Yes, I know that both Demorats and Republicans stoop to sleazy tactics to win elections. But there is one place where it is easily the worst. And a former president used it twice. The upcoming election in South Carolina indicates that the Republicans there are continuing the sleazo-meter record.
In the 1990's South Carolina presidential primary, George W. Bush hired Lee Atwater to take down John McCain who was gaining in the polls. Bush knew what he was getting. Atwater had used blatant lies to bring down Dukakis with the Willie Horton scare, a total fabrication and deceit.
Bush's political front-man, Lee Atwater, started the rumor the John McCain had fathered a black baby. It was totally and patently untrue. Bush allowed it to flow throughout South Carolina. It played on the GOP love of bigotry in that state. Racism and bigotry had a history of success in South Carolina, but rarely as blatant as this lie about McCain. Bush edged out McCain in the primary and went on to become the GOP nominee. Atwater would be used again and again, and the especially horrible rumor and lies that Bush used about John Kerry and his military awards in Vietnam got him elected in 1994.
John McCain remained a gentleman throughout the primary in 1990. He never brought up George W. Bush's immoral past in New England in his younger years. McCain at least would have been telling the truth. Bush had no qualms about telling lies.
The bigotry continues in South Carolina. In the current GOP race for governor, two conservative men have come forward to say that they had secret sex trysts with Nikki Haley, the candidate that some of the farthest right-wing people do not want to see receive the nomination. Ms. Haley's parents are Sikhs. A Republican state senator has said, refering to Obama and Haley, "We already have a raghead in the White House, we don't need another one in the Governor's Mansion." No matter how you slice it or parse it, that is about as bigoted as politics gets. The GOP should be ashamed ...but it isn't. And they have used this tactic many times in the past and will again.
Lee Atwater had a sort of death bed conversion, and in his last hours expressed guilt and shame for using the tactics he did to get Republicans elected to office, especially George W. Bush. Americans should not need a death bed experience to see that this sort of bigotry has no place in politics, and should be outraged that one political party has used it far more than the other. But silence continues.