Does the Truth Matter Anymore?
This is not false naivete: I am genuinely surprised that John McCain and his campaign keep throwing out false charges and making false claims without any qualms. They keep talking about Sarah Palin’s opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere without any embarrassment over the fact that she once supported it. They keep saying that Barack Obama will raise taxes, suggesting he’d raise them on everybody, when Obama’s plan, according to the Tax Policy Institute, would cut taxes for “about 80 percent of households” while “only about 10 percent would owe more.” And as Sebastian Mallaby pointed out in his recent column, Obama would cut taxes for middle-income taxpayers “more aggressively” than McCain would.
And now comes a truly vile McCain ad accusing Obama of supporting legislation to offer “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” The announcer declares: “Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.”
Margaret Talev of McClatchy newspapers called the ad a “deliberate low blow.” Here’s what she wrote in an excellent fact check: “This is a deliberately misleading accusation. It came hours after the Obama campaign released a TV ad critical of McCain’s votes on public education. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12. But the legislation allowed local school boards to teach ‘age-appropriate’ sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators.”
Is McCain against teaching little kids to beware of sexual predators?
McCain once campaigned on the idea that the war on terrorism is the “transcendent” issue of our time. Now, he’s stooping to cheap advertising that would be condemned as trivial and misleading in a state legislative race. Boy, do I miss the old John McCain and wonder what became of him. And I wonder if the media will really take on this onslaught of half-truths and outright deception.
By E.J. Dionne | September 10, 2008