As the Lies Pile Up, McCain’s Former Fans Increasingly Repulsed by the Cynicism

Tweety counts seven times that she has repeated her Bridge to Nowhere line. Meanwhile, as of 2:30 PM, ThinkProgress is up to 27 different uses of this line (including Palin’s 8th use of it today).

Meanwhile, one by one, the weight of this evidence has demonstrated to McCain’s former fans what a dishonorable, cynical creature John McCain has become. There was Mike Murphy, caught on live mike, admitting that the selection of Sarah Palin was cynical and gimmicky. And Joe Klein, labeling McCain’s pro-predator attack on Obama as  "one of the sleaziest ads I’ve ever seen in presidential politics." Even Mark Halperin called last nights piggy lipstick stunt the lowpoint of this campaign. 

Sully is just the latest of former McCain fans to grow utterly disgusted with this new cynical creature.

For me, this surreal moment – like the entire surrealism of the past ten days – is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It’s about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. When he knows, as every sane person must, that Obama did not in any conceivable sense mean that Sarah Palin is a pig, what did he do? Did he come out and say so and end this charade? Or did he acquiesce in and thereby enable the mindless Rovianism that is now the core feature of his campaign?

So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil.


McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain – no one else – has proved it. 

These former fans may well be the biggest threat to McCain’s campaign. There’s nothing like a lover scorned and no one to better describe the profound depths of McCain’s cynicism than to have his former boosters describe their newfound revulsion. 

  1. brendanx says:

    I’m skeptical of Joe Klein’s powers to influence the electorate, much of whom at this point are looking for any plausible or implausible excuse to vote against Obama. A lover scorned may be dangerous, but a harem slave or a prostitute scorned are pretty powerless.

    That said, it doesn’t hurt to have this genuine indignation on Obama’s side. And there’s another underlying weakness in this Palin strategy. How much does it say of their candidate that she’s prey to wolves? I for one would be glad to see Democrats as the wolves for once.

  2. emptywheel says:

    I don’t think Klein will have a HUGE effect on voters–though he will be much better on TV than a lot of the Obama surrogates out there.

    But networks work by proximity. I’m not so much interested in Klein converting my neighbor, I’m more interested in him converting his neighbor, who likely as not is another journalist with a soapbox.

    • TwinpeaksnikkiSF says:

      No single journalist or handful of journalists are going to change the narrative but it seems to be changing in a dramatic fashion, starting last night when Halperin jumped on David Gergen for saying that Obama erred by using the lipstsick phrase. Gergen seemed taken aback and appeared to conced the point by his silence.
      Now we have Tweety jumping on the phone allegation and saying that it is a bad day for McCain. It is probably wishful thinking but I am hoping that Gibson will bring some integrity to the table as he is a de facto surrogate for all the MSM when he interviews Palin.

  3. brendanx says:

    Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan have both just used the word “unfit” to describe McCain, a notion that will percolate to like-minded commenters like Klein. “Unfit” is a characterization I was hoping from the beginning they would use, explictly, against McCain, as it encompasses a lot: not only McCain’s age, the temperament and judgment as Commander in Chief Obama made reference to in his DNC speech, but also his ethics and honesty. It also has the Rovian plus of going at his perceived strength. Maybe the Obama campaign will use this; I like it that they attacked precisely McCain’s honor. My wish has come true once already with that ad with the “Nowhere” tee-shirt.

  4. plunger says:

    The enemy of our Republic is Karl Rove.

    Is everyone finally in Agreement that Rove’s tactics serve no positive benefit for our country, our economy, our families or our future?

    It’s time to “out” the evil genius behind the curtain and shine the bright white light on his tactics…revealing his dark heart in the process.

  5. brendanx says:

    The fact of the lies themselves also don’t make a powerful argument. To use a cliche, they have to be fit into a narrative. I think the best narrative would be to say that George Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into Iraq and we can’t have another couple of liars in charge. Unfortunately, I doubt the Obama camp will do that, if only because so much of the political establishment supported and continue to support the venture and calling those lies lies is still taboo in the way talking about a bridge is not.

    • AlbertFall says:

      I agree that McCain lies need to be added to the more of the same narrative.

      Bush lies. McCain lies. Bush failed the country. So will McCain.

  6. BillE says:

    Here is a mystery novel plot for you.

    Manchurian candidate who is about to die picks a religious zealot secessionist from a serious energy producing state for VP. The candidate owns media narrative as well as most of the actually information sources outright. The candidate prevails in an ugly lie-athon campaign. The candidate is inaugurated. The VP takes over via 25th amendment and the candidate dies.

