Mt. Vesuvius of mud

Equity markets collapse. Credit markets are strangled. Economic pain skyrockets. Global markets shake. And John McCain campaigns on Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, pit bulls with lipstick, slanders, smears, falsehoods and fear — a Mount Vesuvius of mud that will drag Republicans to a landslide defeat.

Americans endure a crisis of economic pain while McCain suffers a crisis of his own identity. The McCain who ran in 2000 would be scandalized by the McCain who runs in 2008.

Voters need raincoats and boots as John McCain closes his failed campaign dishing dirt in political panic.

McCain’s staff tells reporters he cannot discuss the economy because he will lose. Sarah Palin’s staff tells her what newspapers she reads in the morning. Rather than offering intelligent solutions to an economy in crisis, McCain and Palin dump sludge on voters who hunger for leadership and despise the Bush-like politics that is the new McCain brand.

There is the whiff of landslide in the air.

How can anyone serve in government during three decades and admit he does not know much about the economy?

With American families deeply worried and troubled by the state of the economy, how can any candidate be so divorced from reality that he, or she, tries to trick voters into forgetting about the economy with a politics of defamation?

There is the whiff of the pungent and repulsive odor of the George Bush years from McCain and Palin, from Rove and Schmidt, from Wallace and Kristol, from Republicans who repulse a nation in crisis with this Mount Vesuvius of mud.

How can anyone be so totally divorced from the reality of American life to believe our economy is strong and sound, as McCain recently said?

Yet the lava pours out with a never-ending litany of lies like this: Obama wants to lose a war, and to bring cameras and reporters to exploit wounded troops. Palin tells the lie that went nowhere, pretending she killed the Bridge to Nowhere, and then makes up tall tales about Obama “palling around” with terrorists. The list goes on. The mud piles up.

In the sickest slander of all, McCain, Palin and the entire Republican convention mock and ridicule Obama’s work with churches helping jobless workers.

McCain performs a ridiculous stunt where he suspends a campaign he does not really suspend, pretends to cancel a debate he does not really cancel, airlifts himself into a negotiation on a subject he knows little about, wanders aimlessly around Washington for 24 hours, and then claims credit for the result.

McCain’s strange behavior in this crisis reminds me of the movie producer in “The Godfather” who says, shortly before receiving the horse’s head: “A man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous!”

McCain looks ridiculous. Republicans will pay for his Vesuvius of mud — with their political Pompeii.

Obama will win because, faced with this deluge of dirt, he stands tall as an oak with his dignity, cool in a crisis, calm in a storm, a serious man for serious times, a thoughtful man with major ideas to make our economy stronger, an idealist without illusions, a leader to fix the problems, the real voice for authentic change, who will transcend this Vesuvius of mud that is the last desperate gasp of the George Bush years.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He can be reached at brentbbi@webtv.net and read on The Hill Pundits Blog .