Shorter Josh Marshall

McCain is a liar. And his free pass from the press may be about to expire.

John McCain is a compulsive liar, and not even very good at it.

Whatever the other impacts of the NYT story, and whatever you think about its emphasis on the unproven sex angle rather than the proven official improprieties on behalf of big donors, it seems to have had the effect of forcing McCain off his game. In the past, he has been unusually open to reporters, but suddenly after the Times piece ran his staff started keeping the newshounds at bay.

Not only does that suggest there are questions about the story he doesn’t want to answer &#8212 if he had a slam-dunk reply to the Times, why not let it all hang out? &#8212 it may also cost him some of the peculiarly gentle treatment he has gotten until now. The DNC is already going all out on “McCain, the lobbyists’ pal.”

Footnote Obama and McCain start from here with almost identical favorable/unfavorable numbers. Whichever winds up with the higher unfavorable in early November is probably the loser of the election. Ready, set, go!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: