Desperation carries quite the scent of sulphur. This is what a once-honorable man has descended to:

Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations, several top Republicans said.

I say: fine. If the McCain campaign wants a war — if it wants to get filthy — then progressives should give them what they want. For everything underhanded they throw at Obama, the response needs to be a relentless counterassault. The goal should not simply be to defeat McCain. It should be to destroy his reputation forever. To make him forever known as the man who sacrificed his integrity for one last desperate grab at power. When he returns to the Senate, McCain should be an object of ridicule, a figure who has cycled through such overwhelming political fortunes that he inspires something between pity and contempt. Bob Dole lost an election and emerged to generate increased respect. The opposite should be the end-state progressives envision with McCain.

So that’s a proposed strategic overview. How to get here from there? This Rolling Stone piece that Megan Carpentier flagged might be a good start. Or maybe a frame like: John McCain, too chickenshit to go after bin Laden in Pakistan. Thoughts?

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman