As we get into what looks like a month of aggressive and dirty campaigning by the McCain team – avoiding issues like the economy, Afghanistan, Iraq and more to spend 100% of it’s time debasing Obama’s character – the choice for Obama will be to maintain his level-headed and “presidential” approach.
Many of us are worried because of this. The American public, egged on by television pundits who need to create the kind of programming that draws audiences, has often fallen for the Karl Rove type of attack scheme. Obama is betting on intelligence.
It is going to fall to the blogs, the 527s and the more liberal tv folks (ie: Letterman, Olbermann, Maddow) to go after McCain and Palin and their distinctly questionable personal alliances and political ensnarlments.
The major look at McCain is going to be in his involvement with Charles Keating, with whom he was more certainly a “pal” than Obama ever was with William Ayers.
To that end, a website (funded by Obama’s campaign) called KeatingEconomics.com is putting up a complete video documentary at 12PM Eastern Time today (there is a preview there as I write this). To take a quote from the site’s background piece:
When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating’s failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.
The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today’s credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain’s judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.
And this is only one of many areas that McCain will be hit on the web. Wesley Clark’s look at McCain’s military record was hit by the Columbia Journalism Review last summer.
It’s crucially important that we have a political debate in this country that’s at least sophisticated enough to be able to handle the following rather basic idea: Arguing that a person’s record of military service is not a qualification for the presidency does not constitute “attacking” their military credentials; nor can it be described as invoking their military service against them, or as denying their record of war heroism.
Watch for this to come up again.
We’ll also likely see attacks leveled at McCain’s health, McCain’s crapshooting history, and more.
It will be up to Obama to keep the issues up front in the debates. McCain won’t be the one to do it. The McCain campaign telegraphed their intentions to attack Obama… and it will most likely be the decision that finally brings them a lost election.