MAVERICKY…. The Republican National Committee, true to form, is going to comical lengths to try to connect Barack Obama to Rod Blagojevich, reality notwithstanding. The latest initiative includes a three-minute web video featuring a bunch of instances in which the senator from Illinois met the governor of Illinois. The horror.

The video is likely part of RNC chairman Mike Duncan’s campaign to keep his job — he’s desperate to prove to Republicans that he can be at least as ridiculous as the other candidates for the post. But outside this context, the Republican National Committee’s baseless smear campaign against the president-elect seems unusually cheap, even by RNC standards.

Oddly enough, an unexpected source came to Obama’s defense this morning.

John McCain, reminding GOP partisans why they always hated him, downplays the Blago story and takes a passing shot at the RNC on “This Week”:

“I think that the Obama campaign should and will give all information necessary. You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody — right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy stimulus package, reforms that are necessary. And so, I don’t know all the details of the relationship between President-elect Obama’s campaign or his people and the governor of Illinois, but I have some confidence that all the information will come out. It always does, it seems to me.”

(McCain also joined everyone else in calling for Blagojevich’s resignation, but added, “[T]here’s a lot of corruption among Republicans and Democrats.”)

When the Republican presidential candidate thinks the RNC is wasting its time on a foolish attack against the Democratic president-elect, you know the party is headed in the wrong direction.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

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.