If you are fervent member of the Republican tribe, any criticism of McCain is taken personally, generating something like a momentary feeling of anger or even rage at the critic. It does not matter whether the criticism is true but the mere fact that it is made against the current leader of the Tribe and by extension the True Believer. A true believer is unable and unwilling to even challenge the accepted doctrine of their Leader. So it is with McCain's assertion that he is a "straight talker" rather than just another politico that will place his ambition to be President above any desire to engage in straight talk. The fact checkers have repeatedly shown many of this ads and talking points in his campaign speeches to be false or misleading. Some of the more egregious ones were his claims that Obama had called Sarah a "pig" and advocated teaching sex to kindergarten children. PolitiFact | An absurd claim about a bill that never passed
For those of us who still desire to know the truth, it was interesting to see McCain’s latest ad claiming Obama voted against funding of the troops. This charge is based on a vote in 2007 on an appropriations bill. Obama said at the time that he was voting against it because it did not have a timetable for withdrawal. There was a dispute between the parties on attaching time tables to these bills. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that contain a timetable as did most Republican Senators. PolitiFact | McCain opposed 2007 war funding bill That bill was H.R. 1591. So neither McCain no Obama ultimately denied any funds for the troops but simply disagreed on whether there needed to be a timetable. These votes occurred at about the same time and Bush vetoed the bill that the Republicans voted against that funded the troops but with a timeline for withdrawal. PolitiFact | Obama tried to defund troops? Not exactly The most recent ad on this subject from McCain is discussed in today’s USA Today and in a recent article at Factcheck.org. FactCheck.org: "Dishonorable"
When McCain engages in deliberate distortion and deception, it is hard to square the label that he wants to place on himself-the straight talk express- with the reality of such false claims. The fact checkers have numerous examples of such false and misleading statement by him in this campaign. It is as if McCain is making no effort to even be truthful. USATODAY.com Instead he is doing what I expect of politicians who are behind in the polls as election day approaches, increase the number of lies about the other candidate and go increasingly negative and try to distract as many voters as possible from any issue of importance like the economy, health care, the next Supreme Court appointment, the wars, or anything else that has substance to it. In that regard, McCain is just another truth challenged politician placing political expediency and a desire to win above all other considerations including but not limited to telling the truth. This is not to say that Obama is pure, far from it, but his misleading statements are more typical of what politicians normally do, which is certainly regrettable but no where near the dishonesty that I see in McCain’s ads and campaign blather. It is way past time for everyone to hold candidates accountable for the inaccurate and false statements that they make to mislead the electorate. Every citizen regardless of their party affiliation has to make a serious effort to distinguish truth from falsity. The reason false claims by both sides work is that large number of people accept them as true without making any effort to verify them. If everyone made such an effort, then politicians would soon gravitate to telling the truth. It is just ludicrous for any politician to claim that they are talking straight to the American people. We may as well all be Diogenes holding that lantern up to ALL POLITICIAN'S faces searching for ONE real straight talker-an honest politician. There is a good reason why neither candidate refers voters to FactCheck or Politifact during a debate to check the truth of an opponent’s statement. If voters started to do that routinely, yes they would find that statement to be false but so would they similarly find false statements made by the candidate referring them to those sites.