In that same year, McCain also had some experience as the victim of sleaze and smear tactics. During the South Carolina primary, which he needed to win but lost to George W. Bush, the rumor spread that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock. Wasn't true, of course. The truth was that McCain and his wife Cindy had adopted a black child in Bangladesh. But, as noted, he lost the primary and the nomination.
Now the smears are mostly coming from the McCain camp, though he is using his running-mate, Governor Sarah Palin to sling the actual mud. It's a traditional role for number twos on the ticket, though Joe Lieberman, for one, wouldn't do it when he ran with Al Gore in 2000. Palin, on the other hand, seems to be having a ball in the role. And a lot of the people who smeared McCain in 2000 are working for him this time, so they know how it's done.
Does it matter? The late Lee Atwater, who was a founder of dirty politics, always said he did it because it worked. It did work against McCain in 2000, no doubt about it. This time? I'm more skeptical because the country is in worse shape--two wars, a tanking economy and a new Gallup poll in which only 9% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the country--the lowest ever. Can the smears overcome that? Stay tuned--less than a month to go.
See how Windows Mobile brings your life together—at home, work, or on the go. See Now