Greg Sargent reports, citing an analysis from the Campaign Media Analysis Group, that McCain has gone 100% negative. Dog bites man.
Steve Benen, referencing the story, contrasts this with Cindy McCain’s promise in May not to go negative. Ditto.
But the implications of both stories is somehow this is inherently wrong. I don’t buy it.
Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with running negative ads. Ads showing that your opponent is lousy and awful are perfectly fine–as long as they are honest and deal with real issues.
McCain’s ads haven’t qualified on either basis. But the ads mentioned aren’t really that strong or nasty: one accusing Obama of wanting to set up “massive government” and other chastising him for his “liberal allies.” Given the record of deregulation and conservatism, and the recent bailout that McCain supported, these ads just don’t pass the laugh test.
Benen argues that “has decided to not only lie relentlessly, but lash out wildly.” I agree. But that is very different from running negative ads, and that is all that the CMAG study purports to show.
This matters. Democrats don’t go negative enough. We don’t show the terrible things that the GOP and conservatives have done. We should, even after the election is done. I would want the DNC or 527s to do nothing else but run repeated negative ads about the Republicans all the time. It’s legitimate in a democracy, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.