OK, Now This Is What I Call Slamming McCain
by Todd Beeton, Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 02:34:38 PM EDT
Phillip Butler, one of the men John McCain served with and was a POW with in Vietnam (although McCain got there 2 years later than Butler and so endured 2 fewer years of torture), has written a scathing editorial titled "Why I Will Not Vote For John McCain." I agree with Matt Stoller:
Put this POW in an ad
As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.
As for the reasons Butler won't vote for John McCain, the following four paragraphs lay them out, the first of which will sound familiar.
I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.
Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.
I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.
It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual. The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country.
While the Obama campaign should at the very least encourage this guy to speak out against John McCain if not actually put him in an ad, one wonders how quickly Obama will distance himself from Butler, if Obama's treatment of Wes Clark's somewhat similar comments were any indication. The beauty of this attack on McCain, as well as Clark's, is that it goes directly to his strengths. In the meantime, all year Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took every opportunity to reinforce McCain's strengths ("I honor his service" blah blah blah) instead of undermining them.
Nate Silver puts this traditional reluctance of Democrats to go after Republicans' strengths in frustrating context.
But it's worth remembering that McCain won the Republican primaries in large part because the other candidates were so deferential to him. Rudy Giuliani praised McCain incessantly during the debates of last summer, at which point McCain's campaign was in tatters and didn't seem like much of a threat. But guess where Rudy's supporters went once McCain won New Hampshire?
The Republicans, of course, have no such inhibitions when it comes to Democrats, which is why they went right at Al Gore's strengths, and right at John Kerry's strengths, and are going right at Barack Obama's strengths -- and, importantly, did so early in those respective campaigns. It's one of the big reasons that they win elections.