John McCain was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries by a very ugly, and deeply personal, smear campaign. 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?” (At the time, McCain was campaigning with his dark-skinned daughter, Bridget, adopted from Bangladesh.) It was a despicable and vicious smear. And it worked.
Shortly after losing the 2000 election, McCain told an interviewer that there must be “a special place in hell” reserved for the rumormongers of this so-called “whisper campaign.” When asked about it by a South Carolina voter he responded by saying “I promise you, I have never and will never have anything to do with that.” He denounced such practices as “cowardly” and he called upon all GOP Primary candidates to join him “in pledging not to engage in such despicable tactics throughout the balance of this campaign.”
But, just as he has set aside so many other moral standards under the pressure of a campaign in freefall, Sen. McCain has chosen the low road once again. With polls in swing states moving in Obama’s direction and with the electoral map steadily turning against McCain, he has become what he decried in 2000. Rather than show how he would lead us through the greatest economic crisis in seventy years, he is content to use the same tactics he despised eight yeas ago, orchestrated by some of the same people that he once said were reserved “a special place in hell.”
From “push polls” to “racially tinged” attacks, to inspiring Open Racism and Death Threats McCain is stooping increasingly lower and lower. The results are disturbing – We’ve seen what amounts to angry mobs at McCain/Palin rallies shouting “treason” and even “terrorist” and “Kill him!” all without the slightest protest or denunciation of such behavior from the McCain camp.
Where is the outrage that we saw in 2000 now, Sen. McCain?
Obviously the senator has learned his lesson. The smear campaign of lies against McCain in 2000 was very effective. Bush made up a double-digit poll deficit in the primaries to beat McCain in racially charged South Carolina. So with his hopes of winning on the issues or his plans for the future dwindling, McCain is turning to the only thing left – the old GOP standby: appealing to fear and hate. But this time it’s different. This time we have a black candidate. This is beyond reckless – and McCain knows it.
UPDATE: More results of thinly veiled racism, from Andrew Sullivan:
McCain-Palin supporters at a Palin rally tell us what they think of the “terrorist” running for president. More accusations from McCain supporters in Pennsylvania that Obama is a “commie faggot” and a Muslim terrorist here.
Comments include: “He’s Got The Bloodlines” “Look at his name” “The name says it all”
Or these accusations from McCain supporters in Pennsylvania that Obama is a “commie faggot” and a Muslim terrorist: