August 19, 2008

How stupid is it for Obama supporters to question the truth of McCain's "cross in the dirt" story?

Very stupid. Checking out the story, Byron York called Mark Salter, who worked with McCain on his book "Faith of Our Fathers." Salter confirms that McCain told him the cross story, and when York presses him on why McCain didn't tell such a "pivotal" story more often, Salter says:
"That's just plain bulls—t. His pivotal experience was his refusal of early release and the three or four days of torture he took for it, his confession, and his attempted suicide. That was his pivotal experience. He's never represented [the "cross in the dirt" story] to be that."
Whatever benefit Obama supporters might get from questioning the "cross in the dirt" story, it is vastly overshadowed by the vivid and terrifying facts of McCain's imprisonment. Why are you creating more occasions for McCain supporters to repeat those facts? I should think you'd want to package his Vietnam past away with some respectful words and return the focus to the present.

But more generally, politicians, including Obama, often impose a religious interpretation on stories about themselves. They prayed, they had faith in God, Jesus led them out of whatever difficulty they encountered. What good is done by questioning that? Oh, did you really pray to God on that occasion? Prove it!

At the Saddleback Civil Forum, Obama said his religion gave him the "confidence" to run for President. You know, I don't believe that, but so what? What the hell difference does it make? I could imagine getting into a huff over the implication that atheists couldn't dare to run for President or that he's incredibly arrogant to suggest that God tapped him on the shoulder and let him know that he's the one. But I'm not in the mood. I'm tolerating all the usual religious frippery. It's the way politicians blather.

Now, yes, the "cross in the dirt" story — or as Andrew Sullivan calls it, "The Dirt In The Cross Story" — purports to describe an event that occurred in the external world, and whether it actually happened seems more specific than whether Senator X thought about Jesus one day. And it is interesting that there's a "cross in the dirt" story in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago." [Or maybe not!] So did McCain lift the story from Solzhenitsyn?

A better question is: Is that the kind of attack you want to make?

You may be so in love with the a-ha you think you've found that you fail to see how ridiculous you sound to people who are not already on your side — i.e., the people you need to persuade.

To help you get a sense of your ridiculousness, let me tell you about the time, long ago, in 1991, at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, when Senator Orrin Hatch wanted to impeach the credibility of Thomas's accuser Anita Hill:
Senator Hatch ... suggested that Professor Hill's account of how Judge Thomas, in the privacy of his office, once remarked to her that someone had put a pubic hair on his can of Coke could have been inspired by a scene in the 1971 novel, "The Exorcist." In that scene a character complains of pubic hair in his glass of gin.
Whether Hill was lying or not, the issue of whether she was lifting ideas about pubic hair from "The Exoricist" was perfectly silly and only made her attackers look desperate (and a tad nutty).

255 comments:

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AllenS said...

I would imagine that McCain has 5 years of prisoner of war stories.

Simon said...

A few months ago, my coblogger Pat and I were talking about the "is McCain eligible story," debating whether it was worth taking the time to write a rebuttal. This was early February, before it hit the big time in the NYT. One of the points Pat made was that whatever the legal merits of the claim, it was a dead letter: Democrats wouldn't push that story. It would be unbelievably, colossally stupid and politically tone-deaf. They would have to be total morons to do it.

Well, in light of this story, I think we can infer that they may actually be stupid enough. Perhaps the operative question should now be, will they be desperate enough. And when the returns come in and it's looking as though Obama's going to lose in the electoral college - a fortiori if he wins the popular vote - I think they might well be stupid and desperate enough to do it.

Doyle said...

Seems to me the question of whether or not the story is true has some merit. I mean only he knows for sure and he's clearly not above making stuff up.

dmfoiemjsof said...

Like you say, even if it's false, who cares? Religion itself is is nothing but lies, so lying about religious experience is just part of the game.

Roger J. said...

I do think the netroots wing of the democrat party is that tone deaf. I do hope some adults in the democrats take charge, but that would assume the democrats are united.

By all means attack John McCain's conduct and veracity as a POW. That's a winning strategy, indeed. And this from the chickenhawk crowd.

Stephanie Carnes said...

I've always heard that early Christians would draw part of the fish symbol in the sand with their sandal, and if the person they were talking to completed the fish, they knew they were talking to a fellow Christian. Why is it hard for Obama supporters to believe that Christians under persecution today do a similar thing?

Regardless, this attack line smacks of desperation.

Roger J. said...

Doyle: how do you go about investigating this story? Inquiring minds want to know.

garage mahal said...

Probably because it fits a pattern of obvious pandering bullshit McCain spouts depending on the circumstances, and where he is. He gave his captors the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line when in WI, and the names of Pittsburgh Steelers when in PA. He goes around lying saying he helped get the Webb GI Bill passed when he was vehemently opposed to it and didn't even show up for the vote. He tells stories about wasteful Montana bear earmarks that he voted for. He's flip flopped on almost every major issue to get elected right down to being against bills that have his name on it. He has the gall to call the other guy treasonous then jumps in his stupid fucking Straight Talk Plane and cuts off all access to the press while his handlers trot out the ridiculous line that he was a POW and can't be questioned. My question is why should we believe him.

Outis said...

It seems to me that tracing a cross in the dirt would be an easy way for two Christians to share a moment of community in situations where that otherwise couldn't occur. Thus it seems like a natural for a Communist prison camp. Sullivan seems to recognize this even as he dismisses the story's credibility:

One detail has changed: McCain's first version has the guard making the sign with his feet, while the latest ad shows the sign being made with Solzhenitsen's stick. So the ad itself is closer in imagery to the Colson account than to Salter's. But the trope is exactly the same: the silent communication, the total stranger, the desolation, and the cross. And, of course, this has profound Christian symbolic reference. Every Christian will immediately associate the drawing in the dirt with a stick with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery: another moment of unexpected mercy. [Emphasis added.]

Regardless, this is a stupid point to contest.

Doyle said...

By all means attack John McCain's conduct and veracity as a POW.

No, sorry. This relates to statements he's making as a candidate about his POW experience.

Roger: I have no interest in investigating this story. The fact that there's a fictional account that matches it doesn't really do it for me, either. But it's a story that doesn't show up in some places where you'd expect it to and I don't think it's intrinsically crazy or anti-war hero or whatever to wonder if he's just gilding the lily.

Doyle said...

He gave his captors the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line when in WI, and the names of Pittsburgh Steelers when in PA.

Yeah I meant to mention that. He milks it for all it's worth and then some. I would too, if I'd been a POW and then wanted to run for president.

Too many jims said...

First off, I completely agree that it is stupid for Obama supporters to question the truth of the story. Even assuming (for the sake of argument) that the story is fabricated there is no way to demonstrate that. You can ask people who are connected with McCain (e.g. Salter) but they are motivated to support his recollection.

That said, it is clear to me that McCain is willing to tailor his POW stories to pander to an audience. To that, I am sure a McCain supporter will say: Don't you dare say anything like this about a man who was held in isolation in a cell in Vietnam.

Simon said...

Stephanie Carnes said...
"Why is it hard for Obama supporters to believe that Christians under persecution today do a similar thing?"

I tend to think that the people questioning this story aren't really capable of comprehending the notion of Christians being persecuted. One fancies them to be the kind of myopic provincials who have never really grasped what the world outside America is like, who use words like "Christianists," who think that the Saddleback forum "like, totally violated the first amendment" (ever noticed how comparative the language of America's youth is lately? Everything's "like" something!), and who smugly walk around in "political prisoner in training" T-shirts thinking that they're bravely speaking truth to power by bucking the authoritarian Bushco regime. These are not people who are going to grasp the idea of real persecution, still less by the people they perceive to be the persecutors.

The Oracle warned that we can't see past our choices that we don't understand, and that goes double for someone else's choice.

Sloanasaurus said...

It is a blessing for McCain that Obama and his supporters attempt to denigrate his POW experience. Now McCain can talk about it without being seen to have brought it up.

McCain knows what its like to be in the fringe of death. He knows what its like to lose ones liberty. McCain knows what its like to send a son off to war.

Obama knows what its like to enjoy hours of anti-american and anti-white speeches at your local church.

Roger J. said...

Is McCain pandering to the evangelicals? No doubt in my mind. That said, the only people that know for sure are the guard and McCain. I sincerely hope the nutroots wing keeps pushing this story and get it into the MSM.

Outis said...

Garage Mahal asks, "My question is why should we believe him."

GM, given the numberous issues you raise with McCain's veracity, why question this story, whose veracity is almost impossible to accurately measure. The other stuff is more easily judged and some of it is actually pertinent to McCain's public character.

Incidentally, it's possible that McCain gave the names of offensive linemen from many teams. There was a time when I knew the starting names from most of the NFL rosters, so I believe it could be done. Note that I think in the example you gave McCain is actually pandering to his audiences, but there are other possible explanations. It would be best (politically) to stick to the public issues where you can call him out. Everything else just muddies the waters and dilutes what is presumably your cause.

Doyle said...

I tend to think that the people questioning this story aren't really capable of comprehending the notion of Christians being persecuted.

Alternately, they could just be people who don't think that if John McCain says something, it must be true.

But by all means, make absurd generalizations about their collective inability to grasp Christian persecution!

Sloanasaurus said...

That said, it is clear to me that McCain is willing to tailor his POW stories to pander to an audience.

What does this mean? You think McCain would talk about proper prison guard techniques from his experience in Vietnam to the prison guard union?

How dumb.

Palladian said...

One thing is for sure in all of this: Andrew Sullivan is a big, ugly, testosterone-jelly-smeared douchebag.

Paul Snively said...

george mahal: He gave his captors the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line when in WI, and the names of Pittsburgh Steelers when in PA.

I feel the same way about this as I feel about the creation story in Genesis: the salient point isn't whether God created the entire universe in six days as measured on earth; it's that God created the entire universe and there is a relationship between God and man. Note that this even holds true if "God" is just a shared concept--a meme, if you will--and the relationship is in the reverse: man created God.

With the POW camp story, the salient point is not whether he gave the Packers or Steelers offensive line names, it's that he didn't give them US military names, playing them for suckers while being imprisoned and tortured. Giving this such an abjectly literal reading will only make reasonable people react to you the same way that reasonable Christians react to the idea that the universe was literally created in six earth days: like you're a fundamentalist whack job.

Roger J. said...

Palladian: you are indeed a master of the insult. Now you owe me a new monitor.

Outis said...

It is a blessing for McCain that Obama and his supporters attempt to denigrate his POW experience.

They're not denigrating his POW experience. They are questioning his veracity as a politician decades after his POW experience.

SteveR said...

