The old John McCain

Just a few months ago, John McCain was singing a very different tune about how this campaign should be conducted.

Published August 1, 2008 9:27PM (EDT)

Over at Time magazine's blog Swampland, my former colleague Michael Scherer has posted a reminder of another Web ad put out by John McCain's campaign in what already seems a long-ago era. That video, entitled "Tolerance," was released in April, and it's an amazing illustration of how much the McCain camp's rhetoric about how the campaign should -- and would -- be conducted has changed over a relatively short span of time.

In "Tolerance," the narrator isn't mocking Obama, claiming he has "anointed himself ready to carry the burden of 'The One.'" Instead, the narrator says:

We have our disagreements, we Americans ... It is more than appropriate, it is necessary that even in times of crisis -- especially in times of crisis -- we fight among ourselves for the things we believe in.

It is not just our right, but our civic and moral obligation.

But we deserve more than tolerance from one another, we deserve each other's respect, whether we think each other right or wrong in our views, as long as our character and sincerity merit respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the noisy debates that enliven our politics, a mutual devotion to the sublime idea that this nation was conceived in -- that freedom is the inalienable right of mankind, and in accord with the laws of nature and nature's Creator.

Boy, how things change.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.