Sunday, August 03, 2008

Meet McVicious

He's been called a Grumpy Old Man, McNasty and now, we're starting to see McCain take it to a whole new level -- McVicious.

According to John Heilemann of New York Magazine, the Extreme Negative Campaign may be the latest version of the Straight to Hell Express. Quoting a GOP operative who called McCain a tough guy, someone who will do whatever he needs to do, Is Mudslinging the Only Way John McCain Can Win?, Heilemann notes:

But with the weeklong string of attacks uncorked by the Arizona senator and his people during Obama’s trip abroad and in its aftermath—some brutal, some mocking, but all personal and focused on Obama’s character—we now have an inkling of just how deep in the mud McCain and his people are willing to wallow in order to win in November: right up to their Republican eyeballs.

As countless fact-checkers and tsk-tskers have maintained, the broadsides were a blend of distortion, innuendo, and outright slander. But that doesn’t mean they (and their inevitable successors) won’t prove effective, especially against an opponent with so little experience under ruthless and relentless fire. Before Obama hurled himself into the presidential scrum he’d never been hit with a negative ad—a point often raised by Hillary Clinton’s people. And though they made sure Obama lost his negative-spot virginity, the ads they ran against him were patty-cake compared with what he faces now. Hence the questions on which the general election may turn: Will Obama be capable of withstanding the pummeling the McCain forces have begun to unleash? Or, as Hillary privately predicted, will he crumple like a paper doll?
Joe Conason at Salon also probes this theme, John McCain wants the White House in the worst way:
For many of the journalists who regard John McCain as an unusually honorable politician, listening to his increasingly dishonorable campaign rhetoric is a painful and puzzling experience. They are openly wondering what has driven him to denigrate and even smear Barack Obama in a style more reminiscent of McCain's old enemies in his own party than the straight-talking maverick. They want to believe that he has not really changed, and that somehow these lapses can be blamed on someone else. Like a spouse in a bad marriage, they have yet to face up to the fact that he actually changed years ago -- or to ask if he was ever the man they once thought he was.
Despite the criticisms, McVicious is moving forward with his Extreme Negative Campaign on the Straight Ahead Express. It's the only thing he has at this point -- and it works. He hopes he has enough residual press credibility to deflect the worst attacks on him, while carrying out the onslaught against his opponent. He has taken some severe hits from the media for his tactics these past few weeks -- even from places like the Wall Street Journal -- but he hasn't backed off at all. He's gone so far as to deny anything false or negative in his ad campaigns. As Heilemann concludes:
Instead, the motor behind his operation now is Steve Schmidt, the shaven-headed strategist who earned his bones running Karl Rove’s war room in 2004, Frenchifying and de-war-heroizing John Kerry. What Schmidt and his associates have apparently concluded is that McCain’s weaknesses—on the election’s most salient issues and as a candidate—are so pronounced and Obama’s vulnerabilities so glaring that the low road is their guy’s best, and maybe only, route to the White House. They’ve concluded, in other words, that even if McCain may not be able to win the election in any affirmative sense, he might still wind up behind the big desk if he and his people can strip the bark off Obama with sufficiently vicious force.
John McCain -- LOL. Lots of Lies.

(Cartoon via Mike Keefe, Denver Post)

1 comment:

quakerdave said...

Mud's all he's got, and it's going to get worse.