Unlike the "Christmas in Cambodia" story were facts could be checked against the narrative, this effort, while it adds to the contempt of people who would never vote for him, only serves to hurt Obama's chances. Probably not by a lot unless they keep doing it.

Doyle said...

Ah yes, it's the people who expect McCain's anecdotes to be literally true who are the "fundamentalist whackjobs," not the people who interpret them like chapters of the Old Testament.

vbspurs said...

This is low. Very low. Whatever credibility Democrats wanted after their outrage over "Swiftboating", they just lost today.

But you have to understand, the story MUST be discredited, and ridiculed.

After all, its storyline is a juncture of at least 4 topics Liberals find uncomfortable:

1- Vietnam
2- The military
3- Religion
4- Republican politician

Really, we shouldn't be surprised.

Based on what the story is composed of above, and how effectively it was delivered in a crucial opening campaign forum where McCain mauled Obama, you could see this coming.

Questioning a man's POW experience is bad politics from Obama's surrogates. This is the kind of stuff he should not allow were he a stronger leader of his Party, but he's not and they're not a disciplined bunch.

The Republicans will exploit this effectively.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

I think Obama's supporters should keep questioning the cross story. It makes them look like a pack of ninnies and -- as Doyle inadvertently noted, above -- they have no hope of actually demonstrating that he lied.

I think "yes, yes, he refused an offer to go home early and suffered horrible torture and years of misery, but maybe he didn't *really* see a Vietnamese guard draw a cross in the dirt" is an excellent line of attack. I'm sure swing voters, who dislike war heroes almost as much as they dislike heartwarming stories of Christian charity, will appreciate the Obama camp's forthright pursuit of the truth.

Too many jims said...

Sloan,

Did you click on the link I provided? (Click the word "tailor" in my prior post.) I think that will explain what I was getting at by saying that McCain uses POW stories to pander to different audiences.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doyle said...

If McCain claimed that while he was imprisoned, he bent a spoon with the power of his mind, his fans would still accuse skeptics of "questioning his service."

Talk about a halo effect.

as Doyle inadvertently noted, above -- they have no hope of actually demonstrating that he lied.

Oh noes! I totally didn't mean to concede that! You caught me, Rev.

Palladian said...

Obama once drew a dollar sign with his toe in the dust under the seat in front of him during a particularly boring con law lecture at Harvard.

Bob said...

I think much of the reason for the attack from left on this story is a simmering resentment of the attacks on Kerry's VN service in 2004 race. The net result of these attacks is greater support of McCain amongst evangelicals. That he is one of them, and they are now a persecuted minority from the media and the left. Plus it highlights the depth of McCain's suffering and fortitude to abide by the Code of Honor. And I just can't see how that's a net gain for Obama camp.

The Drill SGT said...

Ultimately Obama's folks can't "prove" the story is fiction unless McCain says he lied. Obviously that won't happen. So keep it up. It's bound to win the election for Obama. Put out ads stating that because he didnt mention it in a 1973 magazine article and did mention it being interviewed in 1997, it's a lie. Swiftboat McCain over his POW experience. go for it. You guys really have the pulse of the American people. Polling tells you to question the story?

BTW: Byron York apparently has a confirming witness. Ignore it, better yet, call all the POW's tools of the VWRC.

So I called Orson Swindle, a fellow POW who is campaigning for McCain, to ask him about it.

"I recall John telling that story when we first got together in 1971, when were talking about every conceivable thing that had ever happened to us when we were in prison" Swindle told me a few minutes ago. "Most of us had been kept apart or in small groups. Then, in 1970, they moved us into the big cell. And when we all got to see each other and talk to each other directly, instead of tapping through walls, we had 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk to each other, and we shared stories. I vaguely recall that story being told, among other stories."

"I remember it from prison," Swindle continued. "There were several stories similar to that in which guards — a very few, I might add — showed compassion to the prisoners. It was rare, and I never met one, but some of the guys did."

As for the people who are questioning McCain's account, Swindle said, "That's garbage. These people are desperate."

Doyle said...

It should be noted that the "attack" on McCain over this is really just some grumblings in the blogosphere.

There's no 527 being formed behind this.

Palladian said...

"So I called Orson Swindle, a fellow POW who is campaigning for McCain, to ask him about it."

That's a very unfortunate name...

Doyle said...

BREAKING: McCain-supporting grasstops operator backs up McCain's story!

Byron York just blew this story wide open.

garage mahal said...

Outis
I never directly questioned it. But in light of his dozens of questionable statements and embellishments, why believe him?

Richard Dolan said...

Some Dems are way too caught up in trying to get pay-back for what they regard as the unfairness of the Swifties' attack on Kerry. To that end, the "cross in the dirt" seems to be what the dimmer members of Team O are focusing on. As Ann suggests, it's a really stupid target.

What made the Swifties' ads so compelling was all of the vets who had served with Kerry attacking him, along with the fact that parts of Kerry's story were obviously not true (e.g., Christmas in Cambodia, "seered in my memory," the magic hat). Both factors are missing in here. To the extent any of the POWs who were with McCain have anything to say about him or the "cross" story, they are uniformly supportive of McC. Nor is there anything to support the idea that McCain made it up for self-promotional reasons. It's not as if he brought a super-8 camera with him to the POW camp, because he wanted to record some really good scenes for future use in a political career.

At the RNC, McCain will be introduced by a film, and his POW experience will be a major part of it. The only sensible response is the one O himself has consitently given -- we honor Sen. McCain for his selfless service and heroism under the most difficult circumstances. Now, let's get back to health care .... Unfortunately for Team O, there will be plenty of dimwits among his netroot supporters who will launch attacks like this, all to O's detriment.

Roger J. said...

OT and I don't want to reignite the SBVT thing, but here is why the cross/sand thing is not comparable: Many folks do not understand why the swift boat thing resonated with viet nam vets. It wasnt Kerry's heroism during the war; rather, it was his actions after he got out. His Winter Soldier testimony and subsequent actions tarred the whole generation of those who served in viet nam; That, in my opinion, was why the SBVT had legs and this one wont.

vbspurs said...

Obama once drew a dollar sign with his toe in the dust under the seat in front of him during a particularly boring con law lecture at Harvard.

LOL. Good ol' Palladian.

Spread Eagle said...

Reading garage mahal and doyle are all we need to know that they are indeed very much schtooopid enough to go there. And I hope they do because, hey, when you think about it, it's really the same pattern of self-imploding combination of arrogance and cluelessness long demonstrated by the Dems.

TmjUtah said...

There's quite a bit of human nature that Leftists are incapable of understanding.

Religion is right up there near the top of the list; they shoot for spirituality some times but more often as not screw that up, too, ending up with authoritarian cults aligned with whatever today's pet agenda is... vegans, greens, etc.

But just because the concept of personal religious faith is as foreign to them as is snow to the Bedouin doesn't mean they won't attempt to use it as a club in a fight.

It's like a mugger attempting to steal a nuke to use in his work, based on the information that somebody passed him in a bar.

Fun to watch, though.

Hillary has to be enjoying this.

Doyle said...

It's like a mugger attempting to steal a nuke to use in his work, based on the information that somebody passed him in a bar.

I was thinking the exact same thing!

vbspurs said...

That, in my opinion, was why the SBVT had legs and this one wont.

It had legs because Kerry was a douche.

The Swiftboating excuse gained momentum much after the 2004 election. I remember hearing it from a rabid liberal friend of mine at the time -- so I started to query all the people around me who had voted for Bush (including my mother's friends).

Without a single exception, none had heard of the Swiftboat ad, nor did they say that contributed to them not voting for Kerry.

Of course, it's a Democratic fetish that they have to find other excuses to explain a cruel political loss.

If McCain loses, the Republicans will not point to the "Dirty Cross" libels of the story* as the main reason. That would be absurd.

*Dirty Cross is my coinage!

Cheers,
Victoria

Doyle said...

Swift Boat believers are worse than 9/11 Truthers.

vbspurs said...

BREAKING -- McCain to announce VP choice on August 29th, the day after the DNC.

UWS guy said...

Negative attacks don't back fire, they just don't.

McCain--->cone of silence.
McCain--->over the top christian pandering.
next....?

More to come. Team Dem. is gonna play rough this election.

Joan said...

Negative attacks don't back fire, they just don't.

I'm sure Senator Mondale (D, MN) will back you up on this opinion.

UWS guy said...

I wouldn't call that spectacle a "negative attack ad". Unless you think McCain is dead man and Obama's dancing on his grave?

Rush Limbaugh can, every day for 3 hours, literally say that he doesn't think Obama is a christian, 3rd party GOP operatives can send emails calling Obama a manchurian muslim candidate....but if a dem. goes after McCain...well! Have you no shame??

Even Snerdly told Rush yesterday to be careful with what he was saying.

Pastafarian said...

Someone (Doyle maybe) commented that McCain "milks it (his POW experience) for all it's worth".

You know what? If someone spends several years in a POW camp being beaten, tortured, starved, threatened with death, having bones broken and never set, having their groins bayonetted and never treated, having their teeth knocked out....then they have the right to talk about that experience, should they survive, all that they want.

And he doesn't talk about it nearly enough. Not as much as I would, if I had survived such a thing.

I'm not the biggest McCain fan in the world -- he was probably my 6th or 7th choice in the original field of Republicans -- but I've gained a lot of respect for him over the course of the campaign. He's a tough little bastard, and he has a lot of class.

And why would anyone doubt the truth behind this cross-in-the-dirt story? As has been mentioned, drawing a symbol in the dirt like this has a tradition behind it, all the way back to the New Testament, with which any Christian (even a North Vietnamese Christian) would be familiar, and so it's likely that you'd see this play out multiple times, either in Russian fiction or in the jungles of Vietnam.

And of all the things to attack McCain on -- religious dissembling? Really? After Obama, clearly an atheist (not that there's anything wrong with that), attended a church for years simply for its political influence?

The hypocrisy from the left is just mind-blowing.

UWS guy said...

Sullivan is right in this regard. This election in our country could be happening in Pakistan. "so-and-so candidate is not a true believer and follower of the state religion."

McCain and Obama are both trying to out Christian the other.

Henry said...

Day dream believers are worse than Swift Boat believers.

And homecoming queens are worse than something. Doyle, help me out.

Trumpit said...

"Obama once drew a dollar sign with his toe in the dust under the seat in front of him during a particularly boring con law lecture at Harvard."

Victor Victoria and Paleface Palladium both once drew a humongous phallic symbol under the adjoining toilet at the local bowling alley restroom. It is believed that they may have stolen the idea from the 1982 Paul Lynch horror film, "Humongous." The most famous line in that movie was "It's loose... It's angry... And it's getting hungry!"
That describes both of them to a T. A coincidence? Maybe, but if you know them like I do, you would have to say that this story is just the head of the penis...er... I mean tip of the iceberg.

