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Commentary: Republican attacks show fear and desperation

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

13 Days until the Presidential Election - November 4, 2008
91 Days until Inauguration Day - January 20, 2009

By Roland Martin
CNN Contributor

Editor's note: Join Roland S. Martin for his weekly sound-off segment on Live at 11:10 a.m. ET Wednesday. If you're passionate about politics, he wants to hear from you. A nationally syndicated columnist, Martin has said he will vote for Barack Obama in November. He is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith" and "Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America." Visit his Web site for more information.

(CNN) -- Watching Sen. John McCain and top Republicans swing wildly in their attempts to slam Sen. Barack Obama, with less than two weeks ago to go before Election Day, is like watching an old fighter --clearly out of gas, his legs turned to rubber, and all he can do is grab, hold, punch behind the back, just anything to try to win.

McCain's campaign is no longer about issues. He and his supporters want to bring up anything and everything to derail Obama, and nothing is sticking, so they just keep returning to their old bag of tricks.

In the past two weeks, we've seen Minnesota Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann make one of the most audacious statements ever, suggesting that Obama holds anti-American views, that other members of Congress have the same views, and that the media should launch a widespread investigation to ferret them out.

No, seriously, she said that on MSNBC's "Hardball."

It didn't take long for the folks on the left to get ahold of her comments. After the video spread like wildfire, Democrats across the country pumped $700,000 into the campaign coffers of her opponent. The normally talkative Bachmann is now on lockdown, not granting any interviews, as she has to work hard to hold onto her seat.

Then you have former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who was caught suggesting that if Obama wins, he is going to put in place the policies of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Now, Gingrich has absolutely no clue what policies Wright advocated, but he wants to scare the dickens out of voters by literally making stuff up about Obama.

Cindy McCain, who has barely moved her lips during this campaign, is now accusing the Obama campaign of running the dirtiest campaign ever, and lighting up the New York Times and others for their viciousness. Never mind what's happening in her own backyard with all of the false and outlandish comments coming from her husband, his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, and their supporters.

They are now in full blame-the-media mode.

Then you have both McCain and Palin slamming Obama for essentially being a socialist. We shouldn't be surprised that it's come to this because we already had radio hosts like Lars Larson, Glenn Beck and others trying to paint Obama for months as being a Marxist. Now the junior senator from Illinois is a student of Lenin!

This has totally gotten out of hand, but instead of trying to castigate Obama and tar and feather him, the Republicans should look inward and look at how their actions have seriously harmed this nation.

The Republicans ran Congress for six years. The Republicans have held the White House for the last eight years. The Republicans have advanced the deregulation agenda that played a major role in creating the financial mess we are currently in.

The Republicans have led the foreign policy we have in place that has destroyed the moral authority we once held. Their president is one of the most unpopular in history, so bad that he and Vice President Dick Cheney can't even come out of the White House to campaign on behalf of McCain because they are so reviled by Americans.

Can someone please remind these folks of this?

Every campaign says they want the election to be about the issues, but when McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis made it clear that they want it to be about character and not issues, well, we should have realized we would get to this point.

That's why we're hearing so much about Bill Ayers. That's why they've spent more time blasting out statements about ACORN than real policy points.

It's pretty sad, really. It's sad that instead of making it about a vision for America, they want it to be about the castigating of a good man. It's sad that McCain can't fully articulate an economic plan that encompasses all Americans, instead of redistributing income upwards to the super rich.

It's sad that his only answer to the economy is tax cuts, when we need a much broader answer.

Much can happen over the next 13 days. I've seen campaigns won and lost with less time on the clock.

McCain will continue to throw jabs, swinging wildly, ignoring the game plan he came into the fight with, hoping something -- anything -- connects against the jaw of his younger, more fluid opponent. And like any aging fighter, as the rounds tick away, he could get even more desperate and fearful. So hold on to your seats. Lord knows what will come out of the GOP side over the next 13 days.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.


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