Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Faux Outrage

CJR gets it about right, in relation to the McCain camp's whining about Gen. Clark's "attack" on McCain's war record:
The McCain camp, sensing an opportunity, complained that Clark had “attacked John McCain’s military service record.” Of course, Clark had done nothing of the kind. He had questioned the relevance of McCain’s combat experience as a qualification to be president of the United States. This is a distinction that you’d expect any reasonably intelligent nine-year old to be able to grasp.

* * *

It’s crucially important that we have a political debate in this country that’s at least sophisticated enough to be able to handle the following rather basic idea: Arguing that a person’s record of military service is not a qualification for the presidency does not constitute “attacking” their military credentials; nor can it be described as invoking their military service against them, or as denying their record of war heroism.

That’s not a very high bar for sophistication. But right now it’s one the press isn’t capable of clearing.
And how's this for a "pots and kettles" moment:
If that’s the kind of campaign that Sen. Obama and his surrogates and his supporters want to engage I understand that, but it doesn’t reduce the price of gallon of gas by one penny. It doesn’t achieve energy independence [or in the midst of a foreclosure crisis] help an American stay in their home.
That sort of negative campaign rhetoric does precisely... what to alleviate those problems? (Probably about as much as McCain's actual energy policy, but....)

If McCain wanted to be, you know, honest - the sort of thing some might call straight talk - yet still take advantage of the moment, he would have still been able to say something like this: "If my foreign policy record and experience were as short as my opponent's and I were offering up my time as a POW as a foreign policy credential, General Clark would have a valid point. But while my time as a POW was long in years, it's a minor entry on my foreign policy résumé, and there's no disputing that my qualifications go far beyond those of Senator Obama."

More faux outrage on Fau... Fox News, from the inimitable Karl Rove. You know, it might be cheaper to employ a wind-up toy to provide election commentary, and the audience would probably get more from the experience.

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