Friday, September 12, 2008

Paul Krugman slams McCain on his lies

I guess the mainstream media is starting to wake up on the McCain campaign lies. From The New York Times Paul Krugman:

Did you hear about how Barack Obama wants to have sex education in kindergarten, and called Sarah Palin a pig? Did you hear about how Ms. Palin told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it wanted to buy Alaska a Bridge to Nowhere?

These stories have two things in common: they’re all claims recently made by the McCain campaign — and they’re all out-and-out lies.

Dishonesty is nothing new in politics. I spent much of 2000 — my first year at The Times — trying to alert readers to the blatant dishonesty of the Bush campaign’s claims about taxes, spending and Social Security.

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

Krugman then goes through and picks apart the McCain/Palin lies on the Bridge to Nowhere and Obama's kindergarten sex-education, and Obama's "lipstick on a pig" sexist smear. But Krugman goes even further in explaining why the McCain campaign continues their lies. The McCain campaign is hoping that the media will "balance" the McCain campaign lies with reports that the Democrats will say McCain is wrong, or will pair McCain's "grotesque lie" with Obama's "trivial misstatement," resulting with "the impression that both sides are equally dirty." In other words, John McCain is trying to force Barack Obama into the slime-filled mudpit that McCain is wallowing in, knowing that once Obama is pulled into the pit, the 2008 campaign will be about lies and character assassinations, rather than the issues that John McCain does not have. And Krugman does show that once the campaign descends into the mudslinging, the issues will become the first casualty.

But there is another reason for the dishonesty within the McCain campaign:

I’m not talking about the theory, often advanced as a defense of horse-race political reporting, that the skills needed to run a winning campaign are the same as those needed to run the country. The contrast between the Bush political team’s ruthless effectiveness and the heckuva job done by the Bush administration is living, breathing, bumbling, and, in the case of the emerging Interior Department scandal, coke-snorting and bed-hopping proof to the contrary.

I’m talking, instead, about the relationship between the character of a campaign and that of the administration that follows. Thus, the deceptive and dishonest 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign provided an all-too-revealing preview of things to come. In fact, my early suspicion that we were being misled about the threat from Iraq came from the way the political tactics being used to sell the war resembled the tactics that had earlier been used to sell the Bush tax cuts.

And now the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?

What it says, I’d argue, is that the Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.

If the McCain/Palin campaign has sunk this low in running such a dishonest, slime-filled, character assassination campaign, then how far will a McCain/Palin administration send this country into the gutter with a failed economic policy, a failed foreign policy of isolating the U.S. with the world, or even causing a new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia? How far will the McCain/Palin administration send this country into new forms of domestic spying, reversing civil rights, destroying womens' rights, or forcing religious fanaticism down everyone's throats? We have seen how George W. Bush has run two presidential campaigns and won, but show this country just how much King George The Deciderer has been a failure at governing the country. Bush ran his presidential campaigns on the politics of fear and character assassinations. Now we have John McCain and Sarah Palin running their campaign with an increased level of slime, dishonesty, character assassinations, lies, and negative attacks.

A McCain/Palin administration would be far worse than a Bush third term.

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