PatCA said...

"Why are you creating more occasions for McCain supporters to repeat those facts?"

Because they don't believe they are facts. Their world view is so fundamentally different from his, and their imagination so impoverished by our own Cultural Revolution, that they cannot envision suffering, hunger, despair or faith experienced by an American soldier; they cannot see beyond their lives of comfort and shallowness.

John McCain's story is just more WWII-type propaganda! We were just as evil as The Other Side! Just ask Obama.

Outis said...

Garage Mahal responded, "Outis
I never directly questioned it. But in light of his dozens of questionable statements and embellishments, why believe him?"


Fair enough. I just think (and apparently you do as well) that THIS particular issue is silly and pointless. Besides, as has been pointed out, it's not like McCain hasn't made other questionable claims.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

The Swiftboating excuse gained momentum much after the 2004 election. I remember hearing it from a rabid liberal friend of mine at the time -- so I started to query all the people around me who had voted for Bush (including my mother's friends).

Without a single exception, none had heard of the Swiftboat ad, nor did they say that contributed to them not voting for Kerry.


Not one of the Bush supporters you queried had even heard of the Swiftboating of Kerry? Wow, that's truly astonishing. I've always considered Bush supporters to be relatively uninformed about politics, economics, science, history and, well, pretty much any subject other than sports and television, but the results of your survey show that Bush supporters are even more poorly informed than I thought possible.

UWS guy said...

Howard Dean's reason for leaving the Episcopal church makes more sense than McCain's.

Trevor Jackson said...

"And he doesn't talk about it nearly enough. Not as much as I would, if I had survived such a thing."

But would that experience make you a good candidate for president or a good candidate for Kiwanis Club keynote speeches?

TmjUtah said...

"McCain and Obama are both trying to out Christian the other."

Hardly.

Obama is attempting to check off a demographic that can really hurt him. Since people found out that "BLT" isn't a tasty lunch menu item, he's had his work cut out for him.

He's gotten less grief for hanging with terrorists, racists, communists, and Rezko than he has for Trinity.

And his minions are picking a fight on religious grounds.

Sweet. By all means lets examine both candidates' records here. Again.

Wow. If we can get Jeremiah Wright opposite Barbararara Walters or Larry King for a solid half hour before the convention. No - wait - I've got it!

Jeremiah Wright, live, on Keith Olberman's show.

They'd have plastic sheeting covering the walls and furniture. And spray shields on the camera lenses and mics. Wow.

Now THAT would be something to see.

Of course, the DNC wouldn't even let Obama show up in Denver afterward.

Like I said, Hillary has GOT to be loving this.

vbspurs said...

Pastafarian wrote amongst other magnificent things:

He's a tough little bastard, and he has a lot of class.

Class doesn't cut it with Democrats. They have to have style! And McCain has no style. He's a Sears catalogue, to Obama's Abercrombie & Fitch website.

Being tortured in Vietnam? Even if it could be proven, it's probably exaggerated.

I mean, how hard could he have had it? He wasn't on foodstamps, for chrissakes. THAT is suffering.

ireign22 said...

The Democrats have reversed course on their 2004 talking points:

1. 2004-millitary experience matters-so much so that a Senator without any major legislative accomplishment is qualified to be President because of his three months spent in Vietnam.

2008-Millitary service over thirty years ago is not relevant. The fact that one of the candidates had to spend five years in a Vietnamese prison, while he could have left early has no relevance.

2. 2004-faith-based initiatives violate the relationship between church and state and faith is a private matter.

2008-faith-based initiatives are great just not when they are proposed by Bush and religion is great as long as we talk about aids in Africa and global warming and universal healthcare. Not so good when it comes to abortion.

3. 2004-Worst economy since Herbert Hoover.

2008-Economy was good in 2004 but now we are in the midsts of a great depression.

4. 2004-McCain is great pick for VP.

2008-George W Bush's third term.

David Walser said...

I never directly questioned it. But in light of his dozens of questionable statements and embellishments, why believe him?

"Why believe him?" is the wrong question. You don't need to believe him. The important question, and the one raised by Ann in her post, is why you would publicly question the truth of this particular story? Demanding McCain prove the truth of his claim or, worse, claiming you've proven McCain's claim false (because a similar story appears elsewhere, McCain did not tell the story in public until 1997, etc.) does nothing good for Obama and will only help McCain with most voters.

It's okay, if someone asks whether you believe the story, to say, "Ehh, sound's awfully convenient to me." It's another thing to try to make this an example of McCain's willingness to lie. The assertion that McCain made the story up cannot be proven and it only makes the person making the assertion appear small and petty. If that's the kind of person who supports Obama, many undecided voters will choose to be associated with another group.

UWS guy said...

The first thing you have to do is put the seed of doubt into the public sphere. that seed is now there. All that's left is to water it.

Nobody's talking about Obama loosing the debate now are they?

Mission Accomplished. If Obama's team is really good, they might even provoke footage of McCain "blowing his top."

So far, all I've heard is, "how dare they question blah blah blah." Reminds me of Kerry's answers and how well did that work out?

UWS guy said...

seed of doubt into the public planter box would have been a more visually consistant metaphor.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

With the POW camp story, the salient point is not whether he gave the Packers or Steelers offensive line names, it's that he didn't give them US military names ...

Well, no. The point is that he "modified" his original story about naming the Packers offensive line to pander to his Pittsburgh audience. The biggest problem with this "adaptation" is the timeline; the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line to which he referred (the Steel Curtain) wasn't formed until 1972.

Now, for those who want to float the notion that McCain at one point or another named the rosters of all NFL and AFL teams to his interrogators, you should be aware that a McCain campaign spokesman claimed that the Steelers version of the POW anecdote was a "memory lapse."

Unless McCain is very feeble-minded, it's hard for me to believe that this was a simple memory lapse. Wouldn't it be an incredible coincidence that, while in Pittsburgh, McCain would mindlessly substitute the names of Pittsburgh players for Green Bay players in his story?

In any case, the possible explanations are not appealing. Either McCain has become very feeble-minded, or more likely, he's willing to fib about his POW experiences for political gain.

ireign22 said...

As for addressing John Althouse Cohen's comments yesterday that we don't know that Biden was wrong on the partition. Of course, we do now. The partition was premised on the fact that the surge couldn't work and obviously, that is incorrect. The partition was considered a last ditch effort and was premised on that there was no alternative. That is not correct. As for Biden's comments that he, Hagel, and Lugar had another resolution, that is probably true but he still voted for the war and has since tried to have a Kerry-esque, "I voted for it, before I voted against it."

As for Biden being in the liberal wing of the Democratic party, look at his record:

1. Led the fight against Bork after initially saying he wasn't going to and pretty much prejudged Bork before the hearings (read whatever it takes).
2. Voted against Alito and Roberts.
3. Pretty much standard Democratic economic positions.
4. Voted against the first Iraq War. Pretty standard foreign policy positions among the Democratic caucus.
5. He hasn't bucked his party on a single issue with possibly the exception of partial birth abortion but like most Democrats (see Tom Carper's comments) he expected the Supreme Court to strike down the law.
6. F rating on gun control from the NRA.
7. In favor of Michigan's affirmative action policies.

Is Biden the most liberal Democrat? No. But is he a centrist? No. Unless you are in Madison, Wisconsin or Ithaca, New York.

Outis said...

Now, for those who want to float the notion that McCain at one point or another named the rosters of all NFL and AFL teams to his interrogators, you should be aware that a McCain campaign spokesman claimed that the Steelers version of the POW anecdote was a "memory lapse."

I was floating the idea as a possible explanation. Frankly I don't care about the story either way, and as I said in the post where I "floated" this idea, I assumed that McCain was simply pandering.

Simon said...

ireign22 said...
"As for Biden's comments that he, Hagel, and Lugar had another resolution, that is probably true but he still voted for the war...."

That Biden voted for the war shows uncharacteristic good sense, IMO. I imagine JAC might not see it quite that way, though!

I maintain that those who were against the war, including Obama, were wrong. It was the right thing to do, and the fact that the Bush administration fucked it up in no way changes my view that it was the right thing to do. Failure was not inevitable; failure was the consequence of sheer incompetence on the part of the administration, and it surprises me how many opponents of the administration are so willing to cut them a break on this.

vbspurs said...

The difference between the "seed of doubt" in the Swiftboat and the Dirty Cross stories is this:

According to Democrats, LOADS of people saw the Swiftboat ad on television. It directly influenced how people voted, again if Democrats are to be believed.

This is Day 1 of The Dirty Cross story on the internet.

I doubt there will be Day 5 or Day 7 let alone Week 5. It's a niche story, which we as bloggers will talk about naturally, but not Mr. and Mrs. Joe America.

The irony is that Democrats don't see that the more they say "Swiftboat" the more free advertising that was for a side which spent less than $200,000 on the spot.

Republicans do not commit those errors. Mind you, if someone really wants to talk about McCain's POW experience, have at it.

I don't think it'll have quite the same negative effect you think it will.

Doyle said...

And McCain has no style.

Au contraire!

mschaff said...

Keep up the passive aggression Obamanuts, keep it comin'!

J said...

"Either McCain has become very feeble-minded, or more likely, he's willing to fib about his POW experiences for political gain"

If confusion about details of events that occurred 30 years ago is your standard for "feeble minded", you need to deal with the fact that the next president (and every one after that, and pretty much everybody else you deal with in this life) will suffer from that condition.

I wonder how long ago O was taught how many states there are?

"Now, for those who want to float the notion that McCain at one point or another named the rosters of all NFL and AFL teams to his interrogators, you should be aware that a McCain campaign spokesman claimed that the Steelers version of the POW anecdote was a "memory lapse."

I wonder if that was just a campaign aide popping off in response to the "last week he said it was another team" argument. Giving the names of athletes was/is a standard resistance technique in interrogations, one a PR flack who's never been in the military might be unaware of. It's entirely possible - likely even - he did give the names of any team he was familiar with over the years.

Middle Class Guy said...

“A better question is: Is that the kind of attack you want to make?”


This is exactly the kind of attack that they want to make. This is nothing more than the Democrats doing to McCain what the swift boaters did to Kerry. It is revenge. I find it amusing that the Swift Boaters ;were denounced and all but burned at the stake by the Dems. Now, they are practicing the same type of politics.

It is called hypocrisy. They learned very well from the playbooks of the last two elections and have refined what they considered dirty tricks. Now they are using them against the Republicans.


