The last refuge of a scoundrel

THE LAST REFUGE OF A SCOUNDREL…. When McCain/Palin offer sleazy attacks in a speech, it’s easy to hold them accountable. When they offer scurrilous lies in a television ad, it’s almost as easy, especially with the whole “approve this message” line and media scrutiny of campaign advertising.

But McCain, Palin, and the Republican Smear Machine save some of their most offensive work for automated robocalls, which fly just below the radar screen. It’s obviously abject cowardice, but decency and honor are the last things McCain is worried about now.

The first round of calls was in line with run-of-the-mill Republican nonsense.

The robocalls [in North Carolina, Missouri, Colorado, and Wisconsin] hit Obama for attending a celebrity fundraiser in Hollywood while efforts to address the financial crisis got underway in Washington.

A second round of robocalls, also from McCain and the RNC, hits Obama as a tax-hiker, and stops just short of criticizing the big bailout package that McCain has repeatedly taken credit for helping get passed.

The second round cranked up the sleaze a bit.

“Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats aren’t who you think they are,” the call says. “They say they want to keep us safe, but Barack Obama said the threat we face now from terrorism is nowhere near as dire as it was in the end of the Cold War. And Congressional Democrats now want to give civil rights to terrorists.”

And the third round, which is reaching households in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Northern Virginia, Maine, Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina, says a lot more about Republicans than it does Obama.

“You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.”

This isn’t just some media stunt, intended to generate free media. It’s actually the opposite — McCain and the RNC are investing heavily in these disgusting calls, hoping to avoid the kind of scrutiny that comes with television ads.

Honestly, what would the Republican Party be without hate, fear, and ignorance? And when will party members with honor stand up and say that McCain and the RNC don’t speak for them?