-ed piece for lack of substance, has printed two consecutive editorials criticizing McCain’s recent ads and false attacks — “Say What? John McCain, Barack Obama and the Race Card“, “Obama & Britney & Paris: The Low Road Express Goes Lower“. Then there was Bob Herberts’ “Running While Black“.
Obviously, Obama does run the risk of looking star-struck and self-important with all of the attention drawn to his candidacy. Sometimes he does come off more like Will Smith than George W. But does that alone justify McCain’s attacks on his persona? Was McCain right to whine about the New York Times criticisms? The Washington Post Ombudsan recently revealed that the paper was slightly covering Obama more than McCain. Who can blame them?
The thing we must remember is that we’ve reached the point where the voters don’t really care much about the real issues anymore. Now it’s all about watering down the issues into absurd sounds bytes to treat the voters like the naive, malleable ingoramuses that we are. That’s why McCain is talking about Paris Hilton, race cards, and patriotism. Meanwhile, the candidate are converging on a singular political view on each issue: the McBama vision. The only bold and beautiful thing about the election is that it is being steered towards becoming more of a soap opera than a policy debate.