I don’t think John McCain is running the sleaziest campaign in recent memory. I think he’s just running one of the most prominently stupid.
Today, Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, is publicly reconsidering using the Wright issue. This is after publicly ruminating over using it before, then graduallly and publicly determining that they probably wouldn’t. The reason that the McCain campaign seems so sleazy is that every time they’re about to embark on another attack on Obama, they launch a media pondering tour about whether or not they should do it. Because every anti-Obama smear they toss out lingers for days and days at a time, their crazy base picks each of them up and runs with them (or has already been running with them and therefore feels emboldened to continue).
It’s not so much that McCain’s campaign has been purposefully sleazy as they’ve been meanderingly, pointlessly sleazy. It’s the “fuck it, whatever” guide to Republican politics, with no particular focus except putting anything out there to win a daily news cycle. Obama was a conspirator in voter fraud for a weekend, a terrorist for about three days, until he was a socialist because some plumber in Ohio said so. Before that he was a celebrity and presumptuous, a race-baiter, a shady community organizer, sexist, inexperienced, a baby killer, a sex predator and a dozen other things. You wonder why McCain/Palin supporters feel like they can go to rallies and talk about Obama being a Jew-bought Islamic radical cokehead forced abortionist communist? Because it’s the standard that the campaign’s set by having ridiculously drawn out public conversations designed to draw full attention to the charges while laboring under the pretense that they’re “debating” over using the smear.
Am I going to call McCain a Neo-Nazi? Don’t know – maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It might reflect poorly on me, but it might also be a useful strategy. I’m going to go call up Mike Allen at Politico.com and talk to him about it on the record…you know, just to have a sounding board.