In the Arena

McCain in the Gutter

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There is so much desperate, crapulous spew from the McCain campaign right now that it’s hard to keep track of it all–but this ad, via Andrew Sullivan, marks some sort of low. Yet again–in a last, desperate attempt to scare the elderly Jews of Florida–McCain posits Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the “leader” of Iran, even though he has no control over Iranian foreign or military policy. (Ayatullah Ali Khamenei is the guy in charge in Iran, which is why they call him–you guessed it–the Supreme Leader.) Yet again, McCain brings up the notion of “preconditions,” only now the preconditions are Ahmadinejad’s: namely, that the U.S. would have to leave the Middle East before he’d be willing to talk.

It’s all inflammatory nonsense, of course. Obama has said that he would meet with the Iranian leadership without “preconditions”–namely, the Bush Administration requirement that the Iranians stop processing uranium. Of course, the Bush Administration doesn’t seem so set on that precondition anymore, either. Again, this is a purposeful effort to mislead on Obama’s actual position: he would begin lower-level negotiations with the Iranians, and see how much progress could be made. That is a position supported by many of McCain’s own diplomatic supporters.

But that’s not really what this is all about: this ad–with its Middle Eastern music–is all about implying that Obama isn’t one of us, that he’s one of them. It is shameful, in the extreme. It’s also really bad policy.

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