    The energy producing state ( owned by the oil companies ) declares independence. The president decides to recognize the new country of OilProduceIstan.

    Attempt to impeach fails.


    This is a very cynical view but I think the combination of anyone making Dobson and Perkins happy along with the corporate ( read Oil ) donor base of the Rethug party means bad things. Especially when McSame won’t own up to his medical condition.

  7. PJEvans says:

    Not exactly OT:
    Talking Points Memo is reporting the expected greymail attempt by Foggo.

    BillE, I think the ex-candidate will have to die or be incapacitated before the new VP can take over. (If I were McCain, I’d worry about what that VP-candidate would do to get that wonderful power and pork-control. Just saying.)

  8. Arbusto says:

    McBush and Obama chose to court the undsided/uninformed voter (mainly uninformed). I suspect McBushs campaign has a greater effect on that psychographic than Obama. I listened to Obama on Countdown (blaah!) Mon/Tue and he’s making his ideas/campaign too complicated for that crowd, and is succeeding quite well, unfortunately! Sleeze works for the product of the offspring of inner breeding that are “uninformed voter”.

    • bobschacht says:

      “I listened to Obama on Countdown (blaah!) Mon/Tue and he’s making his ideas/campaign too complicated for that crowd, “

      I agree. Obama needs to learn how to answer in short sentences of 10 words or less. He needs to use simple words like “lies” instead of clumsy circumlocutions, and short immediate summary answers (like, “That’s bullsh**!” or “That’s a lie!”. Explanations may follow, but go for the counterpunch, not a grope!

      Bob in HI

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      It’s been a long time coming, but some in the press are finally doing their jobs.

      Palin is more polarizing than probably anyone since Oliver North.
      McCain sold his soul before he nominated her; no functioning political party would have allowed such a disastrous mistake. She’s a symptom of how low the GOP has sunk.

      The GOP will go after the press with lethal vindictiveness; it’s as if the GOP is in its final throes and like any dying beast, they’ll go after the press and the Dems with a no-holds-barred desperation. The smartest thing Obama and Biden and the Dems can do is keep paying out rope; assholes will make a noose and walk right into it every single time.

      Keep the faith.
      Things have a chance of coming out okay yet.

      FWIW, I think that calling ‘bullshit’ and making judgments like Klein’s and Sully’s is a novel experience for them, and they’re still getting used to it. But they’ll do their jobs better; kind of like getting a new pair of glasses, things look a bit more focused through a new lens. But it takes a bit of adjusting to the new perspective.

      It’s all good.
      I hope EW keeps tracking this theme, because I think the press is hitting the soft underbelly of a very evil, toxic, nearly-dead political party.

      • Arbusto says:

        Part of the problem with the DINO’s are that the Rethugs are vindictive and no-holds-barred by nature (at least since Gingrich and DeLay) while the DINO’s whine and pout and respond defensively, rarely or effectively going on the offense or being offensive (putting on the line). Obama seems to treat his campaign as a doctoral thesis in poli sci while the Rethugs work it like a knife fight.

      • Leen says:

        I don’t care what folks say here. Chris matthews has been pounding hard ever since he realized he was duped in the run up to the invasion. I watch MSNBC closely. Matthews has been pounding hard for five solid years.

        I was surprised that MSNBC lumped Matthews and Olberman together. While Olberman and Maddow’s opinions often reflect my views. I did think that Olberman had gone off a cliff. Matthews often pisses me off which is what a good news person should do. Challenge as many peoples thinking as they can.

        Well Olberman and Matthews should feel honored to join the ejected by MSNBC. Phil Donahue who was one of the only people in the MSM challenging the Bush administrations WMD claims. We know what happened to him.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I still have a fond spot for Matthews for his questions in July 2003 (before I watched him; I read about his repeated questioning of Cheney when I first came on to the political blogs).

          KO is close to the cliff from time to time, and needs to watch it. But I don’t think it’s KO as an individual as much as the fact that so many people were so grateful that a person within the MSM would call ‘bullshit’, and he’s certainly articulate. His earlier commentaries were brilliant, and they’re still good. But he might want to pull back a bit on his BillO rants.

          Matthews, unlike so many on the networks, has actually worked in government; he’s seen people cut deals and he knows that it doesn’t have to be a toxic, bad, dishonorable thing. Under Bu$hCheney it’s become reprehensible, but it doesn’t have to be done so stupidly.

          Agree that being ejected by MSNBC is probably a Gold Star for Matthews and Olbermann. Matthews should stop interupting people, or set much more stringent ground rules for his guests IMHO.

          But to take this to a sweeter place, Joe Klein has an interesting comment up today stating that he’s not going to play into the McCain campaign’s urgent need to trivialize and distract. Here’s hoping!

