Thursday, January 31, 2008


Since the Florida primary results came in, I've noticed a number of people asserting that we should go after McCain by suggesting that his years as a POW resulted from his own screwup -- because he was shot down.

Oh, please, people. Drop that. Just drop it.

Think for a second about how you felt when Ann Coulter wrote this about Max Cleland: "Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix." Or, later, when she wrote that he "was a victim only of his own clumsiness." (Go here for the real Cleland story.)

And don't tell me it worked against Cleland -- it didn't. Linking him to bin Laden in a campaign ad -- yes, that worked. But that was in 2002. Coulter didn't bring him up until 2004, when he'd been an ex-senator for a year and a half. Max Chambliss and the GOP didn't go after him that way in '02.

Attack the McCain of 1967 and you become exactly what the right and the GOP want you to become: you become people who hate the troops, not just the (old or new) war.

It's going to be very difficult to make this case, but the person we need to keep out of the White House is Senator McCain, not Lieutenant Commander McCain.


HOWEVER: Captain Ed says a similar message is being e-mailed right now:

The rumor mill tells e-mail recipients that McCain lost four or five airplanes as a naval aviator. One incident, though, doesn't even involve McCain except as a victim of someone else's error, and the rest of them don't provide any context at all.

This is being spread by right-wingers -- for instance, John Derbyshire at National Review and nativist sleazebag Steve Sailer -- and, well, you know the rules: It's OK to do this if you're a Republican. (Besides, once these guys stop bellyaching and agree to back McCain, they'll probably blame these e-mails on us. And the mainstream press will probably believe them.)

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