We have 2 good presidential candidates in Barack Obama and John McCain. I like John McCain more than I ever liked Bush and I like Barack Obama better than either Al Gore or John Kerry. These are two good candidates and two good men.
Now it’s inevitable that the extremists in either party will sling mud and pull all sorts of dirty tricks. All they need to do is hide behind empty shell companies and buy advertising. Given the current laws we have, we can’t stop these assholes from playing dirty. Thus we must do our best to ignore it. The candidates on both sides should denounce it emphatically and ask people who are supporting them to not do it.
The fair game, in my opinion, is 2 issues:
1. What qualities does the candidate have as a person and a leader.
2. What are his positions on the issues.
Those are the only two valid discussions we should have.
Now to the issue of guilt by association — it’s a gray one, in a sense, because whom you choose to associate with does lend insight into #1 above. On the other hand, we should never take some other person’s views as a proxy for the candidate’s views. The candidates can speak for themselves! So if some advisor to Obama is a racist, for example, we cannot infer something about Obama’s views from this. If McCain has a supporter who is an ardent theocrat, we can’t assume that McCain shares that view.
If McCain, though, goes to Bob Jones University (or Obama goes to, say, The Sierra Club) and proclaims what a great institution it is, then he is inviting assumptions.
Above all I’m praying to God (and that from an atheist) that the candidates themselves take the moral high ground. Both campaigns will be looking for every advantage, but being above the pissing match should be an advantage. Let’s pick the candidate who stays on the issues, has intelligent views on the issues and who avoids the slash and burn bullshit of “Swift Boat” politics.