It's tiring to hear well-meaning people say that this election is so nasty because both campaigns have turned negative. Maybe it's a liberal desire for fairness or moral equivalence, but whatever the motivation, when asked for evidence to support the claim that both candidates dish similar negativity, the equivocators usually turn up empty. I think we need to face the fact that the GOP has, for many years running, turned toward the politics of division, xenophobia, fear, anti-intellectualism, and racism. The party is at its worst when it's behind in the polls, no matter who is steering the ship.
Some pundits claim that the only reason McCain has employed such an ugly campaign is that he needs to win, but once elected, McCain will be the even-handed moderate that we're lead to believe. This insightful blog post puts that ridiculous claim to bed:
Where is Reihan deriving the notion that this candidate and his apparatus are in a position to bring this new ecumenicalism? This candidate, with this running mate, is someone interested in, or capable of, uniting the country? The one whose campaign has dedicated every available resource to rhetorically dividing the country into the pure and impure sections? This candidate, whose rallies without exception involve incitement against some supposedly malign segment of the American people? This candidate, who literally said there is a real Virginia, and a fake Virginia? It's incredible. Sarah Palin, the second-in-command of a great uniter?
We are in a part of the calendar when people are fond of saying "your side does it too." Well, both sides do most things that the other side does. But it simply is not true that the Democrats or the Obama campaign has engaged in the same kind of cultural war that the Republicans and McCain have. That is just not true. I find few people with the gall to suggest it is. So I read with great confusion when Reihan insists that it is John McCain who can heal this gulf.