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September 20, 2017

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Wonder Woman revives Superman

Senator McCain has stolen Barack Obama's mantle — or is it mantra? — of change, and he is charging towards victory like a running back in football whose line has just poked a big hole in the opposition's defenses. Obama is still trying to figure out how to stop him and Sarah Palin, the newest and brightest star in the political firmament.

McCain's offensive line is his top handlers, backed by notable Republican politicos and talk show activists. They are seasoned operatives who have won elections before by turning them into nasty high school popularity contests and brutish culture wars about "values." In the latest ad offensive approved by McCain, Obama is portrayed as a sexist who implied that his running mate is a pig, and another ad could lead to suspicion that Obama is a closet pedophile who supports explicit sex education for children before they can even read. Both of the ads are false and misleading, but that doesn't matter. Attack ads are effective, and McCain now has a slight lead in the notoriously fickle national opinion polls which feed the media's voracious hunger for content every day.

This is not to say that the Democrats are above mud-slinging. Democratic activists reacted to the announcement that Governor Palin would be McCain's running mate by trying to trash her. It was not very pretty, but Obama did not lend his name to it.

Forget about the candidates' claims to take the high road. What voters need to do now is decide whose attacks might be based on some semblance of fact, whose campaign is the dirtiest, and whether the way a presidential candidate campaigns is indicative of the way he would govern at home and commit the United States abroad. As example, President Bush's abysmal approval ratings suggest that many Americans would agree with the contention that he campaigned dirty and governed dirty, dividing the nation to conquer it, and lying repeatedly to the American people. Would the same be true of a McCain presidency, or of Obama if he should win?

One might wonder why Senator Obama plans to go on the attack, or why straight-talk McCain now panders to the dirtiest players in the Republican base, the same people who helped Bush kill off his candidacy in the 2000 primaries in a particularly ugly way.

The answers are simple. McCain claims to far greater experience weren't winning him support, his party distrusted him, and his campaign seemed almost moribund until he named Governor Palin as his running mate. His handlers apparently persuaded him that the only way to win in November is to trash his opponent's charisma, discredit him as an effete elitist liberal, brand community organizers as responsible for nothing, and blast Obama's judgment on anything and everything.

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