Beginning with the non-vetted selection of blunt object Sarah Palin as his running mate and flowering with the desperate William Ayer smear injected directly into the bloodstream of his campaign this past week, John McCain has gone from the lesser candidate to national disgrace. His entire legacy is on the line, and as USArmyParatrooper explains at MyDD, it's looking grim:
If Obama wins he will forever be ingrained in history books on a level few Presidents share, if for no other reasons because he will be the first black President.The upshot is that McCain's attacks are exceedingly cowardly, as glaringly revealed by his lack of cajones on Tuesday night in not saying any of it to Obama's face. Which the Obama campaign has clearly taken up, calling McCain out in what I assume is a totally strategic move. It started with the boss himself (thanks to TPM):
Since we live in such a media rich age his rise to power and his roadblocks will undoubtedly be well documented and retold throughout time. Because of this John McCain is destroying his legacy on an enormously long-term basis. 200 years from now our history books will talk about Barack Hussein Obama, the first black President and the country's reaction. It will be told how his political opponent went to great lengths to portray him as a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, how in McCain rallies death threats were shouted. It will be told how many on the right tried to portray him as Muslim during a time when few accepted the Muslim faith in the land of the free. It will be told how John McCain and the right questioned his patriotism and his dedication to the troops. It will be told how they even shamelessly went after his wife, Michelle Obama. As our young students learn about American history they will look back on this period thinking, "how sad." Just like we view our wrongdoings in the past with regret, so will we in the future.Just imagine during the Jetson era young children sitting in school watching beautiful, historic and inspirational Obama speeches, and then watching John McCain and the right's ugly rhetoric. McCain has been out to make his mark in history, but I don't think he's thought about what that mark will look like. Sad indeed.
Then Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack took up the charge:
Capped by this street-level call-out by running mate Joe Biden:
With McCain's famous temper, this could be an attempt to draw the foul and get him to bring it up in the next debate, where Obama will be just as ready as he was with his "don't understand" killer.
“All of the things they said about Barack Obama in the TV, on the TV, at their rallies, and now on YouTube and everything else,” Biden said — referring to McCain and Palin tying Obama to Weatherman bomber Bill Ayers and accusing him of “palling around with terrorists.”
“John McCain could not bring himself to look Barack Obama in the eye and say the same things to him,” he said to cheers. “In my neighborhood, you got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him.“
Josh Marshall nails it in "The Cowardice Issue":
Or, as John Cole puts it in the vernacular:
McCain's moral cowardice has been one of the subtexts of this campaign ever since he wound up the nomination and turned his attention to Barack Obama. But I did not realize it would reveal itself in such a physical dimension...
...He ever swaggered on for a couple days about how he was going to 'take the gloves off' when he met up with Obama in Nashville. But when the two of them were there in each others physical presence ... nothing. By a myriad of gestures and reactions Obama owned him...
...And now Obama can lightly taunt McCain with that very cowardice, his inability to just say it to his face. And if my take on the inner workings of McCain's mind at the moment is right that should simply unhinge him even more.
This is what kills Presidential candidates the most: being seen as unmanly. Fair or not, it killed Gore and it killed Kerry. And now it's the skinny intellectual from Hawaii and Harvard who's looking like a real man in this contest.
John McCain is not man enough to own his shit. John McCain will not openly confront Obama with his smears and lies and innuendo. John McCain will not come out and talk about Ayers, he has to be asked. That is why he goes to places like Fox News, so he can be asked. What a coincidence.
John McCain is a coward.
John McCain would rather hide behind his wife and Sarah Palin than say it himself.
John McCain just wants to throw shit out there, and “raise questions” about Obama, and hope his supporters connect the dots, because he is too much of a coward to directly push this toxic stew. He would rather hide behind right-wing bloggers, surrogates, and scummy websites staffed with wingnut welfare recipients like the NRO and the Weekly Standard.
John McCain had 90 minutes to bring this stuff up to Obama, to his face, and passed.
John McCain is a coward.
Even the mainstream media is calling bullshit on the smear-by-association:
So how long until the term "coward" starts leaking into the mainstream media itself?
I predict Sunday morning they'll be debating whether it's fair to call John McCain a coward or not. And at that point, he's lost the issue.