Josh Marshall caught a telling soundbite:
McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said this to the Politico about the increased media scrutiny of the campaign’s factual claims: “We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”
Looks like the honorable old John McCain won’t be calling his campaign back from fringe crazytown. The decision was no doubt clinched when they introduced Sarah Palin with a press conference full of lies. Maybe I’m giving the campaign too much credit, but in those bizarre first few days the campaign most likely had no idea that Sarah Palin is a compulsive liar. Judging by reports in the news, the McCain camp realized how deep they were in it around the same time that we did. This is the kind of trouble that the GOP avoided when it jettisoned Jack Ryan for lying to them about his dirty divorce.
But as they say, in for a penny in for a pound. By convention time the McCain camp could either toss Palin or toss their credibility, but choice A would turn the campaign into an instant joke. Choice B would drag the party’s reputation to a place reserved to crack junkies and tobacco executives, but at least there’s an outside chance that tMcCain and Palin can lie and bluff their way to victory in November. God knows Republicans have leveraged the media’s inability to deal with shameless bullshitters into victory before.
This approach is basically the same as shooting the moon in Hearts, a strategy where a player with a terrible hand goes for a perverse win state that requires taking in every negative card in the game. Shooting the moon only works if you take every demerit card. Take all but one and you end up with a score so bad that you might as well quit and go home. It’s an all or nothing move.
The analogy here isn’t that the McCain campaign went all in; every candidate goes all in. Nobody in a political campaign goes home with half the pot. The McCain team is shooting the moon. They can’t apologize for the bullshit and they can’t back off. If you think that John McCain has run “the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history”, you’ll love what’s coming next.