Tuesday, September 02, 2008

History Repeats Itself

In 2000, the Bush team resorted to one of the worst slimes against John McCain in South Carolina, which has often been cited as one of the main reasons that McCain lost the Republican nomination for President.

As was noted by Ann Banks in The Nation, Dirty Tricks, South Carolina and John McCain:
Eight years ago . . . John McCain took the New Hampshire primary and was favored to win in South Carolina. Had he succeeded, he would likely have thwarted the presidential aspirations of George W. Bush and become the Republican nominee. But Bush strategist Karl Rove came to the rescue with a vicious smear tactic.

Rove invented a uniquely injurious fiction for his operatives to circulate via a phony poll. Voters were asked, "Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain...if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?" This was no random slur. McCain was at the time campaigning with his dark-skinned daughter, Bridget, adopted from Bangladesh. It worked. Owing largely to the Rove-orchestrated whispering campaign, Bush prevailed in South Carolina and secured the Republican nomination. The rest is history--specifically the tragic and blighted history of our young century.
Fast forward 8 years, and now McCain has now embraced those very Machiavellian Monsters, such as Karl Rove and Charlie Condon, who once targeted him. And now, as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo observes:
John McCain just hired Tucker Eskew, the guy in charge of sliming him back in South Carolina in 2000. Apparently, he'll be in charge of prepping Sarah Palin for her role as McCain's running mate -- which, when you think about it, may be McCain's ultimate payback.
Jack Taper of Political Punch explains, McCain Hires GOP Operative Who Helped Smear Him in South Carolina in 2000, who Eskew is:

Former officials of Sen. John McCain's 2000 campaign expressed shock and disbelief Monday to learn than the GOP presidential nominee had hired South Carolina political consultant Tucker Eskew.

Eskew, along with Warren Tompkins and Neal Rhodes, were key members of then-Gov. George W. Bush's South Carolina team during the 2000 primaries. McCain and his team long held Bush, Tompkins, Rhodes and Eskew responsible for the various smears against McCain and his family in the Palmetto state during that contentious contest.

Of course, unlike those former McCain campaigners, I was not at all surprised by McCain's actions. In her Nation piece, Banks discusses what McCain has become:
I don't want to say that McCain sold his soul to the devil, since I believe that religious metaphors have no place in politics. But consider this: shortly after losing the 2000 election, McCain told an interviewer that there must be "a special place in hell" reserved for the rumormongers.
I too would not use the analogy that McCain sold his soul to the devil. After all, that would presume that he had a soul to begin with. I don't know that I'm prepared to concede that point. This is a man who was know as McNasty in high school and his disposition hasn't improved much since. See Meet McVicious.

This is the Real John McCain.

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