Outis said...
It is a blessing for McCain that Obama and his supporters attempt to denigrate his POW experience.

They're not denigrating his POW experience. They are questioning his veracity as a politician decades after his POW experience.


Why the uproar when John Kerry’s veracity was questioned? Why the uproar when Hillary Clinton’s veracity was questioned? Hillary is the perfect example. There is no public record of her so called thirty five years of public service, yet when it was questioned, supporters went insane. I guess we are only allowed to question the veracity of Republicans. Leave the poor lying Democrats alone.

MadisonMan said...

Why say Obama supporters who are questioning the truth of the story? As far as I can tell, it's only Sullivan.

Similarly, The Corner says some in the blogosphere. What a vague statement! Name them and link so you can see who it is!

Roger J. said...

Will be interesting to see if this story makes it to the MSM. I rather doubt it, unless, of course, Andrea Mitchell gets wind of it. I am betting it will remain in the blogosphere.

gophermomeh said...

It seems they've both had religious or spiritual experiences that have given them courage. I don't doubt either. McCain was in as desperate situation as could be imaginable. Something kept him going. And for Obama, I believe his religous/spiritual grounding has given him the courage and the confidence to achieve - to run for president. It wasn't a 'tapping on the shoulder' - it's never that literal (unless your Reggie Jackson, thank goodness).

Courage gives us the chance to achieve those things we never thought possible. Both candidates fit the bill.

And if there's an aethiest running - their belief to not believe - if that's what floats their boat, who am I to say...

former law student said...

Andrew Sullivan is a loose cannon, not part of the Obama campaign, any more than National Review Online is part of the McCain campaign.

I agree bringing it up is pointless -- people still loved Reagan despite his memory lapses and remembering as true things he saw in the movies as a young man. Alzheimer's is no bar to the Presidency.

Roger J. said...

Madison Man: google "cross in the sand" for a representative sample--seems to be a pretty hot topic in the blogosphere--It was probably space limitations that caused the corner to use that particular circumlocution.

ireign22 said...

In response to Simon, I would just add that Obama's opposition wasn't so heroic. He represented the most liberal district in the Illinois Senate and he was planning to run for the US Senate with a coalition of upper-middle class north shore liberals and African-Americans (two groups that were very against the war). Democrats in 2002 tended to be more split on the war but a slight majority were against it and those against it were more likely to vote in a primary. So Obama made a decision in opposing the Iraq War in 2002 that was arguably more grounded in political realism than it was principles.

Outis said...

Middle Class Guy wrote: Why the uproar when John Kerry’s veracity was questioned? Why the uproar when Hillary Clinton’s veracity was questioned?

The same reason you are in an uproar now: People don't want their shibboleths to be exposed for what they are.

Hillary is the perfect example. There is no public record of her so called thirty five years of public service, yet when it was questioned, supporters went insane. I guess we are only allowed to question the veracity of Republicans. Leave the poor lying Democrats alone.

Given that Hillary. Kerry, etc. were questioned you can hardly claim that you haven't been allowed to do so. Man up and quit your bitchin'.

In this thread I haven't adressed the veracity of various Dem pols. It's not exactly on topic. The questions here have concerned McCain's veracity, and whether or not questioning certain aspects of that are productive lines of attack for Obama supporters or Democrats.

Besides everything else, if YOU want to question the truthfulness of other candidates then you should be prepared to have your own candidate questioned. Sauce for the goose etc. This is part and parcel of the election process.

MadisonMan said...

Roger J: Certainly someone must have initiated the discussion. And they told two friends. And they told two friends. And so on and so on. Why can't the Corner tell us who the initiator was? It's hard to tell in the echo chamber. Now it's just people talking about other people talking about it.

Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books.

Dirty books!

Chaucer!
Rabelais!
Balzac!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Giving the names of athletes was/is a standard resistance technique in interrogations, one a PR flack who's never been in the military might be unaware of. It's entirely possible - likely even - he did give the names of any team he was familiar with over the years.

The problem with this theory is that the Steelers defensive line to which McCain referred was formed in 1972. Therefore it's simply not possible that McCain could have given the names of the "Steel Curtain" to his interrogators. In other words, he either had a very suprising and serious memory lapse about an intense experience in his life (about which he's subsequently written and spoken on numerous occasions) OR he "modified" his story to pander to his audience.

As I noted previously, it would be a truly remarkable coincidence if, on the occasion of a visit to Pittsburgh, he had a memory lapse that caused him to confuse the Green Bay Packers offensive line of the sixties with the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line of the seventies. A far more reasonable explanation is that McCain was willing to fib about his POW experiences for political purposes.

Trevor Jackson said...

The fact is McCain has a pattern for bringing up his POW status in ham-handed ways that force him to lie.

A benign question about favorite songs and he responds with another distortion: "I've got to say that a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane and never caught up again."

Except the song he cites wasn't released until after he was released.

For someone who is noted for his unwillingness to talk about being a POW, he seems to bring it up all the time. It would be nice if he could do it and be honest.

Personally, I don't care if he's lying about the cross in the dirt story, but those who are questioning it certainly have a lot of precedent for doubt.

Maguro said...

I don't think McCain actually referred to the "Steel Curtain" or any specific players in recounting the story, just that he gave his interrogators the names of the Steelers defensive line.

The reason it's considered implausible is that the Steelers stunk when McCain was captured, unlike the more famous Packers. Still, one supposes it's possible that Maverick was enough of a football buff to give the NVA names like Ernie Stautner and Big Daddy Lipscomb as his wingmates.

Original Mike said...

Doyle: how do you go about investigating this story?

We could waterboard him.

The Drill SGT said...

The problem with this theory is that the Steelers defensive line to which McCain referred was formed in 1972. Therefore it's simply not possible that McCain could have given the names of the "Steel Curtain" to his interrogators.

Cyrus, I take no position on his NFL pandering other than to point out:

1. It is possible he was spouting off names, most any NFL names, and remembers them variously depending on the circumstances.

2. as for the "Steel Curtain" not being in existence at that point in time? Folks today speak of both the orginal Redskin "Hogs", their offensive line in the early 80's and also in general to describe all Redskins offensive lines past and present.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

[McCain's] a tough little bastard, and he has a lot of class.

If McCain had class he would not have told his "joke" about Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno. That joke wasn't simply a case of poor judgment--it's an example of a man who doesn't fully understand what constitutes decent behavior.

It's possible that McCain is tough. It's certainly true that he's little. But there's a fair bit of evidence that refutes the claim that "he has a lot of class." It's a particularly stupid claim for a McCain supporter to make, particularly since it encourages McCain opponents to recite the many less than classy things that he's done.

Revenant said...

McCain--->cone of silence.
McCain--->over the top christian pandering.
next....? More to come. Team Dem. is gonna play rough this election.

Crack suicide squad: commit suicide!

Original Mike said...

Dan Riehl answers Ann's question:

Sorry, but are you people f~&/ing insane? Do you not have any sense of what country you actually live in today? Do you really not understand why America has rejected your presidential candidates at the ballot box in so many elections over these last forty or so years?

If this is how you intend to present yourself and your arguments from now until Fall, I'd suggest you prepare to lose once again. Turning any good American's stomach with your pathetic, distasteful and ultimately bat crap crazy tactics just ain't no way to win friends, or secure votes.


http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2008/08/i-honestly-cant.html

AlphaLiberal said...

IOKIYAR
"It's OK if you are a Republican."

When we're talking about McCain's stories, all of a sudden it just doesn't matter if they're true or not. Opposite rules apply for Democrats. (If McCain was a Dem this story would be in heavy rotation on cable news).

So, McCain's character is not, and cannot, be at issue. After all, he was a POW, so we must all withhold criticism! Who cares if he cheated on the Saddleback forum? That's OK! He has the POW shield against all criticism!

I don't buy it and a lot of people don't buy it. The would-be-Emperor has no clothes and routinely and casually lies. And we're going to call him on it. Long gone is the McCain of 2000, replaced by a cynical flip-flopper.

McCain is using his POW experience as a pretext to run for office but he and his supporters demand that it's off-limits for discussion. Sorry, not so. Either you stop using it as a reason to elect McCain or we get to talk about it.

(And a look at posts up today shows Althouse's supposed "cruel neutrality" is a dishonest joke.)

Fen said...

Doyle: Swift Boat believers are worse than 9/11 Truthers.

Doyle, even Kerry admitted he lied about being in Cambodia

rhhardin said...

The symbology of the church has always made zero sense to me. I put it down to some mixup in the handing down of traditions long ago.

I'm similarly baffled by anybody who cares about it.

I can see caring about a lot of things, but not that.

Original Mike said...

McCain is using his POW experience as a pretext to run for office...

Earth to AL. McCain's been in Congress for 26 years.

Der Hahn said...

Either you stop using it as a reason to elect McCain or we get to talk about it.

Work on your reading comprehension. I count at least six pro-McCain comments explictly begging you dimbulbs to keep on yammering about the subject.

AlphaLiberal said...

And the hypocrisy on this subject from Republicans has an overwhelming stench.

They smeared John Kerry's and military service and ran down Bob Cleland as an accomplice to Osama bin Laden.

But John McCain's service may not be discussed in the context of a Presidential campaign!

And, I'll add, all the blog posts I've read to date on McCain's new "cross-in-the-sand" story qualify that they don't know if it's true or not, but that it's questionable.

Nothing close to the attacks on combat veterans John Kerry and Bob Cleland.

Hypocrites.

J said...

"The problem with this theory is that the Steelers defensive line to which McCain referred was formed in 1972"

OK Cyrus, you win. McCain can't remember the EXACT roster of the team whose names he spelled out for the NVA while being tortured 30 years ago, and got it confused with a subsequent roster. That irrefutably demonstrates that he's a liar. I'll vote for Obama now.

AlphaLiberal said...

"Earth to AL. McCain's been in Congress for 26 years."

Yes, and he's been using his POW experience as a reason to grant him political power the whole time.

And his campaign is running commercials on it, McCain keeps mentioning it, and his campaign says it's why he cannot be criticized:
"Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, said on Sunday night that Mr. McCain had not heard the broadcast of the event while in his motorcade and heard none of the questions.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said."

Althouse wingers take note: You're supposed to play victim and whine that your candidate is not tough enough to take criticism. After all, he was a POW! So no questions!

The McCain camp seems to believe we should bypass all this democracy stuff and proceed straight to coronation, er, inauguration.

Simon said...

Trevor, you're really reaching in citing McCain's fondness for Abba -- apalling taste in music though it may be (who am I to say given my own favorite song, however) -- as an example of him "bringing up his POW status in ham-handed ways that force him to lie." Yes, he cites a song that postdates his release, but where's the contradiction? What he said was that "a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane and never caught up again," not that he doesn't like anything made after his release.

