Watch Very Closely…

As Steve pointed out earlier, even the AP has started criticizing McCain’s dishonesty. I want to highlight one quote from their piece that particularly annoyed me:

“Dan Schnur, a former McCain aide who now teaches politics at the University of Southern California, said McCain and Obama learned they must stretch the truth “when staying on the high road didn’t work out to their benefit.”

McCain, he said, “tried it his way. He had a poverty tour and nobody covered it. He had a national service tour, and everybody made fun of it. He proposed these joint town halls” with Obama, “and nothing come of it. Through the spring and early summer, that approach didn’t work. You can’t blame him for taking a step back and reassessing.””

One problem with this is that it’s really not true that Obama and McCain both started stretching the truth, certainly not to the same degree. But another is the idea that we “can’t blame” John McCain for what he did.

I am a professional. (Don’t try this at home!) What I’m about to do might be just a little too tricky for the likes of Schnur. However, here goes:

I blame John McCain.

Pretty impressive, huh?

I take the rather quaint view that normal, competent adults are responsible for their actions. When someone picks you up and hurls you through a window, you are not responsible for the damage: you didn’t do it of your own free will. When you act out of purely innocent, non-negligent ignorance — say, by triggering a bomb that someone has rigged up without your knowledge, and that you have no reason to suspect might exist — you are not responsible either. But when you realize that you have a choice between ambition and principle, no one forces you to sacrifice your principles. That’s a choice. You are responsible for how you make it. If, like Senator McCain, you claim to care about honor, this is one of the moments that reveals whether honor, for you, is more than an empty word.

If you choose to sacrifice your principles for the sake of personal ambition, you can absolutely be blamed. I’m doing it right now.

See how easy?