The most appalling thing about William Daniel Cunningham's attack on Barack Obama last week was the utter pack of lies he told to defend it. He first called Obama a "Manchurian candidate," then moments later denied he had said that. He then pretended that he calls John McCain "John Sidney McCain III," but that is a lie. I don't listen to William Daniel Cunningham all of the time, so I can't swear that he has never said "John Sidney McCain," but I have never heard him say it, and I have heard him say "Barack Hussein Obama" dozens of times. The gall it takes to pretend he treats them the same is unmitigated.
The biggest lie was Cunningham's insistence that he uses all three of Obama's names out of respect for his presidential qualities, as if he were referring to John Fitzgerald Kennedy or Dwight David Eisenhower. A statement like that one refutes itself.
To McCain's credit, he quickly disowned William Daniel Cunningham's remarks. But somebody on McCain's staff wasn't paying attention. Cunningham's smear tactics are on record before millions of people. If you don't want a name-calling, immature liar warming up the crowd for your candidate, then don't invite him. Unless something more devious is going on.
Obama has been oblique enough about "change" that it is possible to imagine that he stands for whatever sort of change one might want. My hope is that the change he might bring is total repudiation of talk-show hate mongers like William Daniel Cunningham.
P.S. On Thursday, Rush Limbaugh was defending himself from those who were saying that the death of William F. Buckley demonstrated how far civil discourse has declined on the right. But even in defending himself, Limbaugh proved his critics' point. He couldn't get through even one minute of his defense before he called one of his critics a "clown." Then he tacked on this nonsensical argument: If Buckley was such an effective spokesman for conservatives, why are there still liberals?
It was a twofer: He not only trashed a distinguished conservative commentator, he showed how pathetic Buckley's heirs are.
UPDATE: The Last Best Place has an unusually ill-considered post on this topic.