Even if you believe only one of the candidates running for president, it is clear that at least one pair of pants is on fire.
"Liar! liar!" has been both the chorus and refrain from Senator Obama's camp running all the way back to his snatching of the nomination from the jaws of Hillary Clinton. As desperation set in, the McCain-Palin ticket has finally caught on that their straight talk rhetoric begs for straight walk follow-through. McCain has launched an attack against Obama's lies that is short on subtlety and will likely be the deciding skirmish in his campaign for the White House.
When Obama lies - and by that I mean that he denies certain facts, or chooses to play a hide-and-seek game on topics that do not present a strong image to the general public - John and Sarah will no longer avoid using the "L" word. After listening to Biden and Obama smear both of their records and then hold the distortions up for all to see as an example of "lying" on the part of Team Maverick, it's about time they took the gloves off.
I will disclose that I have previously written on the distastefulness of using this potentially slanderous verb - lie - in public discourse. It is the nuclear bomb of political campaigning because of the collateral damage it inflicts by polarizing the electorate and lowering the standards of political discourse.
The verb should only be entered into a campaign when it is clear that a candidate is stubbornly omitting or obfuscating in order to avoid taking any consequences for some action they have taken that the people need to know about. Each politician must make their own
Truman-esque decision and will be judged by the voters on whether the end justified the use of catastrophic rhetorical ordnance.
In my opinion, the preconditions to allow McCain to go on the attack, and not wait for the media to catch Obama in lies, have not only been met, but I believe that he is morally obligated to make these charges.
It's a double jeopardy strategy on McCain's part that will only work if McCain can activate that most valuable portion of the human character - common sense. When confronted with an accusation and uncertain facts, the average person tends to want to fill in the blanks to make some judgment of their own. We are all reporters at heart, and when something stinks we are compelled to find the cause.
So far, the public's ignorance of Obama's messy past and the full weight of his ambitions has not met the stink test, because the mainstream media has done a fantastic job of spraying him down with several cans of air freshener every day. At any moment in the news cycle, Obama and Axelrod can select from the pleasing scents of Katie Couric, Soledad O'Brien, Campbell Brown, and a host of other starry-eyed media cohorts to neutralize their unpleasant campaign aromas.
What McCain must do over the course of the next week - and beginning in tonight's debate - is to hold up a big flashing red neon arrow pointing to the steaming pile that Obama has tried to keep the public from getting a deep whiff of. Even media voices who bathe each morning in Eau de Barack won't fight the public if the common sense wakes them up. Just ask Dan Rather.
It is obvious that McCain is prepared to make his case not only that Obama is lying, but that his cult-like following is beginning to take on some sinister characteristics.
In his speech this morning, McCain said, "I guess [Obama] believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed."
Whoever wrote McCain's speech was deliberately referencing (for those of us in the know) the infamous quote from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's chief propagandist, who said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." McCain is willing to risk inciting Armageddon in order to alert us to something much more dangerous than the loss of this election. He seeks to alert us to the abandonment of logic that has fueled the insomnia of many freedom-lovers and has seductively ensnared many Obama supporters in a fog of ignorant bliss.
Americans have always been proud of their individualism, their self-proclaimed immunity to nationalism and fascism. Those movements start when the masses begin to follow without question, to subordinate their own instincts and thoughts to the great good of "The Cause". If "The One" can't even submit himself to a mild vetting, he is not fit to lead. Whatever their final ballot choice may be, voters deserve answers.
Cross-posted at the Sound Politics Public Blog