"Who is the real Barack Obama?" asked McCain at a rally in New Mexico -- and didn't correct a thug who yelled, "Terrorist!" in response. "Kill him!" screamed the crowd at a rally in Florida after Ms. Palin smeared Mr. Obama for his supposed association with former Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers. She didn't object to the lynching cry, but went on to say: "I'm afraid [Obama] is someone who sees America as 'imperfect enough' to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the McCain surrogate from Connecticut, assures us that this is "all fair game," a statement that would be surprising if it were not uttered by him.
He was happy to accept Obama's support when his own reelection was in jeopardy two years ago, and he is happy to help smear him today.
But is it fair game? Considering that Obama was a child when Mr. Ayers was involved in those bombings, and that he has forthrightly condemned the Weather Underground's lethally insane conduct, it is neither fair nor germane.
It is somewhat less fair, for instance, than dredging up McCain's old association with an international fascist outfit called the World Anti-Communist League. Back when he joined up with WACL, a quarter-century ago, the shadowy group was a haven for war criminals, drug smugglers and other miscreants from Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Mideast, promoting the ideology of the far right, supposedly to combat the Soviet foe. Among those involved in WACL were the fascist terrorists identified as responsible for bombings in Italy that had killed hundreds of innocent people.
Was McCain, then a political neophyte, responsible for the crimes of his associates in WACL? No, but he was an adult when he signed up, and he lent his prestige to them. He says he quit, but John Singlaub, the ultra-right former Army general who served as WACL's American frontman for many years, doesn't recall him resigning.
Then there is McCain's former association with financial crook Charles Keating, who was not only a political supporter but a benefactor who brought Cindy McCain into his investments and bestowed free Caribbean vacations on the McCain family. Is it fair to revisit that old controversy, which the senator thinks he has expiated? Only because his campaign wants to distract the public with discussions of "character."
What these concluding weeks have told us about the Republican candidate, to the shock and surprise of many of his admirers, is that he misunderstands the meaning of honor. Evidently he believes that the credit he accrued for suffering bravely for his country in Vietnam somehow licenses him to campaign as crudely and deceptively as he can, if that will help him to win. He seems not to realize that the respect he earned so many years ago requires him to uphold a higher standard of decency in politics.
A leader who doesn't realize that honor can be lost as well as earned is a danger to himself and his country.
© Creators Syndicate
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Albion Monitor October
11, 2008 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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