Newsweek's Alter: 'McCain Should Stop Lying About His Opponent'

Two weeks ago, it seemed Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter had just about had it with John McCain. The columnist said he’s “misread McCain,” who, it t

Two weeks ago, it seemed Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter had just about had it with John McCain. The columnist said he’s “misread McCain,” who, it turns out, is “a surprisingly immature politician” who may not be “ready to lead.” Alter’s piece concluded that McCain had “mortgaged his precious personal honor.”

But underlying Alter’s argument is that McCain is still a good guy who’s been led astray by irresponsible advisors who’ve led him astray. McCain’s ugly campaign is “out of sync with the real guy,” Alter said.

In his new column, Alter takes McCain to task for “making stuff up about Barack Obama,” and this time, Alter doesn’t make excuses for the Republican nominee.

As usual, news organizations are deeply afraid to say that one side is more negative than the other. Doing so sounds “unfair.” It’s much easier, and less controversial, to say that “both candidates” are being negative. That would be “balanced”, but also untrue. […]

[O]verall, and to his credit, Obama has not engaged in anywhere near the number of falsehoods as McCain.

For about a month, McCain’s campaign has been resorting to charges that are patently false. When Obama traveled abroad in July, to positive reviews, McCain decided he had to make attack ads that went far beyond the norm. In the past, plainly deceptive ads were the province of the Republican National Committee or the Democratic National Committee or independent committees free to fling mud that didn’t bear the fingerprints of candidates. But not this time. These smears come directly from the candidate.

The litany is no doubt familiar to those watching the campaign closely. McCain lied about Obama being responsible for gas prices. Then about Obama’s treatment of wounded U.S. troops in Germany. And then again about Obama’s tax policies.

[W]hen he resorts to these kinds of falsehoods, and casts such aspersions on his opponent’s patriotism, John McCain is no longer putting his country first. If he were, he would recognize that the interests of the nation require a relatively truthful campaign. To fulfill his image of himself, McCain should stop lying about his opponent. For a man with his claims to honor and integrity, that’s not too much to ask.


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I think McCain has lost Jonathan Alter.

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