There are occasions when the ref has to step in and blow the whistle because a foul has been committed. And on the heels of yesterday's post where I called for civility from both presidential campaigns, less character assassination and more issue-oriented discourse, things have only gotten worse. From the John McCain campaign.
After reading several accounts of recent McCain/Palin rallies from a number of news organizations, I learned that a handful of nitwits in attendance shouted things such as, "Kill him," "treason" and "terrorist" when Barack Obama's name was invoked by McCain or Palin. One rally attendee reportedly told an African-American TV network cameraman, "Sit down boy." The McCain campaign has said that neither the senator nor Gov. Sarah Palin heard these shouts from the crowd and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not, in fact, hear the reprehensible utterances. But given that they've been widely reported, why haven't McCain or Palin explicitly and prominently said that there's no place in this campaign for that kind of rhetoric and vileness?
The campaign instead, has only revved up the personal attacks by releasing a statement from a man whose father was, 40 years ago, targeted by the group of domestic terrorists, a member of which is now a university professor, associates with the mayor of Chicago and held a fundraiser many years ago for Obama. "Barack Obama's friend tried to kill my family," the man said in a McCain press release as the campaign has also unveiled another online ad on the same topic.
Cindy McCain also amped up the attacks by taking to a podium and saying when Obama didn't vote for a defense funding bill -- which did not contain a timeline to withdraw troops from Iraq -- she was offended. ". . . [T]he day Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body." What she did not say was that Obama did vote for a different version of the funding bill which contained a timetable and that he wasn't against giving the troops the materials they need.
Certainly John McCain does not believe his Senate colleague is a terrorist or supports terrorists. Certainly Cindy McCain doesn't believe that Obama wants U.S. troops to not receive the funding they need to keep them safe. (Given that Obama's running mate Sen. Joe Biden -- like McCain and Palin -- also has a son serving in Iraq, this is ridiculous.)
Likewise, I don't see the Obama campaign out there saying that McCain hates Jews and Catholics simply because a reverend whose support McCain actively sought this spring espoused hate-filled rhetoric reminiscent to the ugliness that came out of the mouth of the preacher from Obama's church. I also don't think that people could reasonably suggest that McCain doesn't support the troops because he once voted against a bill whose provisions included funding efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain had principled reasons to vote against it, just like Obama did for his vote.
John McCain is an American hero and should be admired for his noble service to our country. And it's a tragedy that this once principled pol and his campaign are tarnishing that image with such despicable attacks which they know, in their hearts, are disingenuous. They're becoming precariously close to becoming the embodiment of the Saturday Night Live satire that aired a few weeks ago. What a damned shame.