I read about the McCain-Obama dust up with a degree of incredulity, because it seems to me that one of the things that Sen. McCain can least afford is anything that will feed the whispers that, well, he’s not quite right, a little bit, you know, unstable. And this intemperate letter is so un-Senatorial in its lack of courtesy as to be enough to fuel an entire muttering, not just whispering, campaign.
Talking Points Memo does a valiant job of trying to find a rational motive for what seems otherwise to be a fit of childish pique:
the key here to note is what’s behind this dust-up. Obama is a rising star among the Democrats. Republicans want to lay a backstory for feature criticisms and character attacks against him. So, for instance, if Obama is the vice presidential candidate in 2008, they want to have a history of attacks on him banked, ones that allege he’s a liar, or too partisan, or untrustworthy, whatever. It doesn’t even really matter. What matters is that there already be an established history of them. Point being, that in early 2008, they want to be able to simply refer back to Obama’s ‘character issue’, the questions about his honesty, etc. rather than have to make the case on its merits.
So which is it: McCain the whiny baby, or McCain the unprincipled Machiavellian conniver?