The McCain camp is zinging Barack Obama for his not very presidential tough-guy remark, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” One can imagine the howls if McCain ever said something like that. “Angry!” “Bully!” That’s what they would say, no doubt. And they’d be right. That’s, to borrow a phrase, a schoolyard taunt, not the language of a presidential nominee.
But it shouldn’t come as a total shock. From time to time, from the lips of either Obama (“You’re likable enough, Hillary”) or his advisers (“monster Hillary“) you see glimpse of nasty condescension toward Obama’s opponents. I suspect, because you see it in these unguarded moments and everywhere in the left blogosphere, that this is how they speak in private about (and what they actually think of) their political rivals. It is the chip-on-the-shoulder, “we’re not going to be bullied” attitude which justifies their own obnoxious verbiage. Somewhere in the Obama rules of political etiquette there is no doubt an asterisk for “but not us.”