Saturday, September 13, 2008
Using the L word.
Part of the political calculus being used by the Republicans right now is the tendency of the media to be "balanced", which means that if the press is going to report something negative about one campaign, they will often bring up a similar flaw with the other campaign, and even if they are not really of the same scale, they will be made to look equal.
But right now, many in the media are using the "L word". They are correctly calling John McCain and Sarah Palin liars. So much of the rollout of the new 2008 Sarah Palin model has been done with compelling stories that run counter to the truth, easily discovered lies. It's not just one or two. It's been a boatload, and having started lying, McCain and his campaign have had a hard time stopping.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times has a piece about several of the lies and the media's general reluctance to call them lies. Paul Sarobin in the National Journal wrote a long and dreary piece about how McCain is about honor and Obama is about empathy. I link to both, but I must say Sarobin's piece isn't worth reading, because he decided on a theme without looking at the facts on the ground.
John McCain speaks of honor, he sells baseball caps with the word honor, but he doesn't display honor.
Some will scream when this is said. He was a prisoner of war! How dare anyone judge this man! You did not endure what he endured!
The first and last of those exclamations are true. While all such experiences are unique, whose story can be put on the same level as McCain's? Nelson Mandela, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, survivors of the death camps and death marches during World War II.
But do those of us with more bland pasts dare judge him? Of course we can, and in fact, we must. Because honor is not like being a sports champion, something once achieved that can never be taken away. Honor is an everyday thing, something we all have to do, a simple decision not to lie, not to cheat, not to steal, to play by the rules. And day after day in this campaign, most notably since Sarah Palin has joined this campaign, John McCain has been without honor.
McCain has two great punchlines on the stump that he has repeated. "She sold the plane on eBay!" (laughter.) "And she made a profit!" (laughter.)
Great stuff. But both are factually incorrect. Simply put, both are lies. She put the extravagant plane bought by her predecessor on eBay, but it didn't sell. She hired an aviation broker to sell it, and it sold for $600,000 less than the purchase price, with a $31,000 broker's fee on top of that.
Right now, Senator McCain is without honor. To get honor back, he must start by repenting his sins. If he really wants the votes of the American people, he should confess his sins to them. And after that, he must go and sin no more. No more lies.
Having seen parts of his appearance on The View, I don't think he's up to it. There is no Straight Talk Express anymore. It's just an empty slogan, as he is an empty suit, the man who sells honor like it was a breakfast cereal, but has none to sell.