Friday, August 22, 2008

Playing the POW Card - From the Bottom of the Deck

As the “How Many Houses Do The McCains Own” battle was heating up yesterday, McCain spokes-Doberman Brian Rogers had this to say, "The reality is they have some investment properties and stuff. It's not as if he lives in ten houses. That's just not the case," Rogers said. "The reality is they have four that actually could be considered houses they could use."

He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

I’m pretty sick of the POW excuse that magically absolves McCain of everything. It’s one thing to be a POW, it’s quite another to remind people of it every day, in the most disconnected, disingenuous and dishonest ways. So let’s look ahead and prepare McCain’s answers for him on a host of issues.

  • Milk prices are too high
“This is a guy who didn’t have the luxury of milk for five and a half years -- in prison.”

  • We’re not doing enough to find alternative sources of energy
“This is a guy who lived in the dark for five and a half years -- in prison, with no light bulbs.”

  • Healthcare is too expensive
“John McCain had little to no healthcare for five and a half years.”

  • The inner cities are suffering
“John McCain knows a thing or two about suffering.”

  • We aren’t well prepared for natural disasters
“Let me tell you a thing or two about disaster, my friends.”

  • War on terror
“I’ve been in a war. I know how to win wars.”

  • War on drugs
“I’ve been in a war. I know how to win wars.”

  • Prisons are overcrowded
“My friends, let me give you some straight talk about prisons. I know what it is to be in prison.”

  • Economy is in a recession
“If there’s one thing I learned as a prisoner of war, it’s that there is always hope. We can’t give up hope.”

Name the issue, and McCain will bring up his POW experience. I find it distasteful and unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. My Dad served in Vietnam twice as an officer. He is also a graduate of West Point (Beat Navy!) — and he got there on his own, without help from well-connected relatives. And he doesn't talk much, if at all, about his medals, his injuries or the things he witnessed. Very few of the soldiers I've known would, unless you really press them, and even then they'll do it reluctantly. There's an unwritten code among soldiers who've seen war and death that says, "You weren't there and you can't know. To share it with you would be to invite you into my nightmares and I'm not going to do that to you." But McCain has no problem bringing it up every day. He gambles that you will see him as some sort of John Wayne/Rambo/Clint Eastwood type. Or that you will pity him his time in prison and regard him highly for his ability to endure. The sad fact is that John McCain was the favored scion of a high-ranking military family who should not have been admitted to Annapolis, much less Navy flight school. The fact that he got shot down and captured is tragic, but it in no way qualifies him for the Oval Office.

And sadly, this isn't the doing of Karl Rove or some other Republican spin-meister. McCain has been trading on this story for decades. That alone says more about the man than the story he keeps telling.

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  • I thought Obama did pretty nice job yesterday with the whole house issue:

    By Blogger Brice, at August 22, 2008 at 10:57 AM  

  • I'm glad you brought up the issue of authenticity here. McCain has, throughout his political career, tried to own that space via his cool-sounding "straight talk express." (I'd be interested in this train far more if it ran express between Union Square and the Upper West Side...but, alas, no such express exists.) And I've been pretty hard on McCain's campaign from a post-advertising standpoint at my site. But, let's face it, politicians are, by their very nature, inauthentic, fairly disingenuous people. They have to please so many different, competing interest groups, it's impossible for them not to be.

    At the same time, I agree with you, McCain's POW shtick is about as annoying as couples at concerts. What annoys me more, personally, is that he has to make some sort of excuse for being rich. The guy served, was likely tortured, and then he comes back to the place that sent him there and plays the game and makes good. I'm completely cool with that.

    Unfortunately, I've already officially endorsed Paris Hilton for president. So, let's have McCain be McPresident. I know that with all of your readers' help, we can put McCain in a nice McMansion in Florida this November.

    By Anonymous Jeremy Greenfield, at August 22, 2008 at 12:11 PM  

  • Jeremy -- It's one thing to make good. It's another thing to pretend that despite this you're deeply sympathetic to average people.

    By Anonymous Cleanser, at August 22, 2008 at 1:25 PM  

  • Kinda reminds me of Gulliani. Every sentence had this structure: Noun-Verb-9/11


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 at 5:23 PM  

  • Personally, I think there's too much anal rape in this country.

    By Blogger Laird of Madrona, at August 22, 2008 at 8:00 PM  

  • I've been complaining about this for weeks, ever since Chuck Hegel got slammed for criticizing McCain. McCain gets a free pass on everything because if you criticize anything about him, you're not patriotic because after all HE WAS A POW!

    I know a guy who was in a bamboo cage in Vietnam for seven years. Terrific guy, but I wouldn't say he's qualified to babysit my kids for half an hour.

    It's bloody ridiculous, and I hope Americans start to get as sick of this as I am.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 at 8:25 PM  




    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

  • I’m Glad Russia didn't invade Poland. Then McLame would have proclaimed "We are all Polocks!"

    On the upside, it would have sparked a new joke: How many Polocks does it take to drive out the Russians?

    By Anonymous George Arndt, at August 22, 2008 at 8:39 PM  

  • amen and amen. I am linking to this, I could not have said it better myself.

    By Blogger Toblerone King, at August 23, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

  • There's another aspect to this that doesn't help McCain. A trope of the Grandpa Stereotype is a sentence that follows this template: "Stop your whining. When I was your age I had to walk ten miles to school in the snow."

    So he's reinforcing that. Which, as I don;t want him to win, I'm glad of.

    By Blogger jlroberson, at August 23, 2008 at 10:43 PM  

  • Healthcare is too expensive
    “John McCain had little to no healthcare for five and a half years.”

    Actually, he's already used this one, when talking about health care: "I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good government health care. I had it from another government. (LAUGHTER)"

    By Blogger Randy, at August 24, 2008 at 5:26 PM  

  • I actually liked McCain some years back but this mythical creature that has evolved from all the pandering to first, second and third bases, created by the same men who bought us the '00 and '04 elections will be studied as a science specimen in the future with regards to break throughs in brain dialysis, irritable vowel syndrome and soul herpes - all of which caused not by godless Vietcongs but by soul crushing, church-going, child molesting neocons.

    By Anonymous Catcher In The Rye, at August 25, 2008 at 8:07 AM  

  • The fight between McCain and Obama over their respective houses signals a whole new level of nasty.

    Anyone who has watched rivals needle each other in a pickup basketball game will recognize what is happening right now between Barack Obama and John McCain. It starts with bumps, shoves, maybe a few elbows—and then suddenly it's a windmill of fists, torn shirts, and a lot of bad words about mothers. On Thursday, the presidential race reached a whole new level of nasty.

    By Anonymous discount prescription card, at October 16, 2008 at 12:26 AM  

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