Is McCain Behind the Swiftboating of Obama?

Reed Hundt makes the case:

What matters is going on the offense against the author of the typically bizarre, distracting, and hideous rightwing attacks: John McCain. It ought to be beneath senator McCain to have his side label Obama as a terrible person because he has failed to shun a fellow who did wrong 40 years or is not a patriot because he neglected to wear a flag on lapel, or declined to disavow a Korean War vet and pastor because he spoke too harshly one Sunday. McCain went to Vietnam to re-open peaceful relations, so he knows the place of forgiveness. He is a man of military honor and knows how to respect a friend and a foe. Hence, it ought to be beneath McCain to tolerate attacks against Obama that closely resemble the despicable charges bush launched against McCain in South Carolina in 2000. It should be the case that mccain doesn’t just pretend to stop these attacks, but actually does so. Aside from his laissez-faire positions on iraq and the economy, McCain’s primary disqualification for the oval office is that he knows these vile, crazy attacks are wrong for America but he won’t stop them.

Greg Sargent starts by noting that McCain publicly said this ad should not be run:

John McCain promised at a town-hall meeting today that he would bring “every pressure to bear” to stop the North Carolina GOP from running that ad hitting Obama over his controversial pastor, an issue that McCain said wasn’t a legit one. The North Carolina GOP’s spot has McCain in something of a jam. He has come out and condemned the ad and said he doesn’t want it to air, but he’s now taking hits from Democrats who are demanding that he do more as the GOP’s standard bearer to stop it from running. And if he can’t get that done he risks looking weak. Indeed, a top McCain strategist is now telling Time magazine that the ad won’t be running at all — the implication being that McCain managed to put the kibosh on it behind the scenes. But guess what — a spokesperson for the North Carolina GOP just told me that this isn’t the case.

Let’s go back to the actual Swiftboating of John Kerry. Anyone who doesn’t realize that Bush-Cheney was behind the Swift Boat liars is a really gullible person. It is true that McCain publicly condemned the first Swiftboat ad and asked President Bush to put a stop to it. Well, not only did the Swifties continue with their first ad but they had more. So what did McCain do? Did he refuse to campaign for Bush-Cheney in 2004? Of course not – he actively campaigned for them.

It does seem that 2008 has started off as a repeat of 2004 – GOP hit men will smear the Democratic candidate for the benefit of the Republican candidate while the Republican candidate pretends to take the high road. But let’s be clear – McCain could stop this if he wanted to. But he doesn’t want this to stop. So when he pretends otherwise – it’s just another of many lies from the Straight Talk express. How stupid do these Republicans think we voters are?