McCain must lead fight for change

In race after race, district after district nationwide, the airwaves were flooded with television attack ads that not only stretched the truth, but often mocked it. Voters were left to sift through the charges and countercharges to try to determine which allegations were fair and factual, and which were unfair and deceitful.

It's true that political camps have long been notorious for hurling charges that distort the facts, but until now, the voters could point the finger of blame at a candidate who was smearing an opponent. Unfortunately, that's not so easy today.

How so? The sluice gates have opened for a dual system of campaign advertising. There are those ads created for, and approved by, the candidates themselves, and for which voters have every right to hold them responsible for the contents. But the rules also permit political parties to create ads, as long as they do so independently of the candidates. ...

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who fought hard for the legislation that bears his name, now has a choice to make. He can look the other way and say nothing about the attack ads, or he can lead the fight for change, much as he did when he had to battle many of his Republican colleagues in Congress who opposed him on campaign finance reform. ...

The above editorial excerpt is from The Times Union, Albany, N.Y.