Commentary Magazine


Re:Who’s The Most Negative?

Barack Obama is at it again: the most neagtive campaigner  in the race has another doozy out today. The Spanish language ad — tying John McCain to Rush Limbaugh, if you can believe it — is debunked by Jake Tapper who concludes:

The greater implication the ad makes, however, is that McCain is no friend to Latinos at all, beyond issues of funding the DREAM act or how NCLB money is distributed. By linking McCain to Limbaugh’s quotes, twisting Limbaugh’s quotes, and tying McCain to more extremist anti-immigration voices, the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad. In Spanish, the word is erróneo.

It is hard to conclude this is anything but a nasty smear. Obama obviously is banking that none of the ad-debunking criticism filters into the Spanish language voting community. Can you imagine McCain running an ad trying a stunt like this? Every civil rights group and news outlet in the country would be hollering.

Plainly, Obama is testing what the market for his negativity and non-New Politics will bear, daring McCain to go negative. The market will bear a lot. And McCain will respond — the only question is when.

UPDATE: Jonathan Martin has the response from Rush Limbaugh who explains that his comments (which McCain never identified with) were taken out of context:

“Obama is now stoking racism in the country,” Limbaugh wrote in an email.  “Obama is a disgrace – he wants the public to think he is Mr. Nice Guy while his thugs are in Alaska looking for dirt on Palin and he runs race-baiting ads and lies about what he has done and what McCain has done.”