Who spray-painted anti-McCain smears in Northern Virginia?

It's more likely an isolated act of deranged expression, like the Ashley Todd episode, than a GOP dirty trick.

By Thomas Schaller
Published October 27, 2008 1:00PM (EDT)

Over the weekend, vandals spray-painted two dozen homes and businesses in Northern Virginia with anti-McCain smears. (Caution: Some of the language at this link, I should forewarn, is pretty coarse.)

It's hard to know for sure what to make of all of this. One one hand, Occam's razor says a handful of (probably drunk) people who hate McCain did it. On the other hand, the Occam's razor of American electoral politics, if such a thing existed, would suggest that it was intended to look that way and thus is, instead, perhaps the product of shrewd conservatives or Republicans aiming to create sympathy for McCain. In other words: Republican ratf---ing.

If I were betting, I'd put my money on this ultimately being revealed as something similar to the Ashley Todd episode: an isolated act of deranged expression, coordinated neither with the McCain campaign in Virginia nor nationally, but committed by a person or persons who have some screwy ideas about this country.

Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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