I’ve never really supported McCain, but most of the election, I’ve thought that he’d be a big improvement over Bush, and a big improvement over any of the other Republicans. I felt that under McCain, we’d be a little bit better-off, but that under Obama, we’d be even more better-off. So I had a strong preference for Obama, but couldn’t get myself to be too bothered by McCain.
But a lot of stuff has caused me to swing from McCain-agnostic to anti-McCain.
- Sarah Palin. I liked her at first. She seems like a good governor, took on her own party over corruption, and was against the Bridge to Nowhere. Except that it turns out that she, herself, is under investigation for abuse of power as governor; she billed the state a per-diem for time spent living in her own house (to the tune of $40,000). And the Bridge to Nowhere I applauded her for opposing? It turns out she campaigned for the bridge, and only scrapped plans when the Feds decided to give them less money. Oh, Alaska kept the Federal money, spending it on other things. All these little things about her lead me to wonder: why did McCain pick her? What does it say about his judgment? Will he try to appoint Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court again? (For a little bit of humor, a Daily Show clip about Sarah Palin and “the gender card.”)
- McCain’s not being able to say how many houses he owned kind of blew over in the media, but left me somewhat confused. How do you not know that? For someone combatting images that he’s wealthy and out of touch, and combatting smears that he’s old and senile, not knowing how many houses you own was a big misstep. The Washington Post has the answer, by the way.
- Remember the nasty ’04 campaign and Karl Rove? Guess who’s working behind the scenes on the McCain campaign?
- His brusque Time Magazine interview.
- His recent ads. This is what shifted me from, “He wouldn’t be a good pick” to, “I actively oppose John McCain.” It’s the norm in politics to tell half-truths about your opponent. But McCain’s latest ads, instead of being half-truths, are truth-free. I posted a few days ago about them, in which he asserts that Obama voted to teach sex in kindergarten. He voted for a bill to teach kindergartners about avoiding sexual predators. And then he sent an e-mail out to everyone on his campaign mailing list (including me), starting, “Friends, You’ve surely seen the shameful attacks Senator Obama and his liberal allies have launched against our vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin.” Who’s calling who disgraceful? He also keeps talking about Obama’s plans to raise taxes, when a cornerstone of Obama’s plan is actually to cut taxes on the middle class. It’s defined pretty clearly on his website. And yet McCain persists in talking about how Obama’s going to hurt the middle class. Then Obama criticized the McCain-Palin message of change, saying, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.” McCain went around lambasting Obama for insensitively calling Palin a pig. Except that Obama wasn’t actually doing that, at all.
It ended up blowing up in his face during his recent interview on The View. A recent New York Times op-ed calls him out on the same thing. And it seems that a lot of other news publications that are much less liberal than the New York Times have followed suit. And the Obama campaign is getting good at denouncing the attacks and injecting just a little bit of snark, like their recent statement, “In running the sleaziest campaign since South Carolina in 2000 and standing by completely debunked lies on national television, it’s clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.”
I used to favor Obama but not really mind McCain. But I think McCain has gone too far—way too far—and I’m left not only rooting for Obama, but rooting against McCain. I shied away from the “McCain = Third Bush Term” people. McCain was different, I thought. I didn’t agree with him on all the issues, but he was a lot better than Bush. He had some integrity. At least, that’s what I used to think.