Doyle said...

Simon -

Regardless of whether he was being entirely truthful, is it your contention there's nothing at all ridiculous about his citing his POW captivity in the course of answering a question about his musical tastes?

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

Simon- never link to song on an Althouse comment- that's grounds for erasure.

Alpha et al.: you're the ones whining about the dirty cross. And maybe Kerry's service would not have even have been questioned had he not prostituted himself before the Senate to get into Jane Fonda's pants. BTW- keep whining.

"The McCain camp seems to believe we should bypass all this democracy stuff and proceed straight to coronation, er, inauguration."

The Obama camp seems to believe we should proceed directly to recognition of what's best for us, followed by submission.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Who cares.

I'm more interested in this McCain quote from 1973. When asked about his captors McCain said:

"Now I don't hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings."

WTF?!

kynefski said...

I don't know what you'd talk about, but I'd recommend David Frum just because the two of you are the masters of the format

UWS guy said...

When your political opponents go out of their way to tell you your attacks are pointless and your only hurting yourself, somehow...I don't think you should take those words of advice at face value...

kynefski said...

Sorry about that. I was working with a password utility, and it decided to restore a comment from another thread.

I'm with former law student. I haven't seen mention of this anywhere but The Dish, where it seems an obsession of AS and a few of his readers.

Consequently, I don't understand the intent of the original question if it isn't to disgrace "Obama supporters" by association.

vbspurs said...

WTF?!

ZPS, you never read Lawrence of Arabia's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"?

Taking on Arab costume himself, he began to work with Feisal to launch a fullscale revolt of the tribes. In 1916 he was captured subjected to beatings and homosexual rape by the Turkish governor of Deraa, ''an ardent paederast'' (Lawrence's own term). Though he escaped, Lawrence was shattered by the experience. ''I gave away the only possession we are born into the world with - our bodily integrity,'' he later wrote.

Prison tales are chock-full of accounts of homosexual advances, but whereas in modern times we concentrate on inmate-to-inmate, throughout history it was usually from guard to prisoner.

Besides, where else would we get all those really hot lesbians-in-prison movies, like "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS"?

Cheers,
Victoria

AlphaLiberal said...

A big part of the McCain campaign is to coat him in a thick layer of teflon. He may not be criticized because he is a POW.

We're all supposed to genuflect and say he's an honorable and great man even when his campaign is scurrilous, scuzzy and lying.

Of course the McCain camp wants us all chanting how great he is (while they accuse Obama of treason). It's a sure way to help McCain win.

Let's also remember that, back in the 2000 Republican primary, the Bush backers were accusing McCain of giving secrets to the enemy and betraying his fellow POWs. Nary a peep from Republicans about that!

chickenlittle said...

ZPS said: "I'm more interested in this McCain quote from 1973..."

Given your perverse curiousity, I'm not surprised.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Regardless of whether he was being entirely truthful, is it your contention there's nothing at all ridiculous about his citing his POW captivity in the course of answering a question about his musical tastes?"

No. My contention is that it isn't an example of him "bringing up his POW status in [a] ham-handed way[] that force[s] him to lie" which is what Trevor sought to make it an example of.

Chickenlittle - nicely done. :p

ireign22 said...

Alpha liberal, stop spreading an urban myth. Max Cleland's patriotism was not questioned.

See liberal Michael Crowley's article in Slate. http://slate.msn.com/id/2098171/

"In the popular liberal mythology, the ad disgustingly questioned Cleland's patriotism. "To this day I am motivated by—and I will be throughout this campaign—the most craven moment I've ever seen in politics, when the Republican Party challenged this man's patriotism in the last campaign," John Kerry has said.

But that's not what happened. The ad, though sleazy in its use of Osama and Saddam, didn't question Cleland's patriotism. It questioned his political courage and judgment. It focused narrowly on his behavior in office and his actual votes against the Homeland Security Department. With images of Bin Laden and Saddam flashing onscreen, a narrator declared that, "As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead." The ad then listed Cleland's votes against the Homeland Security Department and said he was stalling "the president's vital homeland security efforts." It concluded: "Max Cleland says he has the courage to lead, but the record proves Max Cleland is just misleading.""

Simon said...

AlphaLiberal said...
"A big part of the McCain campaign is to coat him in a thick layer of teflon. He may not be criticized because he is a POW."

As opposed to the Obama campaign where the whole ball game is to coat him in a thick layer of teflon by claiming that any criticism of him is overt or thinly-veiled racism?

Simon said...

Zach, I know I'm going to regret this, but what, exactly, do you find objectionable in what McCain said (I'm going to assume you've read the full article, and I assure you I have)?

chickenlittle said...

alpha lib said:
"He may not be criticized because he is a POW."

Says who? McCain is critisized plenty, and having been a POW doesn't protect him, nor should it.

"We're all supposed to genuflect"

We don't genuflect in this country

Do you hear chanting? The only people I heard chanting were at early Obama rallies.

"Nary a peep from Republicans about that!"

I'm working on my crow (do I still peep?)

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trevor Jackson said...

"Yes, he cites a song that postdates his release, but where's the contradiction?"

Simon, I'll concede that that McCain likes plenty of music made after his release, if you'll concede that McCain is exploiting his POW status in this response.

ricpic said...

The symbology of the church has always made zero sense to me.

Unworthy of you, rh. The cross is the most powerful symbol ever marshaled by an institution to propagate its ethos. And one doesn't have to be a believer to see that.

AlphaLiberal said...

And, to Ann's original post:

- Near as I can tell, only Byron York called the cross story "pivotal." Salter is reacting to a
strawman York constructed. That's not the point of these critiques of McCain's new invention.

Althouse doesn't even bother to link to any leftie bloggers (Sully is not) making this point, but to caricatures of their arguments! Did she even bother to read the people she's attacking? Or does she think the NRO accurately represents liberal arguments? (Really, this is a dishonest approach).

- Mark Salter has been a McCain loyalist for decades and has written books for McCain. He is hardly someone to referee the dispute.

Yeesh!

Richard Dolan said...

McCain often says that he's the luckiest man alive. And his luck is still holding -- the proof is that so many, even here, want to attack McCain's conduct as a POW, or the details of what happened to him. He can only hope that there will be lots of folks making the same kinds of attacks you can see in this string.

I think McC is likely to win in all events. But attacking him for anything having to do with his POW days, or as "scuzzy" and "a liar" and the like, is probably the best way to get him to a 40-state sweep. He can only hope that the Dems keep it up. I'm pretty sure they will, especially as O continues not to take off in the polls.

chickenlittle said...

Althouse: please don't bother to link to any leftie bloggers (Sully us not).

AlphaLiberal said...

Turns out the oft-repeated story about Solzenitsyn's gulag guard drawing a cross in the dirt is made up by Watergate felon Chuck Colson and often repeated and, now, copied.

TPM has the details.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Regardless of whether he was being entirely truthful, is it your contention there's nothing at all ridiculous about his citing his POW captivity in the course of answering a question about his musical tastes?"


Not really. To bring up the single most life shattering, altering experience that happened in the past to explain your status currently isn't that unusual.

If you had been a coma and missed 5years of your life and 5 years of significant cultural experiences and societal changes between 1967 and 1973, you might want to explain the large gap in your cultural references by mentioning that you were in a coma. Your brain injury wouldn't give you a pass on being a dick, but it could explain some things.

chickenlittle said...

"TPM has the details"

Yawn, super fucking yawn

Palladian said...

"Zach, I know I'm going to regret this, but what, exactly, do you find objectionable in what McCain said (I'm going to assume you've read the full article, and I assure you I have)?"

He wishes it had been him.

Apparently Zach didn't, despite his stated intentions, get laid the other nights.

ricpic said...

It was a hammer & sickle that Obama drew in the dirt.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Zach, I know I'm going to regret this, but what, exactly, do you find objectionable in what McCain said

It's not objectionable...it just struck me as completely bizarre.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

It is possible he was spouting off names, most any NFL names, and remembers them variously depending on the circumstances.

I suppose it's possible that he named the great roller derby stars of the era too, but it's not consistent with the version of the story he's told previously. But more to the point, a McCain campaign spokesman has stated that McCain had a "memory lapse" when he claimed to have named the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line. Presumably, then, he didn't name them, but rather named the Packers offensive line, consistent with version 1.0 of the story.

Again, this leaves us with a couple of unsavory explanations:

1. McCain is so feeble-minded he can't remember the details of personally important, frequently recited stories about his experiences as a POW, or

2. McCain is willing to fib about his experiences as a POW for political purposes.

IMO, explanation 2 is more likely.

Fen said...

exploiting his POW status


Priceless. Hero's should sit and shut up, lest they "exploit" their status for personal gain.

Fen said...

Cyrus: The problem with this theory is that the Steelers defensive line -

[snicker] This is good. Someone pass the popcorn please.

TMink said...

AlphaLib wrote: "A big part of the McCain campaign is to coat him in a thick layer of teflon. He may not be criticized because he is a POW."

We must listen to different radio stations dude! Rush, Hannity, and my local conservative talk radio guys are ALL OVER McCAIN every day! No teflon for him, there would be none left even if they tried to coat him, the other candidate has stockpiled it!

Trey (who is still voting for Alan Keyes)

Trevor Jackson said...

Fen, I never said he shouldn't talk about it. I'm impressed with the courage and toughness he showed. Forty years ago.

I don't think it does his story any favors if he cheapens it by bringing it up in response to a puffball question like "what's your favorite song."

I also don't think it has much relevance on whether he'd make a good president, but I repeat myself.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

OK Cyrus, you win. McCain can't remember the EXACT roster of the team whose names he spelled out for the NVA while being tortured 30 years ago, and got it confused with a subsequent roster. That irrefutably demonstrates that he's a liar. I'll vote for Obama now.

j, I think you're being a bit obtuse. This isn't a question of McCain being unable to remember the exact names. The fact is that McCain traveled to Pittsburgh and coincidentally substituted the names of the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line for the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line. If you believe the official McCain campaign excuse for this incident--that McCain had a memory lapse--then this just happens to be a truly remarkable, politically convenient memory lapse.

For the less gullible, this appears to be a case of McCain fibbing about his POW experiences for political purposes. Since I'm not surprised when politicians lie, and since McCain has been caught fibbing before, I don't expect this incident to change anyone's vote. Nevertheless, it's pretty clear that McCain is willing to fib about his POW experiences.

Chip Ahoy said...

