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So Much For The 'Respectful Campaign'

In recent weeks, as the McCain campaign has become more reckless in its attacks, the presumptive Republican nominee and his allies have begun going af

In recent weeks, as the McCain campaign has become more reckless in its attacks, the presumptive Republican nominee and his allies have begun going after Barack Obama’s integrity. McCain’s campaign has said Obama should not be “taken at his word,” and his “word cannot be trusted.” McCain was asked directly whether he questioned Obama’s patriotism, and McCain wouldn’t give a straight answer.

Yesterday, the McCain campaign kicked things up a notch, arguing that Obama and Democrats want to see the U.S. fail in Iraq in order to benefit politically.

The new accusation was unveiled on a McCain campaign conference call [this morning], with top McCain surrogates making this charge in tandem.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said that a “turning point” was when Harry Reid declared the war “lost” over a year ago, and brought up an old quote from Chuck Schumer predicting that discontent with the war would lead to further Democratic gains. “The Democratic Party built a political strategy around us losing the war in Iraq,” Graham said.

McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann joined in: “Senator Obama seems to think losing a war will help him win an election.”

Now, none of McCain’s surrogates or aides literally used the word “treason,” but their comments were pointed in that direction. After all, Americans who actively want to see U.S. troops die in a war and “lose” on the battlefield are, necessarily, anti-American. Anyone who would look forward to American defeat for political gain is, by any reasonable definition, a traitor.

I vaguely recall McCain’s promise to run a “respectful” and “civil” campaign. Like most of McCain’s promises, this one didn’t last long.

As long as the shameless hacks at McCain headquarters are going to scrape the bottom of the rhetorical barrel, we might as well point out a few of the problems here.

First, as Greg Sargent noted, it’s McCain and his aides who’ve said terrorist attacks on U.S. soil would help Republicans. During the 2004 elections, after the release of a Bin Laden tape, McCain said, “Bin Laden may have just given us a little boost. Amazing, huh?” To paraphrase McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann, Senator McCain seems to think death and destruction at the hands of al Qaeda will help Republicans win an election.

Second, responsibility for the failure of the U.S. policy in Iraq rests with the Bush administration, and by extension, the Republican cheerleaders in Congress who’ve enabled the president for years. Neither Obama nor Democrats in general deserve the blame for the fiasco Bush and McCain helped create.

Third, to hear the McCain campaign tell it, “The Democratic Party built a political strategy around us losing the war in Iraq.” My only follow-up question: “To whom?” For all the talk about “defeat” from Republicans, I’d love to know who it is the GOP thinks would beat us.

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