"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).