Now, as K-Lo points out at The Corner, Bill Bennett has joined a huge host of people who have concluded that John McCain today flat-out lied about Gov. Romney’s position on the troop “surge,” etc. This is no surprise. McCain’s “straight talk express” has been anything but straight for quite some time now. He has been making false claims about what his position on immigration was just last summer. He has been making false claims about why he opposed Bush’s tax cuts. He has been making false claims about Romney’s stance on “torture.” He has made misleading (not exactly false, but certainly misleading) representations about Giuliani’s position on the line item veto. He has misrepresented his helpfulness on judicial nominations. And I know I am forgetting some of the other things he has not been exactly straight about.
On the other hand, there have been two major candidates in this race who have been straightforward even to the point of their own detriment. One of them, Fred Thompson, already has pulled out. The other has been Rudy Giuliani — who, despite some weaknesses on a few issues (from conservative orthodoxy), has not pandered and not been telling lies. This is a man who was the best mayor, of any city, anywhere, in living memory (or certainly my living memory). I am rooting for him to do surprisingly well in Florida and to thus keep his campaign alive. This nomination battle benefits from having more candidates still relevant long enough for the vast majority of states to have the chance to weigh in.
But the nomination battle does not benefit from having candidates flat-out lie while attacking each other. That’s what McCain has done today. Shame on him.