Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain's New Low - The Sex Ed Lie

This presidential campaign has gone to a whole new low level that I think few could have predicted it would have. Over the past few months we've endured lies, distortions, smears, and an abandonment of the issues that I'm sure would turn anyone's stomach. We though, “Well, this is real bad. I guess this is what the campaign is going to be like.”

Then it got worse. Much worse.

Yesterday, I returned home from a long day and learned of a new ad being run by the McCain campaign. It attacked Senator Barack Obama on his education record. I won't do McCain the favor of posting the entire ad here, but I do want to highlight the most vile and disgusting part of it. The announce in the ad claims that Obama supported teaching “'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners,” and then goes on to state, “Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.”
Well that's a lie. The bill that the ad is referring to didn't teach five-year-olds how to have sex, as McCain would have you to believe. Instead, it was aimed at preventing the sexual assault of minors. The bill allowed for schools to teach kindergartners what to do when inappropriately touched or otherwise interacted with by an adult.

For his part, Obama's campaign responded as follows:

It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls -- a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.
I agree with Obama's response wholeheartedly. It shows an utter lack of moral integrity that McCain would attack Obama for supporting a bill aimed at protecting young children. The fact that McCain would take such a worthwhile bill and dishonestly warp its meaning to suggest that Obama, a father of two, supports measures that would teach children about sex in inappropriate ways shows that McCain has little, if anything, to offer our nation on education or anything else that matters.

This comes on the same day in which the McCain camp called Obama sexist for saying (in reference to the similarities between McCain's policies and those of President Bush) “you can ... put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig.” This is a comment that was directed at John McCain, and the pig in the analogy was McCain's/Bush's policies, not any actually human being. Yet, somehow, McCain found it sexist and demanded an apology.

The worst part of all of this is that the American people are falling for it. National polls show McCain doing much better than he has in the past. The media is choosing to cover these stories and not the issues. They fail to acknowledge McCain's actions for what they are – lies – and even when they do criticize McCain, it seems they always have a way to make it Obama's fault.

That brings me back to what I believe is an enduring question in this race: If Obama wasn't black, would this be happening? Would Republicans be able to get away with doing this to a white candidate? Would they be so confident in their lies? Would they be able to base their campaign on falsehoods with confidence that any changes in the polls that result will be changes in their favor? Is it clear that the entire Republican campaign strategy is made possible by Obama's skin?

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