These automatic door shutters were designed for brutes. I need something heavier than this meter high cement Egyptian cat to keep open the door. I look forward to your new book, How We Forfeited Yet Another American Presidency After Boring the Living Piss Out of American Citizens Through a Full Year of Campaigning, By Our Own Irrepressible Meanness, Loathing, and Cultured Steaming Hatred, which I expect will be quite heavy as there is so much material, not to read, of course, but to use as a doorstop.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Hero's should sit and shut up, lest they "exploit" their status for personal gain.

Speaking of priceless...

Fen, you should quit while you're ahead, which in most every thread is before your first post.

Synova said...

There are a lot of stories like the cross in the dirt story and I've certainly heard them about Vietnam. Occasionally it involved converting all the guards.

It's not at all hard to believe that one person might give another person a little hope, or even just a secret apology, by showing a sign. Or that it happened more than once, in different situations, to different people beginning with guards working in the pens below the coliseum in Rome and going on from there.

As someone mentioned... that was the origin of the fish symbol. (And why Darwin fish are about as insulting as doing something anti-Jew with the star of David.)

Do Jews have secret sign stories? I'll bet they do. And for the same reasons.

And yes, making a big deal of questioning McCain's "cross in the dirt" story is pretty stupid. After all, McCain doesn't have to keep bringing up his POW status when he can do it once and have Obama supporters take the ball and run with it.

And it shows badly on them... as I believe it did not help the cause at all to go on and on about Kerry's various martial misremembrances. Memory doesn't work that way, all nice and ordered and sorted, when people are in super stressful situations.

It was stupid for Kerry not to release his military records, but it was also stupid to go on about how he couldn't have been in Cambodia at Christmas because he said Nixon was president when he couldn't have been. Memory doesn't work that way.

And in the end it gave all those decrying the swiftboat "lies" something to focus on OTHER THAN the completely undisputed actions of John Kerry when he returned home.

The Dems now might make excuses about how those "lies" about his service cost Kerry the election, only it never was the "lies" that did that. It was the truths... all that throwing away ribbons and ghengis khan and Paris and winter soldier stuff... and then wanting to claim those four months in Vietnam for hero status and experience what he'd so publicly rejected before.

That Obama supporters misunderstand what did Kerry in isn't surprising. If they try to do the same to McCain it's going to backfire. After all, Christians aren't holding an open wound involving McCain as Vietnam vets still had over the anti-war movement and Kerry.

AlphaLiberal said...

"We must listen to different radio stations dude! "

Wouldn't be surprised. I avoid those guys but wonder which McCain they criticize? 2000 McCain? 2008 McCain?

And, several people seem to miss my point on the POW status. McCain uses it as a qualification to be President and his campaign openly states (link and quote above) that he should not be criticized because of his POW experience.

Not so long ago combat veteran and former Allied Forces Cmdr Wes Clark was savaged for daring to say that McCain's POW experience is not a qualification to be President.

That's the teflon I refer to.

And the scuzz? It also rises. Really, oozes from the McCain campaign. But we'll get back to that.

Cedarford said...

vbspurs -

After all, its storyline is a juncture of at least 4 topics Liberals find uncomfortable:

1- Vietnam
2- The military
3- Religion
4- Republican politician


Great observation about how the Cross in the Dirt story has been picked up and resonates so with much of the non-Elite electorate.

I'd add 3 other things that the story brings up that are hard-hitting and make Dems uncomfortable:

A. Covenent. McCain and the christian guard formed a private convenent of faith that they both kept secret. To christians, the covenent and ensuing trust & bond between believers is considered a central virtue.

B. It also reflects on honor. It was yet another chance for McCain to betray his code and secrets he kept from the Communists for temporary advantage just for himself at the expense of his people. But he didn't.

America has a large number of white ethnics and minorities that deeply believe in people that don't betray others to the mosre powerful for personal gain. And scorn those that do.
McCain kept his honor, his code. They can understand that. And maybe see Obama in a similar situation whirring his mental gears - "What's in it for me if I sell someone out and throw them under the bus???"

C. Most importantly, it offers up a parable illustrating the dramatic distinctions between Traditional definitions of patriotism, and the Democratic Lefts meme that "Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism."

1. McCain the traditionalist patriot who is a symbol of the voters belief that risking all to serve one's nation, paying the physical and mental price in combat, captivity, and lifetime crippling wounds - and not regretting that service to nation ranks higher than a coed safely marching with her little "End this Racist War for Big Oil" poster.
(Or a professional "dissenter" out to bitch, organize, and sue to redistribute other peoples money to "his" people on Chicago's South Side as his version of "national service and patriotic dissent".)

2. A reminder that most people consider meaningful acts of patriotism those that entail risk, bravery, and personal sacrifice to serve the collective need of the nation. Not simply hanging up the Flag on the 4th in a safe neighborhood where every other neighbor is doing so, but also not simply saying that giving money to noble progressive causes is a meaningful act of patriotism.

3. The guard is a symbol of the real dissident that the left hijacks in claiming their protests and lawsuits conducted in a setting of safety and freedom from any consequences is "equally as noble", as.
Brave dissidents know and face repercussions anyways for expressing differing beliefs and opinions because they feel those beliefs are important enough that it is right to face those dangers.

The guard risked the Gulags, even death if his actions were revealed. Quite a difference from the fearless females of Code Pink getting arrested for smearing blood on a military recruiters office - then being bailed in hours, and subsequently lionized and applauded at a luncheon held days later by wealthy Leftist elites - for their "patriotic dissent".

====================
Yep, while I think McCain, the only POW from the tens thousands of WWII and later who attained high office "milks" his POW time to much as a stand-in for his legitimacy as a politician and even his policies.....It is stupid for Democrats to challenge him on it. It is also stupid to equate McCain's service to Kerry's and try a reverse Swiftboating quid pro quo for Kerry getting trashed for his action in Vietnam and after. Because they are very different situations.

McCain kept his code, then getting stateside, started PT with excruciating pain as scar tissue and ligaments were torn in sessions so his knee would bend enough to fit in a cockpit and his left arm regained enough motion so he could return to duty flight status as a fighter pilot. Which he did.

Besides his dubious medals and early ticket out of Vietnam, and his Christmas in Cambodia story...the written and taped record of John Kerry AFTER he was out of Vietnam is undeniable. TV tapes and the Congressional Record in 1971 caught his full testimony as he denounced America, his fellow soldiers. Same documented records exist of his public rallies still wearing his uniform denouncing soldiers and country. State Dept records and the minutes kept by Viet Cong and N Vietnamese diplomats document Kerry's meeting with the enemy in Paris to discuss tactics and ideas while still a reservist officer.

No, if I was an acolyte of the Obamessiah - I'd leave Vietnam, patriotism off the menu of McCain attack possibilities....

chickenlittle said...

vbspurs said: "*Dirty Cross is my coinage!"

Might I suggest "Sullied Cross" as well? ;)

Chip Ahoy said...

TPM. Ha ha ha ha ha. Almost tricked me. What a maroon. Good thing I copy/past address. Prevents loon-linkages.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is weird, but when I first heard that story about the cross in the dirt I misunderstood it. I thought the guard was taunting the prisoner with their own religion, as in, "how can your religion help you now?" kind of way. I didn't think someone could take comfort from a symbol scratched in the dirt by an enemy. The discussion of it changed my thinking.

Richard said...

"And it is interesting that there's a 'cross in the dirt' story in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 'The Gulag Archipelago.' So did McCain lift the story from Solzhenitsyn?"

That story never appeared in The Gulag or any other published work by Solzhenitsyn.

Chip Ahoy said...

Having your values formed during the Viet Nam war must be as distorting a thing as having them formed during the depression.

That is my philosophical observation for the day and concludes my hit and runs for now. I must now go out and score a lime for the hummus I'm making. I just discovered, if you cook the dried garbanzo beans first, the texture comes out a lot more pleasantly smooth. I never realized cooked garbanzo beans could taste so yummy all by themselves. This can be done rapidly in a pressure cooker. I recommend it.

Middle Class Guy said...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...
2. McCain is willing to fib about his experiences as a POW for political purposes.


And Hillary Clinton dodged bullets in the Balkans.

Skyler said...

Our hostess Ann wrote:


And it is interesting that there's a "cross in the dirt" story in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago."


http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/solzhenitsyn_biographer_crossi.php

Solzhenitsyn never wrote any such thing. Others may have claimed he did, but he didn't.

Point number 2. I'm always amazed that so many people react so often to things this Sullivan guy writes. Who cares? Who is he? He really isn't very important at all. He hasn't predicted anything well, he doesn't explain things well, he doesn't give interesting insight. Why do people pay any attention to him at all? I'm sure he's not a complete idiot, but he is certainly not a fountain of wisdom.

Doyle said...

Shorter Cedarford:

McCain is awesome and John Kerry was a traitor so Obama better watch himself.

Trevor Jackson said...

So, does anyone want to answer my (and AlphaLiberal's) question about how being a POW makes you qualified to be president?

Because this Vietnam POW doesn't think being a POW does qualify you.

I'll wait to see whether Phillip Butler's reputation survives his honesty.

Roger J. said...

Thats a silly question--more of a strawman than anything else. Being a POW certainly does not qualify you to be president. In my opinion there is no job that qualifies you to be president because the job is unique. GHW Bush probably had one of the strongest resumes of any recent president and look how that turned out.

The candidate's experience is far less important than the candidate's character traits and communication skills. The POW thing gives some insight into McCain's character when under stress, but thats about it. His 20 something years in Congress provide other insights; but the POW thing is pretty far down on the list.

Roger J. said...

Alpha mentioned the sad story of wes clark who is now persona non grata with Obama--that's the whole point, alpha, that the far left doesnt seem to get. Wes Clark and I clearly agree on that point, but I am smart enough not to say it on meet the press and keep it as a personal opinion. It isnt important whether or not its true; the public thinks its important and thats all that matters. When the far left learns to see the picture thru the lenses of the center it is much more likely to accomplish some of its objectives. Fortunately for the country the far left are doctrinaire idiots.

daredevil-66 said...

Oh jebus, this is as bad as the "Bush AWOL at TANG" story. Even if the tendentious point were proven, WTF does it matter? McCain suffered horribly at the hands of his NVA captors. Whether he drew a cross with a bloody stump or a foot or a wingtip shoes, does it change the narrative of his story?
And those that toss are the word "lying" to describe misremembering events of 30 years ago are probably the same ones given the clintons a pass during the 90's. Idjits.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was talking to a film director about this, and he said, "Of course they used a stick in the ad! As a director you'd be an idiot to have a foot in the frame. Ridiculous! It would look stupid. Of course you change it to a stick."

Thought it was an interesting perspective on why the ad would use a stick instead of a foot.

