The Media Begins to Confront the Awfulness of the McCain Campaign

Today's New York Times has a remarkable editorial that dives deeply into a theme we've been exploring here at NDN for the last few months - the overwhelming sense of weakness, desperation and just plain awfulness of the McCain campaign and its candidate.

It begins:

Well, that certainly didn’t take long. On July 3, news reports said Senator John McCain, worried that he might lose the election before it truly started, opened his doors to disciples of Karl Rove from the 2004 campaign and the Bush White House. Less than a month later, the results are on full display. The candidate who started out talking about high-minded, civil debate has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove’s low-minded and uncivil playbook.

In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has been waving the flag of fear (Senator Barack Obama wants to “lose” in Iraq), and issuing attacks that are sophomoric (suggesting that Mr. Obama is a socialist) and false (the presumptive Democratic nominee turned his back on wounded soldiers)

The rest of the editorial is very much worth reading here. In today's paper, the Times also has a related article in its news section, and the Washington Post offers up a story, McCain Charge Against Obama Lacks Evidence, which explores the integrity of McCain's effort. As readers of this blog know, I have been arguing for months that McCain and his performance are a legitimate and important issue in the campaign. His ads have been full of outright lies. His public comments have been full of false statements about facts, history, his opponent and even his own voting record. There is a lack of seriousness about some of the major issues facing the country. He has knowingly violated campaign finance laws he helped create. He has said he would clear his campaign of lobbyists and has now reversed that decision. He is on his third campaign manager. Several senior campaign advisors have had to resign. He hid two surgeries he had this year, during the campaign, from the public. The list goes on and on...

Yesterday, I looked at the lies behind his last three TV ads. Previously, I wrote about how the media was beginning to make McCain and his campaign an issue; about the importance of his putting a Bush/Rove operative in charge of his campaign; and that the big story of the race so far was his terrible performance as a candidate. In one of these posts, I concluded:

it all adds up to a man simply not up to the job of running for -- or actually being -- President of the United States. In a recent appearance, I even surmised that the GOP would become so concerned with his performance that there would start to be a quiet movement to replace him at the Convention with another candidate. This moment may be upon us as the media, and the public now has no choice but to confront that there is a man running for President who seems so out of touch with basic facts, reality, his own voting record that one might even conjecture that it would be a grave risk for the United States to put him in charge of the country.

After a Republican era during which governing always played 2nd fiddle to politics and power - resulting in one of the worst governments in our history - we all hoped McCain would represent a break from the truly disapointing politics of the Bush era. But his performance these last few months shows that his lack of seriousness and knowledge about policy - even running an ad saying that his energy and drilling proposals would immediately address high gas prices when everyone knows this to be, let us say, not true - shows that the McCain candidacy has itself become an extension of this awful Republican era that did so much to harm the national interests of the United States, leaving us less prosperous, less powerful in the world and certainly less free here at home.

In putting Steve Schmidt, a Bush/Rove protege, in charge of his campaign, McCain has told us all exactly what kind of man he has become, and what kind of Presidency we can expect.

In trying to make the campaign about Senator Obama, the McCain campaign has made the national story about themselves, their own integrity and their own performance, and it has become a disapointing and awful spectacle to watch.

Update 344pm: Markos reports on how the McCain campaign has now admitted that the premise behind their "troops" ad was, let us say, just not true.

Update 555pm: And this stumbling campaign today reaches oh so high with their new ad, featuring Paris and Britney. It replaces the ad McCain now acknowledges as untrue and problematic. My my what would Joe Lieberman say about this new one....

Update 945pm: Obama responds