"Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign.
Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we're all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you've got to rethink all these things. And so I think we're in the process of looking at how we're going to close this campaign. We've got 19 days, and we're taking serious all these issues."
The thought process displayed here is incredibly difficult to follow. In fact, it very much reminds me of the proofs I used to display to my father back when he was my math teacher. I jumped to conclusions spuriously based on misconceptions of the various laws I thought I was following, the results being obviously bad. I have to thank my Dad for the meticulousness he required; I'd be less aware of the egregious conclusion leaping without that standard.
We begin with two bad assumptions.
The first bad assumption is that Congressman Lewis' statements apply to all of McCain's supporters. The remarks the Congressman made are so clearly directed at McCain and Palin that there is little else to say. The leap here is equivalent to McCain's campaign self-righteously decrying the New York Times' recent report on his health as suggesting his fifty million supporters are all old.
The second bad assumption that Lewis is calling McCain and Palin racists. Lewis did not accuse them of being racist but of stoking the fires thereof. One does not have to be a racist to incite a racist to violence. It remains a strong and perhaps repugnant claim, but a different one nonetheless.
These two assumptions are but the first two steps in a triple jump of ludicrous proportions. Calling fifty million people racist is far more sensational than telling two people they're inciting racism. It's a lot harder to have a righteous tirade about the latter. Despite the factual nonsense, these statements lay the foundation for the third and final leap.
This last jump to the conclusion holds that because Lewis called McCain, Palin and fifty million supporters racists the door is now open to bring Reverend Wright back onto the stage. If this were the Olympics we'd be setting a world record. This is a non sequitur, or at least should be. It assumes that it is okay to return tit for tat, an eye for an eye, and end this election in a bloody fist fight to the finish. Somehow it's completely deplorable that Lewis has done this, but it won't be equally detestable to do the same in return.
Ridiculous doesn't begin to explain this logic. Here is McCain's big chance to put "Country First", to counter Obama's claim that nearly 100% of his tactics and ads are negative. Instead of seizing the opportunity his campaign is considering, publicly, bringing racism back into the election in force.
With this kind of thinking, is it any wonder McCain is losing? I can't help but think that from the moment he won the primary his party has been brow beating him into towing the weighty lines that have been failing these last few years. The McCain that many independents voted for in the primary is not the McCain who decried "the health of the mother" as a liberal wedge for killing babies. The McCain who now despises "spreading the wealth around" is not the same one who so rightly called Obama out on producing platitudes and rarely policy months ago. It's an unfortunate reversal I'd rather not have seen.
I wish I could fast forward to November 4th with all this nonsense is overwith.