Middle Class Guy said...

Doyle said...
Shorter Cedarford:

McCain is awesome and John Kerry was a traitor so Obama better watch himself.

You left out perjurer. John Kerry committed perjury too.

Synova said...

You mischaracterize what Wes Clark said. IIRC it was more to the tune of (and accompanying tin ear) that Wes Clark, unlike McCain, had command/decision making experience... reducing McCain's military service to nothing but his time in prison. If Wes Clark opens his mouth he's primarily talking about Wes Clark.

Yet when it comes to command experience, Obama can't even make up his mind about his own moral opinions.

garage mahal said...

Same documented records exist of his public rallies still wearing his uniform denouncing soldiers and country. State Dept records and the minutes kept by Viet Cong and N Vietnamese diplomats document Kerry's meeting with the enemy in Paris to discuss tactics and ideas while still a reservist officer.

Ask McCain why he's went out of his way to keep his POW files secret and not accessible to the public by showing up in committee hearings badgering witnesses and calling them criminal scum - meanwhile he visited in Hanoi pleading with them to do the same and keep all records sealed. Such talk is forbidden! And why is collaborating with the enemy show his "strength under duress" is what I don't get. What do you call not collaborating with the enemy?

Middle Class Guy said...

Trevor Jackson said...
So, does anyone want to answer my (and AlphaLiberal's) question about how being a POW makes you qualified to be president?



How does being a community organizer, an untenured law instructor, a back bencher State Legislator, and a Senator who ran for President from day one qualify Barak Obama to be the POTUS?

Roger J. said...

Garage--exactly what "POW files" are you referring to? Do you mean there are POW files separate from McCain's military files? Files held by the North Vietnamese?
I havent heard this story at all--sounds a bit moonbattish, but I will listen.

Synova said...

Interesting.... the POW won't vote for McCain because HE DISAGREES WITH HIS POLITICS.

Oh. My. God.

Is this some sort of freaky identity politics black hole where concurrent identity (female, black, POW, Polish, lesbian, whatevertheheck else) must somehow determine alliances and political thought?

I guess that's why the Dems so psychotically thought that Kerry having been in Vietnam would get him the military and hawk vote.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Middle Class Guy wrote:

And Hillary Clinton dodged bullets in the Balkans.

MCG, indeed. As I posted earlier, I'm not surprised at all when politicians lie. Are you? If not, why do you think any of the bloggers here feel compelled to make excuses for McCain's apparent willingness to fib about his POW experience?

Seven Machos said...

Garage --

A. You are embellishing at best.

B. Thank God Obama is being so open and forthright with all of his records. His candor is remarkable.

Middle Class Guy said...

Cyrus,
I am a firm believer in the axiom that the way you tell a politician is lying is to watch his lips move.

Of course I live and used to work for the City of Chicago, whose only industry is politics. It is a land of crooks, thieves, pirates, skalliwags, rapscallions, and elected officials who would sell their mothers to a seraglio to get a leg up. It is located in charming Crook county; whose government is very similar. Oh, and we only have a one party system here- just like the old USSR. DEMOCRATS!

garage mahal said...

Roger
See here. Pentagon files. Also here for good measure.

Seven Machos said...

How is what the left is trying to do with this not "swiftboating"? And here I thought "swiftboating" was evil and wrong, beyond the pale.

The best part is, it's sinfully stupid. Yeah, dudes, don't talk about the economy. Fling McCain into that briar patch.

Skyler said...

Trevor,

Being a POW does not qualify anyone for anything.

But, once a POW, then one's actions during that time can certainly be indicative of character.

And there are only two requirements to be qualified for president; one's age and citizenship. Everything else is just a matter of your own opinion as to whether you vote for him or not.

Seven Machos said...

Skyler -- Absolutely. And when Obama loses, it won't be because he is ridiculously under-qualified for the job. It will be because all Americans except for a few enlightened ones are bigots and racists.

ricpic said...

...all Americans except for a few enlightened ones are bigots and racists.

To the best of my knowledge only Victoria is totally enlightened. That would make you, Seven, along with the rest of us benighted scum, at least partially bigoted and racist.

Seven Machos said...

No question, Ric, because I am not voting for Obama.

Ralph said...

No one pointed out that Althouse (intentionally?) flubbed the famous Brock quote about Anita Hill, "a little bit nutty." It's too bad, with a name like that, she couldn't call O. Hatch a little bit slutty.

Seven Machos said...

Here's something interesting. I was in college during the Anita Hill saga, studying abroad, and still nominally a goofball liberal. This was before the Internets really took off, of course, and I had no knowledge of the whole brouhaha.

When I got back, and I was informed about it, I was sort of underwhelmed. How could people have made such a huge deal out of any of that?

Anyway, it's interesting to me because I was truly a disinterested observer and that was my reaction. Also, I never got into Nirvana because they were nowhere when I left and everywhere when I returned. I was underwhelmed by them, too.

Host with the Most said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Host with the Most said...

I attended the funeral last month of a high school friend who, sadly, had spent his late 20's - early 30's in prison for drug sales. He "got religion (for you Christian-phobics)" the last year in prison, but still had a really rough go of it. A couple of months before his release, he said he returned from breakfast one morning and found a cross drawn in magic marker on the wall over the head of his bed. He knew which guard had placed it there, and that encouraged him that he was being looked out for those last months before he got out.

He told us that story sometime in the 90's.

Funny how my friend never seemed like the type to read Solzhenitsyn.


If you have to make a deal over veracity of the cross story, you really have too many mental problems to deal with. You should seek medical help. Seriously. You're somewhat mentally retarded for grasping at such a minuscule straw to throw out and try and discredit someone you would, in this case, never truly consider supporting anyway. My brother, a Clinical Psychologist, tells me this is a transference technique - you don't like someone (in this case, for a shaky or undefined reason), and in order for you to hold on to that dislike and not have your conscience bother you it becomes necessary for you to apply whatever you can possibly grab. In this hullabaloo, it's because you are so afraid of giving them power (the Presidency, in this case) that you'll grab at a story that is impossible to verify.

Poor mentally challenged you.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

And those that toss are the word "lying" to describe misremembering events of 30 years ago are probably the same ones given the clintons a pass during the 90's. Idjits.

IMO, anyone who buys into the notion that McCain had a "memory lapse" while in Pittsburgh describing the importance of the Pittsburgh Steeler defensive line relative to his POW experience is either gullible or a partisan hack.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

How is what the left is trying to do with this not "swiftboating"?

I'm not aware of any actions by "the left" with regard to this story. So far it seems to be limited to some mindless babbling by some mindless commenters on blogs. Therefore, unless you have some examples of significant, concrete action by "the left" regarding this story, I think you have an answer to your question.

jeff said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain

"He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.[30][31] McCain fractured both arms and a leg, and then nearly drowned, when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi.[30] After he regained consciousness, a crowd attacked him, crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt, and bayoneted him.[30] Lieutenant Commander McCain was then transported to Hanoi's main Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton".[31]

Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, instead beating and interrogating him to get information, and he was given medical care only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral.[33] His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of major newspapers.[34][35]

McCain spent six weeks in the hospital while receiving marginal care.[30] Now having lost 50 pounds (23 kg), in a chest cast, and with his hair turned white,[30] McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi[36] in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week.[37] In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years.[38]

In mid–1968, McCain's father was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and McCain was offered early release.[39] The North Vietnamese made that offer because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purposes,[40] and also wanted to show other POWs that elites like McCain were willing to be treated preferentially.[39] McCain turned down the offer of repatriation; he would only accept the offer if every man taken in before him was released as well.[30]

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.[41] He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[30][41] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, which was stopped by guards.[30] After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession".[30] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he would later write, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."[42][43] His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[44] He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[45] Other American POWs were similarly tortured and maltreated in order to extract "confessions" and propaganda statements.[46]

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[47] From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[48] while McCain continued to be an active resister against the camp authorities.[49] McCain and other prisoners cheered the B-52 Stratofortress-led U.S. "Christmas Bombing" campaign of December 1972, which they viewed as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[43][50]

Altogether, McCain was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was finally released from captivity on March 14, 1973.[51]"


Yes, I can see where you might get traction from the starting lineup of football team dispute. Clearly someone who went through an ordeal like that should know to stfu about it and only refer to experiences that are documented and have signed statements from witnesses. This is really a winning strategy.

I would think there must be many things your side disagrees with McCain on and you would make your run based on those, but if you feel attacking his years of captivity is the way to go.....You stay classy, democratic party.

Zeb Quinn said...

The only equivalency I see in debunking Anita Hill and debunking John McCain is, oddly, the only ones who believed Hill were very largely the same partisans who disbelieve McCain.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

My brother, a Clinical Psychologist, tells me this is a transference technique - you don't like someone (in this case, for a shaky or undefined reason), and in order for you to hold on to that dislike and not have your conscience bother you it becomes necessary for you to apply whatever you can possibly grab.

Wow. Either your brother is the world's worst clinical psychologist or you seriously misunderstood his explanation. In the future, perhaps you should demand explanations that come with pictures.

Hoosier Daddy said...

A big part of the Obama campaign is to coat him in a thick layer of teflon. He may not be criticized because he is a black and to do so is racist.

Fixed that for you.

Host with the Most said...

Zeb,

Please add that the same McCain disbelievers also believe Obama never knew in his entire 20 year stint with Rev Wright that the Rev felt the way he did about white people and America.

Host with the Most said...

Hit a little too close to home there, Cyrus?

Cedarford said...

Oh, Pinkie! Such skepticism you have for McCain in one POW story! And so little about Obama+Wright+Ayers+Rezko+SDS Backers+his lefty billionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommas+NOI pals.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Cyrus said IMO, anyone who buys into the notion that McCain had a "memory lapse" while in Pittsburgh describing the importance of the Pittsburgh Steeler defensive line relative to his POW experience is either gullible or a partisan hack.

IMO, anyone who wants to challenge a guy who spent five years in a NVA prison camp being tortured as to whether or not he really meant the Packer's line up versus the Steelers lineup when lying to his interrogators is a complete tool.

If this is the best they got, sheesh.

AlphaLiberal said...

Our lesson for the day:
Only John McCain Can Talk About His POW Experience, Unless You're Praising Him

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Hit a little too close to home there, Cyrus?

Well Host you should know that in addition to having a PhD in physics, our dear Cyrus is also an expert in many topics including but not limited to: clinical psychology, sociology, political science, global warming/climate change, US Presidential history, economics (both the micro and macro versions), international diplomacy and the entire 1973 NFL and AFL starting lineups, particularly the defensive lineup and stats of the Packers and Steelers and a plethora of other stimulating issues and topics. No one one, not even those intellectual giants like Alpha and Doyle could even hold a candle to Cyrus.

