July 20, 2008

Several recent polls show Americans believe Barack Obama is better prepared to deal with energy prices than John McCain, and given the importance of the issue on the minds of voters, the McCain campaign has decided to rely on a tried-and-true method of campaigning: lie like a rug.

Here’s McCain’s latest television ad:

I occasionally think about something Time’s Joe Klein wrote in April about McCain’s style. Klein predicted that McCain would avoid a cheap and pathetic style of campaigning, because he knows better. McCain, Klein said, “sees the tawdry ceremonies of politics — the spin and hucksterism — as unworthy.” If he doesn’t, “McCain will have to live with the knowledge that in the most important business of his life, he chose expediency over honor.”

For McCain, it appears the equation is simple. If abandoning honor and honesty will give him the presidency, then so be it. The truth, McCain has concluded, is for losers.

To anyone who cares about reality, the ad doesn’t make a lick of sense. McCain has to hope, desperately, that we’re all idiots.

For example, the ad says gas prices are high “because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America.” How’s that, exactly? No one is saying no to “drilling in America.” There’s all kinds of drilling in America. There’s drilling in U.S. waters, and on U.S. land. I don’t know of a single U.S. policy maker who wants “drilling in America” to stop.

Worse, the ad wants Americans to believe that prices would be lower if there was more “drilling in America.” McCain knows that’s not true, but hopes to fool just enough people, playing them for suckers. It’s shameful.

In fact, I know John McCain’s pitch a transparent scam, in large part because John McCain told me so.

My hunch is, there’s going to come a point in the not-too-distant future when John McCain looks back at this period of his campaign and asks himself, “I wonder what would have happened if I tried to run as an honest, honorable candidate.” I guess he (and we) will never know.

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