South Carolina: First in Treason, First in political smear campaigns. South Carolina, the state that first committed treason against the United States to defend the sacred right of some of its citizens to own other people, is also developing quite a reputation for smear politics. The Evansville Courier Press manages to comment on several smear campaigns conducted by Bush supporters without ever mentioning the name “Bush.”

In 2000, South Carolina is where Bush effectively put an end to John “Weathervane” McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign. Among the highlights of that primary contest - false push polls alleging that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock — the speck of fact to which this apparently alludes was the adoption by McCain and his wife of a Bangladeshi child. Another charming “fact” used to attack the McCain campaign were allegations of drug use by his ex-wife. This year, a group of veterans opposed to McCain is apparently pushing the idea that McCain sold out his fellow soldiers when he was a POW in Viet Nam. I have lost quite a bit of respect for McCain between 2000 when I first became aware of him and today. His flip-flopping on the role of religious demagogues in his party and the wisdom of the Bush tax cuts as well as his refusal to do anything about Bush and Rumsfeld’s mishandling of Iraq have seriously diminished McCain in my eyes. Be that as it may, he deserves a lot better than he’s been getting in the cesspool of South Carolinian politics. During this campaign season, we are treated to the factoid that, since 1980, the Republican winner of South Carolina’s primary has gone on to get the GOP nomination. That explains quite a bit, I suppose.

As for the Evansville Courier Press, they manage to bring up the Swiftboat lies against John Kerry on behalf of Bush without mentioning Bush. They never mention Bush when discussing the attacks against McCain in 2000. And when they discuss Lee Atwater, they don’t mention his most infamous campaign — the Willie Horton attack of Dukakis on behalf of Bush the Elder. No one party or political dynasty has a lock on political dirty tricks, but the Bush clan has been effectively using smear politics for a long time now; and their minions — notably Atwater and Rove — have perfected the dark art.