          FWIW, Bill Moyers is still one of my heroes. I’ve probably watched the interviews with Andrew Bacevitch about 8 times, and every time I hear more. It’s amazing what quiet conversation can reveal. If you’ve not seen those, Leen, try and find time. Humble, quiet, and profound.

  9. manys says:

    Well, it can’t be that the McCain campaign is not aware of people noticing the lie. I think the simple explanation is not that they are perpetuating it out of avarice, but of attention-getting strategy. They’ll “clarify” once they have the attention of everyone, but as it stands it keeps the spotlight on them and not on Obama. No such thing as bad publicity, as they say.

  10. GregB says:

    Obama needs to use the Bush ad.

    I mean we can’t have someone a heartbeat away from the presidency if she’s afraid of the big bad wolves like Putin and Ahamdinejad…..

    Turn this shit around fast.


  11. Minnesotachuck says:

    A meme that I’d like to see gain traction is that the challenge the nation is facing goes beyond the incompetence and misplaced priorities of the present administration, and the likelihood of more of the same from a McCain/Palin administration. The problem is that the Republican Party as an institution has become a subversive force in the American state. In order for a free, democratic polity to function, it is necessary that there be a broad consensus among the people that the competition among those seeking office and advocating policies be conducted within agreed-upon limits. Those limits have to prohibit violence and intimidation, and they should include sanctions for bald-faced lying and slander, among other things.

    What we’ve been seeing over the past twenty plus years is a Republican Party that is increasingly rolling over those limits. Perhaps the Willie Horton ad of twenty years ago was where it started to be noticeable. Whatever. Another line was crossed with the pursuit of Bill and Hilary Clinton in the Whitewater affair. Unfortunately Bill’ zipper issues didn’t help matters in that case. Several more steps were taken in the 2000 election. There were the voting suppression actions. The violent intimidation of election officials in Florida, and perhaps elsewhere. And finally a Supreme Court decision in which the five justice majority, all Republicans, made a political decision that they knew was against their alleged states’rights “principles”, because they took the trouble in their opinions to insist it not be the basis of future precedents. Now they have put up candidates who shamelessly repeat the same lies time and again even though there is video evidence that directly exposes the lies.

    The Republican Party has become a toxic blend of theocrats who believe they are on the receiving end of a pipeline to the almighty, and commercial interests whose only use for the government is as an ATM and a tilter of playing fields. Both elements have utterly lost sight of the commonweal of the society. At bottom, the challenge we face is not temperament and health prospects of John McCain or the inexperience and mendacity of Sarah Palin. There is no one left in the Republican Party who is fit to be president or vice president because that party has become a subversive organization that is a vastly more lethal threat to our country than the “Red Menace” of the 1950s ever was! This is not going to change unless and until that party is given the mother of all electoral enemas!

    This is the message that we must somehow get out to the people.

    • brendanx says:

      I would enumerate the principles they are hostile to:

      1. Universal suffrage
      2. Equal justice under law
      3. Separation of church and state
      4. The broadest middle class possible

    • TheObnox says:

      Nicely said, Chuck. The GOP is subversive and un-American. I’m going to test that out tomorrow on some republicans I know. And I will expand on it – as time allows – each time I see them during the election. It’s the least I can do after suffering through eight years of the idiocy that they chose, and what with the four more they’re enthusiastically threatening to fob off on us all.

      Also: I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      The GOP corruption is breathtaking, and Palin is a symptom of how low they’ve sunk.

      I don’t ordinarily pay attention to what Hollywood celebs have to say about politics, but TBogg has a brilliant post that’s relevant to the topic on this thread.

      TBogg’s post “Hollyweirdness” — which includes a clip of Matt Damon’s comments to AP — is well worth your time:…..ollyweird/

      As TBogg points out, how did we arrive at a place where a Hollywood actor is more honest, forthright, and insightful than the US press?

      Doesn’t the press realize what’s at stake — not simply for America, but for its own future? Why has the press been less articulate than Matt Damon? What explains the paradox by which the news has been overtaken by ‘entertainment values’, yet an actor in the very heart of the ‘entertainment industry’ can be so articulate and cogent?


  12. alank says:

    What can’t these people get worked up about the incumbents/occupants of the White House? Not exactly small potatoes in comparison with McCain/Fergie.

    Btw, what’s someone with royal Stuart ancestry doing running for high office in America?

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    Could somebody tell the Boston Globe, this is lame.

    John McCain’s surprise selection of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate has caused tremors in the political world. Palin’s life — personal and professional — has become the subject of intense scrutiny and rumor.

