It continues to shock me how dishonorable a once-honorable man, John McCain, is willing to become in order to win the Presidency. Fortunately, it also seems that there’s been an uptick in the press noticing this over the past day or two.

Newsweek’s Andrew Romano has a nice piece from last night on the fact-free nature of McCain’s latest “Fact Check” ad; from its claims of the Obama campaign “air-dropping” an army of lawyers into Alaska to its deceptive claims about’s pronouncements on Obama, the ad is a pure lie from start to finish. (And in an ironic twist, FactCheck itself weighed in on the ad, politely calling it “less than honest.”)

The New York Times’s Andrew Rohter took a look at McCain’s battleground-state ad purporting that Obama wants to teach kindergarteners about sex and found it similarly full of shit. The ad claims that Obama had “one accomplishment” while in the Illinois legislature, a bill that teaches children about sex before they are even taught to read. That, alas, is a total lie recycled from Alan Keyes’s campaign against Obama in 2004 — the proposed law was about “age and developmentally appropriate” sex education (with the youngest kids learning things such as how to avoid sexually predatory behavior, an issue appropriate enough that the Cub Scouts also teach about it), Obama wasn’t one of the bill’s sponsors, and the thing never made it to a vote in the full legislature. And finally, the ad repeats the same lie Palin told in her convention acceptance speech about Obama having no real accomplishments; this Times article from mid-last-year is a great resource for those who’d like to understand the actual accomplishments of Obama’s tenure in the Illinois state legislature, which include the first major campaign finance reform law in a quarter-century, the state’s first racial profiling law, increased childcare subsidies, and enhanced tax credits for the working poor, and earned a reputation as a policymaker willing to cross the political aisle to achieve results.

Finally, we get to this week’s total shitshow of an “issue”, the McCain campaign’s claim that Obama called Sarah Palin a pig. It’s so inane, so ludicrous, and so totally, demonstrably false as to be laughable, but of course, it’s dominated the news cycle for nearly 48 hours. (The slogan of this week: “This waste of time and energy was brought to you by the lies and slander of the McCain campaign, mindlessly repeated by the unthinking media.”)

To those of you who’ve read me for any amount of time, there’s no doubting that I’m a reasonably solid Democrat, so it’s no surprise that I’m behind Obama in this horse race. But with that said, I spent a lot of the 1990s thinking that John McCain was a very reasonable — non-wingnut, non-neo-conservative — Republican, and that he’d likely serve our nation well were he ever to attain the Presidency. That’s why it’s so shocking to me how far he’s fallen, and how willing he’s been to dishonor the amazing legacy he could have had. Fortunately, it seems that I’m not alone in this assessment.

The Washington Post’s Michael Kinsley:

[T]hat shouldn’t let John McCain off the hook. He says he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. But it seems he’d rather lose that honor he’s always going on about than lose the election.

Time Magazine’s Joe Klein:

Now he is responsible for one of the sleaziest ads I’ve ever seen in presidential politics…. I just can’t wait for the moment when John McCain — contrite and suddenly honorable again in victory or defeat — talks about how things got a little out of control in the passion of the moment. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

The Washington Post’s editorial board:

John McCain is a serious man who promised to wage a serious campaign. Win or lose, will he be able to look back on this one with pride? Right now, it’s hard to see how.

The Washington Monthly’s Hilzoy:

I hope McCain is enjoying himself. It would be a shame for him to give up what remains of his honor without getting anything at all in return.

The message that really hit home to me was spoken by Obama when he was asked to respond to the “lipstick on a pig” idiocy.

This happens every election cycle. Every four years. This is what we do. We’ve got an energy crisis. We have an education system that is not working for too many of our children and making us less competitive. We have an economy that is creating hardship for families all across America. We’ve got two wars going on — veterans coming home not being cared for — and this is what they want to talk about. This is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about.
You know who ends up losing at the end of the day? It’s not the Democratic candidate. It’s not the Republican candidate. It’s you, the American people, because then we go another year or another four years or another eight years without addressing the issues that matter to you. Enough.
I don’t care what they say about me, but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift-boat politics. Enough is enough.

Let’s hope that enough Americans agree.