Thursday, May 20, 2004

This is beyond belief:

It's McCain vs. Hastert on meaning of sacrifice

A 2-month-old House-Senate standoff over the 2005 budget burst into public acrimony Wednesday, when House Speaker Dennis Hastert questioned Sen. John McCain's credentials as a Republican and suggested that the decorated Vietnam War veteran didn't understand the meaning of sacrifice. ...

On Tuesday, McCain gave a speech excoriating both political parties for refusing to sacrifice their tax cutting and spending agendas in a time of war. At the Capitol on Wednesday, Hastert shot back: "If you want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) and Bethesda (Naval Hospital). There's the sacrifice in this country." ...

--Washington Post via Omaha World-Herald

McCain, of course, spent five and a half years being brutalized in a Vietnamese prison camp. Hastert?

" Cheney, no Lott, no Hastert, no DeLay, none of them ever served." --Mark Shields on PBS, 2/11/04

Hastert, who has a book coming out in a couple of months and is already publicizing it, also snarked off about McCain to reporters:

...a reporter asked: "Can I combine a two issues, Iraq and taxes? I heard a speech from John McCain the other day..."

Hastert: "Who?"

Reporter: "John McCain."

Hastert: "Where's he from?"

Reporter: "He's a Republican from Arizona."

Hastert: "A Republican?"

And by astonishing coincidence, a new column entitled "Kerry, McCain Alleged to be 'Fast Friends' of Vietnamese Communists" just appeared at and, which are widely read on the right. The article accuses McCain and Kerry of being complicit in Vietnamese human rights abuses -- though the ultimate accusers apparently don't have the guts to speak on the record:

..."Senators have complained to us that these guys are the fast friends of the Vietnamese and they've blocked any real attempt at reform or punishment for these types of abuses, and so Vietnam continues to get away with murder," [International Christian Concern President Jeff] King told

When asked to name the senators who had complained, King quickly replied, "No way." But he added that, "It's not a political thing."...

Oh, of course not.

UPDATE: Oops -- almost left this out, from Maureen Dowd:

Then Senator John Cornyn of Texas weighed in, suggesting that [Senator John] Warner, a Navy officer in World War II, a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War and a Navy secretary under Nixon, and Mr. McCain, who lived in a dirt suite at the Hanoi Hilton for five years, were not patriotic. Their "collective hand-wringing," Mr. Cornyn sniffed, could be "a distraction from fighting and winning the war."

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