All of us stand in awe when he arrives so show some goddam respect.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Yes, I can see where you might get traction from the starting lineup of football team dispute. Clearly someone who went through an ordeal like that should know to stfu about it and only refer to experiences that are documented and have signed statements from witnesses. This is really a winning strategy.

This is an incredibly stupid comment. Whether McCain could accurately name a team's starting lineup is not in question. In fact, referring to the incident in this way shows that you are entirely ignorant of the details and aren't able or willing to calmly and rationally think about the matter.

McCain has on several occasions recounted this particular story about his POW experience. No one has challenged his story or required witnesses and documentation. However, the fact that he changed the details of this story to pander to a Pittsburgh audience indicates that he's willing to fib about his experiences.

There's nothing further to be said about the incident either. No one is suggesting or acting on the idea that a campaign strategy be built on this incident. Your reaction to the discussion seems fairly hysterical and irrational.

I would think there must be many things your side disagrees with McCain on and you would make your run based on those, but if you feel attacking his years of captivity is the way to go.....You stay classy, democratic party.

Again, this is highly irrational. No one is attacking McCain's years as a POW. There seem to be some who are questioning the authenticity of some of McCain's POW stories, but I don't know of any effort by the Democratic Party to do so. Do you, or are you guilty of mindless babbling?

For my part, I've questioned the consistency of a single McCain POW story. The McCain campaign acknowledged the inconsistency and attributed it to a "memory lapse." This seems unlikely to me; a more plausible explanation is that McCain changed the details of the story to pander to his Pittsburgh audience. However, as I wrote previously, lying does not disqualify politicians from running for or holding office. In my opinion, there's nothing inconsistent with the view that McCain served honorably as a POW and has on at least one occasion fibbed about small details relating to his POW experience.

In short, your post is highly irrational--short on facts and long on hysteria. On the bright side, though, your cut and paste skills are top-notch!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Hit a little too close to home there, Cyrus?

It astounds me that you seem not to be embarrassed at all by your gross stupidity. Look up the definition of transference, have an adult explain it to you if necessary, and get back to me when you understand why your post is incredibly idiotic.

daredevil-66 said...

It never ceases to amaze me how blind partisanship causes people to make complete fools of themselves. I think cyrus and his ilk have watched a few too many Perry Mason episodes. "So MR.McCain how could you have mistaken the 1972 Steelers defensive lineup with the Packers 1968 offensive line???! Please Mr.McCain you are under oath!!!!"
I guess its really true the left is scared sh*tless of a race slipping away. Sad, really

Roger J. said...

Garage: don't have time tonite but I will follow your links. Do appreciate your sending them to me. BTW: your first choice, Senator Clinton, may not be entirely out of this. I think the democratic convention may be a dog fight because Senator Obama seems not to be getting a lot of traction. And I think that Ms Clinton may well be a better choice than the junior senator from Illinois.

AlphaLiberal said...

"daredevil"
The pattern is clear. John McCain's word is not good for much.

Face it, at this point you have no idea what he really stands for because he's become such a pandering politico who will do or say anything to get elected.

Roger J. said...

Cyrus: I gotta tell you--for a black man with a PhD in physics you are an incredibly insufferable asshole--and as a black Phd in physics, as you have claimed, you are in a very elite group since there are only 125 black people who have earned PhDs in physics since 1985--and for some reason I think they would be department chairs in prestigious schools, otherwise pulling down 7 figure salaries in think tanks, and not taking up billable hours commenting anonymously on blogs. Your mileage,of course,may vary. Drop the supercilious bullshit man--you are just another troll.

daredevil-66 said...

Dude, I just feel sorry for folks like you completely craping on yourselves in public. Embarrassing yourselves to what end? Do you really think parsing, twisting and slandering McCains words undermines McCain's experience as a POW? You remind me of those poor saps in 2004' trying to track down g.w's receipts for how much potato salad he ate in the Texas Natl' guard. Who friggin cares? Next you'll be telling me Lucy Ramirez has a photo of McCain drawing a cross with maos little red book.

Host with the Most said...

Oh Cyrus, come on:

No one is suggesting or acting on the idea that a campaign strategy be built on this incident.

Let's be real. Please?

The most despicable part of politics - on all sides of the spectrum - is when any person running for office and his/her supporters are willing to let negative rumors and innuendo about an opponent "hang out there" without seeking to bat it down. In other words, "well take the ignorant 18 year-olds who don't know the full story, because we want to win".

It's an accusation that hangs around the GOP for 40 + years : the "Southern Strategy". It's the Democrat "Republicans will take away your Social Security" oldie but goodie that shows up every four years like clockwork.

The left - particularly in the news media - are more than willing to leave whatever negative "impression s" about McCain on the minds of as many simple-minded voters as possible. And yes, I know that the right is doing it too. That's politics and it's real.

But it still doesn't make it the right thing to do.

And as to "transference"

You could be right that I might not have understood my brother correctly. But the gist of the point - and our conversation - was that the mentally unstable always (as opposed to the occasional lapse of the "sane" that's obviously you and me, Cyrus) seize trivial and unrelated items to bolster an unrelated dislike, hatred or aversion.

Wasting time on such a trivial story is not a sign of a smart mind.

Host with the Most said...

Face it, at this point you have no idea what he really stands for because he's become such a pandering politico who will do or say anything to get elected.

AlphaLiberal,

Please enlighten us.

Tell us your impression of Obama's truthfulness concerning the Rev Wright.

Cause I mean, you wouldn't be a hypocrite posting here at all now, would ya?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

IMO, anyone who wants to challenge a guy who spent five years in a NVA prison camp being tortured as to whether or not he really meant the Packer's line up versus the Steelers lineup when lying to his interrogators is a complete tool.

Once upon a time, Hoosier occasionally made some intelligent observations in his posts. That was a very long time ago, however.

Hoosier, I guess you don't read as well as you used to. Although implausible, I accept the possibility that McCain suffered from a "memory lapse" (as his campaign claims) in his appearance in Pittsburgh. It seems to me very odd, though, that McCain would become confused about the details of this story given that he's written and talked about it previously and it involves a set of intense experiences in his life. If indeed he suffered a "memory lapse," it's a cause for concern.

Since this claimed "memory lapse" by coincidence looks an awful lot like pandering, it's reasonable to speculate about the possibility that McCain was fibbing. In fact, the available evidence suggests that McCain simply changed the details of his story to better suit his audience. I know this opinion is harsh--it makes McCain sound like a politician!

Now, because there are a few slow commenters here, I'll repeat that I'm not challenging McCain's original version of the story. I'm simply noting the inconsistency in his two versions (acknowledged by the McCain campaign itself!) and speculating about the reason for the appearance of a second version of the story. The most plausible explanation, IMO, is that McCain fibbed about his POW experiences.

It's clear that the notion that a non-Democratic politician might have told a lie is upsetting to some Althouse commenters and, in reponse, they'll try to make the issue about something else that they feel they can defend (e.g., McCain was a POW and he was tortured!). I'm sorry if I've offended any of these tender commenters with my speculation. However, since you are well-practiced at ignoring inconvenient facts, I suggest you take a deep breath and quickly move forward to build an hysterical defense against the next outrageous assault on John McCain, apple pie or America by "the left."

AlphaLiberal said...

I've read about six different liberal writers on the McCain cross-in-the-sand story and they all say something like:

1) his story is the same as Solzyehnitens (sp?)
2) He just started telling the story recently and it was not in any of his books.
3) That's kind of weird. I'm not saying he's lying but that's kind of weird.

From that the right wing here accuses liberals and Democrats of attacking McCain's service!

Wow! You fail! Go back to Reading Comprehension 101.

Really, gang, ducking the hard arguments and playing like you're too dumb too interpret a basic argument is LAME. I know you can read better than that.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

The only equivalency I see in debunking Anita Hill and debunking John McCain is, oddly, the only ones who believed Hill were very largely the same partisans who disbelieve McCain.

Really? Give me a few examples based on your observations and research.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The story McCain has told most frequently and most consistently is about someone else's heroism.

It is the story of the soldier who made a small American flag from scraps, kept it in his shirt, and the group used it to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The soldier gets caught, the soldier gets beaten, the soldier immediately starts looking for scraps to make another flag.

Middle Class Guy said...

Cedarford said...
Oh, Pinkie! Such skepticism you have for McCain in one POW story! And so little about Obama+Wright+Ayers+Rezko+SDS Backers+his lefty billionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommas+NOI pals.



That has to be a record for one of your shortest comments.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Oh, Pinkie! Such skepticism you have for McCain in one POW story!

Apparently the "skepticism" is well-founded, Cedarford, since the McCain campaign acknowledged the error in McCain's story and attributed it to a "memory lapse." Of course, you'd know that already if you just improved your reading comprehension.

Middle Class Guy said...

AlphaLiberal said...
Our lesson for the day:
Only John McCain Can Talk About His POW Experience, Unless You're Praising Him




Oh, Christ, now he links to his own blog and expects us to consider that credible.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

All of us stand in awe when he arrives so show some goddam respect.

Thanks Hoosier, but without a bow or curtsy, that does not constitute a proper exercise program.

Middle Class Guy said...

AlphaLiberal said...
Face it, at this point you have no idea what he really stands for because he's become such a pandering politico who will do or say anything to get elected.



Man, you really should put out a spew alert when you say something so ludicrous. Hillary, Obama, Kerry, and all the rest are pandering politicos who will do or say anything to get elected. Do you really, really believe that there is honesty in politics? You are about as naive as they come.

Pogo said...

Oh great, Cyrus is back with his unique and winning formula of evasive assholery. But thankfully, like all flatus, he too shall pass.

Althouse's main question, and answer, remains a dead cert:
"How stupid is it for Obama supporters to question the truth of McCain's "cross in the dirt" story?"
Very stupid."


It's an own goal, and I am glad for it. More glad am I that the left's response on this blog has been to hunker down and reaffirm support for the tactic.

It won't distract from Obama's refusal to release the Ayer's records, though. That little problem is still simmering on the back burner. This POW story is short on the brou and long on the haha. But it will die out.

C'mon Cyrus, Alpha, garage, you've beaten this stupid tale until it's a pile of mush. Stick a fork in it. Why won't Obama release the records?

Middle Class Guy said...

Host with the Most said...
AlphaLiberal,
Cause I mean, you wouldn't be a hypocrite posting here at all now, would ya?


Nope, he is -“Part of the rising wave of modern, fighting liberalism.”

What ever the hell that is. Sounds like some kind of political indie garage band or something.

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