…don’t talk endlessly about their heroism. They rarely mention it at all in fact.

Thus John McCain’s recent run of comments about his prisoner of war days (a status which, by the way, doesn’t in and of itself make one a hero) is off-putting at best. Worse, his recent emphasis the affair (one wag says you can tell McCain’s talking because his sentences are “noun, verb, POW”), begs the question of whether he’s actually qualified to be president. That is to say that being a POW may be a testament to a person’s capacity to suffer for his country; it doesn’t mean he should be commander-in-chief.

Like many others, I have been appalled by McCain’s recent negative attacks. I understand that there was no other way he could possibly win, but this spasm of Rovian politics has been beyond disheartening not just because it’s ugly, because it’s working too. National polls, which don’t matter, show a dead heat, and state polls, which do matter, show a obvious tightening.

It’s hard to get a good read on the contest from Oregon because the west coast will be solidly for Obama. Here in Oregon, Obama campaign signs outnumber McCain’s on an order of 10 to 1. But like 2000 and 2004, Oregon’s not where things will be decided, and we can only hope that the rest of the country throws off McCain’s negativity and opts for a brighter future.