Last week, one of the co-hosts, Joy Behar, took McCain to task for some of the ads his campaign has been running. One deliberately mischaracterized what Barack Obama had said about putting lipstick on a pig — an Americanism that McCain himself has used. The other asserted that Obama supported teaching sex education to kindergarteners.
“We know that those two ads are untrue,” Behar said. “They are lies.”
Freeze. Close in on McCain. This was the moment. He has largely been avoiding the press. The Straight Talk Express is now just a brand, an ad slogan like “Home Cooking” or “We Will Not Be Undersold.” Until then, it was possible for McCain to say that he had not really known about the ads, that the formulation “I approve this message” was just boilerplate. But he didn’t.
“Actually, they are not lies,” he said.
Actually, they are.
McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains — his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that’s all — but just as honorably. No more, though.
Richard Cohen of the Washington Post is a goner to John. McCain’s lies are starting to cost him his friends in the media.
“The Straight Talk Express” is now “The Win at All Cost Express.”