CHAPMAN JOINS ‘THE ENOUGH CLUB’…. The Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman, who had a column quoted in a McCain campaign ad this week, appears to have grown tired of the Republican nominee’s tactics.

[P]oliticians are not saints, and campaigns are not conducted under oath. We all expect a certain amount of deceit from people running for office, in the form of fudging, distortion, exaggeration and omission. But the McCain campaign’s approach, as [the “lipstick on a pig”] episode illustrates, is of an entirely different scale and character. It is to normal political attacks what Hurricane Ike is to a drive-through carwash. […]

Why does McCain insist on running such a mendacious campaign? There is plenty an honest conservative might say in opposition to Obama…. But McCain has concluded that a fact-based case about Obama isn’t enough to prevail in November. So he has chosen to smear his opponent with ridiculous claims that he thinks the American people are gullible enough to believe.

He has charged repeatedly that his opponent is willing to lose a war to win an election. What’s McCain willing to lose to become president? Nothing so consequential as a war. Just his soul.

The other day, Kevin came up with “The ‘Enough’ Club,” comprised of media figures who went from loving to loathing McCain, after watching his campaign’s penchant for smears and lies. I think we can safely add Chapman to the ever-growing list of members.

Update: An alert reader gave me a heads-up on a few others with similar sentiments:

* The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Tony Norman: “You once said you’d rather lose an election than lose a war. Is it worth winning an election if it means forfeiting your soul on the altar of political expediency? How does a man survive five years in a Vietnamese dungeon only to allow himself to be turned into a cynical marionette by the nihilistic disciples of Karl Rove?”

* The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Jay Bookman: “The volume and audacity of lies pouring from the McCain campaign is startling and even historic…That’s really something, lying straight out about a FactCheck group, knowing that you’re going to get caught but not giving a damn about it. With stuff like this, the McCain camp has cut any remaining tethers to reality and integrity and is now floating wherever the winds of illusion and whimsy may take them. It’s quite remarkable, and quite insulting to the intelligence of the American people.”

* The Kansas City Star’s Barb Shelly: “These are old tricks we’ve been seeing in local elections for years. Distort. Twist. Deceive. Damage. And the winning candidate drags a load of public contempt into office. I had hoped for better from McCain…. John McCain may win the presidency this way, but he will lose the respect he has acquired over the years.”

* The Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh: “Here’s the question voters should be asking themselves this week: Just how stupid does the McCain-Palin campaign think I am? The answer: Dumb enough to hoodwink with charges so contrived and cynical they make your teeth ache…. The McCain campaign has shown it’s ready and willing to say preposterous things to win.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.