Republicans Resort Again to Swiftboating

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Jul 252015
McCain on cot in Hanoi POW camp.

McCain on cot in Hanoi POW camp.

“Swift-boating” is a neologism used pejoratively to describe an unfair or untrue political attack. We started using it during the 2004 presidential campaign when an astro-turf group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, set out to wreck John Kerry’s campaign based on their false claim that he hadn’t earned a purple heart he had received.

Now, Donald Trump has taken on the mantel of swift-boater (to go along with his birtherism) in attacking John McCain’s status as a Vietnam War Hero. In recent televised remarks Trump claimed that McCain was a hero only because he was captured, and Trump said he preferred people who were not captured.

So let’s give you a little background, in case you’ve lived under a rock. McCain served as an attack aircraft pilot flying off aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War. He was shot down, injured in the crash, and captured. He then endured five and a half years as a prisoner of war, including periods of torture. In 1968, he refused a North Vietnamese offer of early release, because it would have meant leaving before other prisoners who had been held longer.

Now there is very little from a policy perspective that I agree with now-Senator McCain on, but that does not mean I do not respect his service, nor appreciate his heroism. No one should be allowed to question those aspects of McCain’s history and character without being dismissed as a lunatic. Continue reading »

John McCain is SHOCKED! SHOCKED! To Find There's Campaigning Going On Here

 Election, Politics  Comments Off on John McCain is SHOCKED! SHOCKED! To Find There's Campaigning Going On Here
Jul 022008

The McCain camp is all atwitter about Wesley Clark’s comments Sunday related to McCain’s status as a POW. They’re calling it “Swiftboating,” and condemning Obama for it. Of course, that didn’t stop McCain from putting the head of the original Swiftboats for Truth on a conference call run by his campaign.

What’s the dust up all about this time? Well, it seems that last Sunday morning on one of the news shows Clark said that John McCain’s military service was to be respected, but that time in a POW camp and having flown a fighter does not really do anything to increase a person’s ability to act as Commander-And-Chief. (Remember, Bush was also a fighter pilot, and look where that got us.)

Clark was exactly correct in what he said. As a nation, we owe John McCain and all other veterans who have served honorably, especially those who were prisoner’s of war, a great debt. Serving in leadership and command positions in the military can be good preparation for leadership positions in the civilian world also. But just because one flies a fighter jet and serves time as a POW really does not add anything to one’s ability to serve as President. The truth is, most psychologists would express concern about the temperament and stability of people that have been tortured in that past. So the reality is, McCain’s time as a POW ought to be a concern.) And McCain had a command position for only a short time, and then not in a combat situation. And it should be noted that not a single person has attacked General Clark’s thesis here, just that it wasn’t right to actually say it.

McCain and his team have tried to portray McShame as an humble servant never using his status for political gain, but as Paul Waldman writes, nothing could be further from the truth:

From the first time he ran for Congress in 1982 up to the present day, McCain has made his POW story the centerpiece of his entire political career. The key moment of that 1982 campaign was when he responded to his opponent’s (absolutely true) accusation that McCain was a carpetbagger by saying, “As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.” At every point since, it has been the deft use of this tool that has brought McCain renewed attention or won him a key victory.

Of course, the news media was all over this clipping what General Clark said. He started the comment by completely honoring McCain’s military service, but the MSM only showed a cropped version of the statement. To hear them tell it, you would think Clark inferred that McCain was never even in Vietnam. It is time for this love affair the media has for John McCain to end.