McCain "Waving the Flag of Fear" Against Obama With "False" Attacks

A lead editorial insists McCain is peddling a "false account" of Obama's cancelled visit to wounded troops in Germany - but the paper's fact-checker leaves the question open. Also: Is it really "ridiculous" to think that Bernie Sanders, "the Senate's only avowed socialist," is in fact, a socialist?

The Times topped its Wednesday edition pushback against McCain's negative campaigning with the lead editorial, "Low-Road Express."

Well, that certainly didn't take long. On July 3, news reports said Senator John McCain, worried that he might lose the election before it truly started, opened his doors to disciples of Karl Rove from the 2004 campaign and the Bush White House. Less than a month later, the results are on full display. The candidate who started out talking about high-minded, civil debate has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove's low-minded and uncivil playbook.

In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has been waving the flag of fear (Senator Barack Obama wants to "lose" in Iraq), and issuing attacks that are sophomoric (suggesting that Mr. Obama is a socialist) and false (the presumptive Democratic nominee turned his back on wounded soldiers).

But the Times itself can't seem to decide how "false" McCain's charge really was.

The editorial went on to say:

Almost immediately, the McCain campaign was using Mr. Rove's well-honed tactics, starting with an attempt to widen this nation's damaging ideological divide by painting Mr. Obama as a far-left kook. On July 18, Mr. McCain even suggested that Mr. Obama is a socialist to the left of the Senate's only avowed socialist: Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Mr. Obama's politics are hardly far-left, and anyone who has spent time in a socialist country knows how ridiculous that label is for any member of Congress. It would be bad enough if Mr. McCain honestly believed what he said, but we find that hard to imagine.

So the Times is saying it's "ridiculous" to call the "Senate's only avowed socialist" Bernie Sanders, um, a socialist?

And Obama did in fact, outrank Sanders as the most liberal senator of 2007in rankings released bythe respected National Journal magazine. Other surveys bear out the fact that Obama is a creature of the left. The American Conservative Union's popular rating system awards Sanders a lifetime voting record of 6.34 on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being perfectly conservative. Obama's lifetime ACU rating is 7.67. Hardly a massive difference.

The editorial insisted McCain liedabout Obama's canceled visit to wounded troops in Germany, although as stated above, the Times' own fact-checking story is ambivalent on the matter.

Mr. McCain repeatedly said Mr. Obama "would rather lose a war to win a political campaign" and that he "does not understand" what is at stake in Iraq. He also accused Mr. Obama of canceling a visit to wounded American troops in a German military hospital because news cameras were not allowed. That's a false account of what occurred - and Mr. McCain ignored Mr. Obama's unheralded visit to a combat hospital in Baghdad.