Friday, October 31, 2008

Hints and Whispers Don't Equal Facts - But They Do Create Fear and Mistrust

Here is one of the stranger interviews that this campaign season has brought. CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, was interviewing McCain campaign national spokesman Michael Goldfarb who claimed that Sen. Obama has a "long track record of being around anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American rhetoric." Sanchez then challenges Goldfarb to provide examples:



Whether Sen. Obama "hangs around with" people with anti-Semitic or anti-Israel views is a legitimate issue and is worth discussing (for example, to analyze whether Sen. Obama "hangs around with" those people, whether they have any influence upon his worldview and decision-making, whether he has expressed agreement or repudiated their ideas, and whether those ideas are, in fact, either anti-Semitic or anti-Israel). But just saying "there are people" without providing names is one of the worst kinds of political smear tactics.

In essence, Goldfarb wants people to fear Sen. Obama but won't identify those he is apparently referring to so that his claims can be analyzed and, if appropriate, refuted. I could claim that Sen. McCain hangs out with fascists or neo-Nazis or anti-Semites, too, but saying it doesn't make it true (although one might want to consider the U.S Council for World Freedom...). If Goldfarb -- who speaks for the McCain campaign and, thus, for Sen. McCain -- wants to make the allegation, he needs to spell it out so that we can analyze it and evaluate it. But, as the McCain campaign has demonstrated throughout this campaign, it isn't the truth that matters; no, it's simply about sowing the seeds of mistrust and fear. Even if those tactics led to a McCain victory, what kind of legacy would those tactics leave for our country? Only a resounding defeat of Sen. McCain, one where pundits can, for years, point to the sleaze and lies as being among the reasons that Sen. McCain lost, will help start us down the path to healing the hate that this election has engendered.

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