Points for Barack Obama

In his speech to a VFW audience the other day, Barack Obama finally said something I’ve been waiting to hear for months–

“One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can’t disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America’s national interest. Now, it’s time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.”

As David Brooks, who I rarely agree with, correctly points out in this morning’s New York Times, McCain is running precisely the kind of campaign he’s spent much of his career decrying. As if we needed any more evidence that Senator McCain is a lying, hypocritical scumbag (OK, I’m not a fan–so sue me), his most successful and consistent riff over the last several weeks has been to question Obama’s character and patriotism–exactly the kinds of negative campaign tactics he promised not to engage in (and yes, I know, Obama’s doing it too; I’ll talk about that another day).

In that context, it’s especially important that Obama demanded an end to the hypocrisy. For candidates to spend so much time impugning each other’s motives for seeking the highest office in the land is ridiculous. For one to be doing it after spending much of his professional life insisting that people shouldn’t do that is just plain scummy. For another to call out the scumbag for being a scumbag only seems appropriate.

We know McCain won’t comply, y’know, at risk of looking like a flip-flopper. I, for one, hope he doesn’t comply…as long as the voting public remembers this moment. He’s more than welcome to make himself look like the scumbag he is.

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