Barack Obama has just released a stinging new campaign ad calling a spade a spade (or is that an asshole an asshole) when it comes to the shameful campaign being run by John McCain: it uses strong language — and appropriately so — words like disgraceful, dishonorable, vile and dishonest.
But, to tell you the truth, while all of this is true, I actually think a different word better describes McCain’s campaign — frivolous.
Anyone with the intelligence of a pitted prune (and, no, that’s not a reference to McCain’s age, although if the wrinkle fits . . .) understands that these are desperate times: the economy’s crumbling; our military is disastrously overextended, even as the Taliban and al-Qaeda grow stronger in Afghanistan and Pakistan; economic inequality, already at record levels, is still growing; the world is faced with a potential environmental apocalypse in global warming; and on and on.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, or so the saying goes. But, hell, when it comes to the McCain campaign, I’d settle for just a modicum of seriousness: you know, something along the lines of a reasonably specific description of how he proposes to put this nation back on track.
Instead, of course, all we get are lies, lies and still more lies. Silly lies that insult our intelligence. Yet, not only do McCain and Palin speak them once: they repeat them, again and again, even after they’ve been thoroughly debunked, as with Sarah Palin’s repeated claim that she personally killed the Bridge to Nowhere.
It’s almost as though John McCain has decided to base his entire campaign on the “deny, deny, deny” strategy suggested by the Robert Morse character in the movie A Guide for the Married Man, where he recommends to his friend, played by Walter Matthau, that he deny having an affair no matter how damning the evidence and even if his wife catches him in bed with another woman (video clip).
So it is with the McCain/Palin campaign: no matter how clear the evidence is that they’re lying, they just deny, deny and deny, and then go right on lying.
It’s sad, really. A presidential campaign that started out with the promise of The Audacity of Hope, ends up being defined, instead, by the mendacity of deceit.
But the frivolousness of the McCain campaign isn’t limited to its deceitfulness. There’s also the refusal to offer any real solutions to America’s problems. Whether it’s about “drill baby, drill” or more tax cuts for the wealthy, every word that comes out of McCain’s mouth is a pander.
And then, of course, there’s Palin herself: I mean, why bother with actual qualifications when you can offer up a gun toting mama with star power?!
Will it work? Will a campaign based on frivolous diversions sell even in these desperate times?
We won’t know the answer for certain, of course, until Election Day. But for anyone who loves the democratic process, the fact that it seems to stand as good a chance as it does of working should be profoundly troubling.