Tuesday, September 18, 2007


According to The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, if a private group runs a harsh ad about a U.S. general, it's morally the same as using government power to destroy people's lives and careers:

...The swipe at Petraeus was contained in a full-page ad the antiwar group MoveOn.org placed in the New York Times last week. It charged that Petraeus was "cooking the books" about conditions in Iraq and cited statements of his that have turned out to be either (1) not true, (2) no longer true, (3) possibly not true or (4) like everything else in Iraq, impossible to tell. Whatever the case, using "betray" -- a word associated with treason -- recalls the ugly McCarthy era, when for too many Republicans dissent corresponded with disloyalty. MoveOn.org and the late senator from Wisconsin share a certain fondness for the low blow....

And, bizarrely, running one anti-Petraeus ad is McCarthyism even though Petraeus may in fact be a liar, according to Cohen.

Ah, but who's the real villain in Cohen's piece? Astonishingly, the "liberal" Cohen, though he thinks Rudy Giuliani is "exploit[ing]" the situation, thinks Rudy has it exactly right:

...When, for instance, Gen. David Petraeus was slimed as "General Betray Us," Hillary Clinton looked the other way. This was the politics of personal expediency.

...It may seem unfair to single out Clinton in this matter when the bunker in which she took shelter was crowded with her fellow quivering candidates. But Clinton is the front-runner, quite possibly the next president of the United States, so it is reasonable to focus on her and wonder if, as some allege, she does indeed have a spine. In this instance, it was nowhere to be found.

... She would, it seems, rather be president than be right.

Yes, there's only one "right" response to the "Betray Us" ad -- you're not allowed to have the "wrong" response (that it's correct, or that it's at least a valid contribution to the debate, or even that it's not worthy of comment).

And lots of people had the "wrong" response," but it's "reasonable" to criticize only one of those people because, well, she's a bitch, right?

And some of you still think the press is going to stand by and watch Hillary Clinton win the presidency?


UPDATE: Tom Hilton has more.


UPDATE: I'd just like to add that this is what I was talking about in May when I said that everyone thinks Iraq will be the #1 issue in the '08 election, but it won't be. What it'll be is something like this -- something trivial, something tangential, something utterly irrelevant to voters that will utterly dominate the national conversation about the candidates (or, rather, about the Democratic candidate) for weeks, if not months. The Republicans are going to keep trying to generate a phony "character" issue like this that they can make stick. Eventually they'll succeed -- with the mainstream media's help. And that's how Hillary Clinton will lose a race everyone's sure she'll win.

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