Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Can McCain's "Honor" survive the lies?Three things keep McCain's candidacy alive: the honor he earned as a POW in Hanoi, the reputation he has built as a straight-talking "maverick", and the gender/race resentments/prejudices of American voters. This three-legged stool is looking unstable now, due to wildly dishonest statements from McCain and Palin.
Not only is McCain's straight-talk rep falling apart, but the honor and integrity many of us saw in McCain has been badly tarnished. As we get closer to the real Sarah Palin, she seems more and more clearly to be a cynical choice, but the worst damage to McCain results from the deliberate lies.
Does McCain think women are so shallow that they would vote for Palin simply because she is a woman? Does McCain think voters are so stupid that he and his running mate can lie repeatedly?
Does anyone in the McCain camp realize that when they have lost this race, McCain will also have tarnished his character, sacrificed his heroic status, and trashed his reputation for integrity?
The man who once asserted that he would rather lose an election than take the low road in a campaign has abandoned that position. In so doing, he has abandoned the one thing that endeared him to many Americans - his character.
Richard Ben Cramer's excellent book about the 1988 election, "What It Takes", described the sacrifices candidates make in their pursuit of the highest office in the land. Some of those sacrifices bring honor to the candidate (one thinks immediately of Joe Biden's decision to quit the campaign to protect his brother from the press), and others bring dishonor. John McCain is sacrificing his honor to win this race, and it is a very sad thing to witness.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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