As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

McCain's Horrible Week

Hey, good for Barack Obama:

If you can't see it, Obama replays Phil Gramm's "nation of whiners" comment, adds in McCain's "psychological benefits" for his energy policies comment, and concludes, "America already has one Dr. Phil." Which is one Dr. Phil too many, but he's too polite to say that.

If you haven't noticed, McCain is having a week as a candidate that makes Walter Mondale look like FDR.

This is the week that should have effectively ended John McCain's efforts to become the next president of the United States. But you wouldn't know it if you watched any of the mainstream media outlets or followed political reporting in the major newspapers.

During this past week: McCain called the most import entitlement program in the U.S. a disgrace, his top economic adviser called the American people whiners, McCain released an economic plan that no one thought was serious, he flip flopped on Iraq, joked about the deaths of Iranian citizens, and denied making comments that he clearly made -- TWICE. All this and it is not even Friday! Yet watching and reading the mainstream press you would think McCain was having a pretty decent political week, I mean at least Jesse Jackson didn't say anything about him.

Go read that whole article. But let me add to it. He emailed around a YouTube of him bashing his top economic adviser Phil Gramm and saying "He doesn't speak for me," at PRECISELY THE TIME Gramm was speaking for him at the Wall Street Journal's editorial board. He said that he didn't know the significance of the Iranian threat after spending half his campaign talking up that very threat. And then there's this, the kind of story that would utterly define any Democrat immediately as an unprincipled liar for the length of the campaign.

Asked what’s the first thing that comes to his mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh , McCain, chuckled, "the Steelers. I was a mediocre high school athlete but I loved and adored the sports but the Steelers really made a huge impression on me particularly in my early years."

And then McCain told a rather moving story about his time as a P.O.W. "When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, physical pressures on me, I named the starting lineup, defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron mates."

"Did you really?" asked the reporter.

"Yes," McCain said.

"In your POW camp?" asked the reporter.

"Yes," McCain said.

"Could you do it today?" asked the reporter.

"No, unfortunately," McCain said.

Here's one reason he likely couldn't do it today -- the Steelers aren't the team whose defensive line McCain named for his Vietnamese tormentors. The Green Bay Packers are. At least according to every previous time McCain has told this story.

In McCain's best-selling 1999 memoir "Faith of My Fathers," McCain writes:

"Once my condition had stabilized, my interrogators resumed their work. Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant. Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron. When asked to identify future targets, I simply recited the names of a number of North Vietnamese cities that had already been bombed."

In 2005, A&E ran a movie version of "Faith of My Fathers."

And McCain discussed that precise clip on CNN.

The actor playing McCain, asked to name the men in his squadron, says: "Starr; Greg; McGee; Davis ; Adderly; Brown; Ringo; Wood."

Cut back to real life. The CNN anchor asks McCain: "For those who don't know the story, were those NFL football players?"

"That was the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers, the first Super Bowl champions, yes," McCain responded. But it's -- it was the best I could think of at the time."

The movie actually shows this act of defiance twice.

INTERROGATOR: The names of your squadron...

MCCAIN: Starr, Gregg...McGee, Davis...Adderley, Brown, Ringo, Wood.

INTERROGATOR: Ten points, McCain.

MCCAIN: Ray Nitschke, our C.O.

OK, that would actually end a Democrat's career, permanently. I remember all the jokes about Cheese Whiz and Lambert Field with John Kerry, and Al Gore inventing the Internet or being the model for Love Story. This is far worse, actually, considering it's PART OF HIS ARGUMENT AGAINST TORTURE.

Explaining why he thinks torture can result in erroneous information, McCain wrote in Newsweek in 2005, "In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear--whether it is true or false--if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse."

I understand that the media really like BBQ, and loves to sit in the front of the plane. But if they took the rib-colored glasses off for a second, they'd see that this guy is maybe the worst Presidential candidate of my lifetime. And they'd bother to report a little truth about his evasions, lies, and missteps.

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