It was extremely pleasant not to have to respond in real time to the McCain story. Reading the blogosphere as a simple observer, it was, however, a little depressing to see the knee jerk partisanship. Several liberal bloggers exercised some skepticism toward the story and some conservative ones had a little Schadenfreude, but in general, it felt like a lot of people on the right were just relieved to be able to do the old Hannity-hate routine at the NYT. After this demoralizing campaign for Republicans, you can't blame them, I suppose. But it's still a little sad to see how much of conservatism is now a series of hate objects.

What did I think? I'm with Clark Hoyt. The implication of a sexual affair was a step too far. The story was mildly interesting and somewhat damaging without that detail, and Keller should have realized that sticking it under a file called 'The Long Run" wouldn't take the edge off it. So a net loss for the NYT, I'd say. Still ... am I the only one wondering if this might not be the end of it? Isikoff revealed that McCain fibbed or misremembered in his blanket dismissal of the non-romantic charges, which is not reassuring if you're a McCain supporter. The revelation of some deep grudges within the McCain circle, aired by David Brooks, is also not a good omen. And the details of all those lobbyists close to McCain does dent his post-Keating squeaky-clean image a little. There are a few loose strings here that might unravel a little more of McCain's momentum. I don't know if there's moreĀ  to come. I hope there's not. If something were to crop up proving an affair, McCain would be in terrible trouble. I hope not. We deserve a good campaign on the war, the economy, the debt and the climate.

And, besides, McCain's a hero. I don't know many people who mistake him for a saint.

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