Saturday, October 11, 2008

Guilt by Association

Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have stepped up their "guilt by association" attacks over that last week. These are attacks where you claim that the candidate is guilty of some act or viewpoint because someone that they are, or were, associated with are guilty of the same. Here are some examples.

In recent stump speeches, Sarah Palin and John McCain have brought up Sen. Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a University of Illinois professor who had been a member of a radical leftist group in the 1960s. Here is a clip:

The Obama campaign, on the other hand has been running spanish TV and radio ads where they show Rush Limbaugh saying that "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified," (a quote that was taken out of context) and calling Limbaugh one of McCain's "Republican friends."

Obama also released this 13 min video about the "Keating 5" scandal:

To anyone who thinks that these issues belong in the campaign, I ask, "would you like to be held responsible for the actions of everyone you've associated with throughout your life?" Obama has condemned Ayers' radical views. McCain has admitted that he made a mistake in his relationship with Charles Keating. And, just because McCain and Limbaugh are both Republican does not make them friends--they were even on different sides of the immigration issue. Can we please move on?

Besides being an invalid argument, I think these attacks are a problem in that they distract from discussion of more important issues. We have some serious problems that need to be discussed. We're facing the biggest financial crisis of my lifetime. Entitlements will make things worse if they aren't reformed soon. Iran and North Korea could be developing nuclear weapons. And, NATO troops in Afghanistan are in need of more support. These are just of few of the issues we should be discussing.

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