Matthew Yglesias: Contrasting Through Falsehood: Marc Ambinder writes about the prospects for an elite backlash against the McCain campaign's new strategy of making stuff up:
"I will defend every single word in every single ad," a senior McCain campaign adviser told me last week. "But you can't really blame Obama for gas prices," I responded. "As they say, if you're not part of the solution," and here the adviser paused and smiled, "you're part of the problem." Concerns about whether McCain is coming off too mean, they say, are irrelevant. The media, they believe, has created double standard that allows them to view Obama's contempt for McCain as in-bounds and McCain's attempts to draw contrasts with Obama as out-of-bounds.
But look, the issue here isn't that there's something out of bounds about drawing a "contrast" with Barack Obama. The issue is that, as Marc's source admits, the charge that Obama is responsible for the high price of gasoline is false. Similarly, attacking Obama for refusing to meet with injured soldiers because he was told he couldn't bring press cameras would be a perfectly fair attack except for the fact that it isn't true. So called "negative advertising" has gotten a bad reputation, but there's really nothing wrong with being mean about your opponent. But campaigns should be expected to stay within some kind of bounds of accuracy.