John McCain’s campaign has been attacking Barack Obama’s background today, both in another dishonest ad and in a conference call with reporters. Marc Ambinder calls the ad “a breezy, guilt-by-association tour.” Ben Smith points out that the McCain campaign’s charges against Obama are “rife with error.”
The errors in McCain strategist Steve Schmidt’s charges against Obama and Sen. Joe Biden were particularly notable because they seemed unnecessary. Schmidt repeatedly gilded the lily: He exaggerated the Biden family’s already problematic ties to the credit card industry; Obama’s embarrassing relationship with a 1960s radical; and an Obama supporter’s over-the-top attack on Sarah Palin when — in each case — the truth would have been damaging enough.
“Any time the Obama campaign is criticized at any level, the critics are immediately derided as liars,” Schmidt told reporters.
But as he went on to list a series of stories he thought reporters should be writing about Obama and Biden, in almost every instance he got the details wrong.
The McCain campaign responded by accusing Ben Smith of being in the Obama “tank.” Marc Ambinder responded:
As in — no, we don’t have to justify what we say, and the fact that you would question our assertions is proof-positive that you’ve absorbed the Obama campaign’s worldview.
Not only is that Addington-esque in its logic — the spokesperson is PAID by one tank, so how can he possibly make that accusation credibly — it’s also immature (like throwing reporters off planes) and counterproductive. Maybe I’m in Ben Smith’s tank for saying this.
Let’s be clear and be honest with each other. Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day, attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Gov. Palin and excuses Sen. Obama.
These attacks on the media show once again how McCain/Palin seems far too much like a replay of Nixon/Agnew. I’m still waiting for them to attack the media as an effete corps of impudent snobs or nattering nabobs of negativism. While these attacks on the media will excite the far right base, most rational people will see through them.
The entire line of attack based upon Obama’s past is faulty. They used factually incorrect attacks which have already been debunked many times and relied upon guilt by association. They hoped to tarnish Obama’s reputation with the overall reputation of Chicago politics, ignoring the fact that while in the Illinois legislature Obama passed landmark ethics reforms. By making the past history of the candidates a part of this campaign, they make raising the Keating 5 scandal fair game against John McCain. A true case of unethical conduct by John McCain is far more meaningful than any number of false attacks on Obama from McCain. If McCain wants to campaign based upon guilt by association, we can look more closely at his close ties to lobbyists, along with his close association to George Bush.