    Scroll through this gallery to find out the truth about some of the stories about Palin that are circulating.

    I halfway expected to see the National Enquirer stories debunked. Instead, we get a bunch of questions phrased to make Palin look as good as possible.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Are you sure that wasn’t the Boston Herald.

      Shame on the Globule…

      P.S. Their token repug/conservative/arshole columnist Jeff Jacoby is a moron.

  14. PJEvans says:

    having just done my required corporate ethics compliance refresher, I can say that McCain and Palin are excellent bad examples. What we’re expected to be and do is closer to the Democrats in every way. (What that does to the minds of the people at the top, I don’t know.)

  15. brendanx says:

    By the way, I love the “lipstick on a pig” line applied to the Republicans, who didn’t even understand what they were pretending to be offended by. It’s not just that their records are the pig and the “change” rhetoric the lipstick, there’s a double meaning in the more immediate sense of the campaign. Palin’s not the pig, McCain is. She’s the lipstick.

    • Badwater says:

      If the Republicans had any sense of shame, they would have pulled the plug on her last week

      You cannot be a modern day Republic and be capable of feeling shame.

    • cbl2 says:

      If the Republicans had any sense of shame, they would have pulled the plug on her last week.

      shame implies sense of right and wrong –

      and they’re not gonna pull the plug – she’s no pig, she’s a cash cow

      little goopers everywhere lining up to give the last of the grocery money to the Party …sorry Preacherman, that fourth Bentley will have to wait, ahm giving the money to Sarah !!!

  16. Minnesotachuck says:

    OT: Charlie Savage has a new expose up at the NYT about a scandal in the Interior Department. Sounds juicy:

    The investigation also concluded that several of the officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”

    • RevBev says:

      This was very covered on the afternoon NPR, as was the lipstick story, analysis and all, recalling Mc’s line about HRC healthcare. Pretty thorough.

  17. dosido says:

    Awww. Lou Dobbs still loves McCain and applauds him for taking some time away from the “theatre” (that McCain started) to talk about the economy.

    • Twain says:

      I think they have waited too long to pull the plug. Seems to me they are stuck with her no matter what because the fundies would explode unless she had a serious illness or something.

    • dosido says:

      wow, I think you’re right. But I keep have these scenes from the All About Eve pop into my head.

      Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!

  18. Unrepentantliberal says:

    It makes me want to get Dana Carvey’s, “The Church Lady” after them. “Hummmmm”, she would say. “It seems our little Miss Sarah Palin has a little compulsive lying problem here. Hummm. And what should we do about that?”

    Spank her! Spank her till all the demons have been cast out!

  19. TomR says:

    You know how they have experts who analyze body language and handwriting? After listening to that clip of Palin, I wonder if someone could analyze her speaking voice.

    Palin’s vocal delivery sounds clenched and disturbed to me.

    – Tom

  20. radiofreewill says:

    I spoke with about two dozen total strangers in a waiting room today. Men and women, black, white, brown and yellow. Old and young. Some college educated and some with less than a high school diploma.

    CNN was playing on the teevee – all lipstick, all the time.

    Nobody, not even the elderly white folks (from Louisiana), was falling for the Phony Outrage by Team McCain. These people were tired of Empty Rhetoric. They were all thirsty for Real Change.

    The most common comment I heard was: “We can’t have four more years like the last eight.”

    The most telling comment I heard was: “She lies, with conviction, about that Bridge like Bush lied about the WMDs.”

    For my part, I think the McCain Camp needed to Dominate the News Cycle today – even if it meant ginning-up faux outrage – in order to Distract from the devastating Palin bombshells coming from the Enquirer.

    McCain may very well have impetuously buried himself in his own Loudly Claimed Honor.

    “She was fully vetted, and we’re honored to have her with us.”

    He was at the bottom of his class for a reason.

    He’s unfit to be President of the United States.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      After an evening spent scouring news sites and blogs, I’m developing a hunch that the press may not exist after this election if they don’t clean up their act. Reporting on drama, rather than government, is going to be the death of the press.

      Imagine if you took your car to a mechanic, and he expected to receive payment for admiring your interior and giving you an ‘analysis’ of whether your color scheme was popular or not? Would it fix your engine?
      Would you continue to pay for his ’services’?

      People value information.
      They’ll pay for information, but not for the drivel of he-said/she-said.

      Didn’t Rove once pretend that his office had been bugged — and blame it on a political opponent? In fact, he’d bugged his own office. And it worked, because the press reported the version that Rove gave them.

      If the media continues to be punk’d by the Rove wing of the GOP, they’ll cease to exist.