Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain Apologetics Pwned.

David Brooks repeats a not quite believable lament about the nasty direction the McCain campaign has taken of late:

McCain and his advisers have been compelled to adjust to the hostile environment around them. They have been compelled, at least in their telling, to abandon the campaign they had hoped to run. Now they are running a much more conventional race, the kind McCain himself used to ridicule.

The man who lampooned the Message of the Week is now relentlessly on message (as observers of his fine performance at Saddleback Church can attest). The man who hopes to inspire a new generation of Americans now attacks Obama daily. It is the only way he can get the networks to pay attention.
To which hilzoy replies with a rare degree of pwnage:
But let's pretend, just for the sake of argument, that they are right to say that the only way to win, this year, is by taking the low road. Would that mean that they have to take it? Of course not. That means you have a choice between honor and ambition; between running a decent campaign and a sordid one; between being a candidate the country can be proud of and being a candidate who contributes to the degradation and trivialization of political discourse.

You would have no choice only if you assumed that your own ambitions were more important than your honor.
I believe that would be game, set, and match, especially given the centrality of the "country first" theme in McCain's own campaign, of a piece with his bizarre accusations that Barack Obama has ambition. That said, one of my favorite aphorisms of Nietzsche applies here:
Life no argument.— We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live—by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody now could endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions of life might include error.
Counted votes, not arguments, win elections.

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