OK, Now This Is What I Call Slamming McCain

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

Butler begins:

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.

Indeed.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

The League of Outspoken Gentlemen...

...Against McCain.

This is really very good. These are all fair hits and being negative doesn't necessitate being slimey.

Please, someone...talk some sense into this campaign. They have to start a narrative. Now.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 02:42PM | 0 recs
Go Ahead - Make McCain's Day
If the Obama campaign or DNC backs this guy in any way you can kiss the Presidency good-bye.
The blowback from the heartland will surpass a Cat 5 Hurricane.  It would be a gift for McCain.
by oliver99 2008-08-19 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Go Ahead - Make McCain's Day

There was also a diary on this, and I agree with you.

This is absolutely radioactive if Obama goes near this.

Fine for background, circ it around the net, let the commentators play with it-though, I think I agree with you, they will back McCain 100%.

Obama needs to stay clear, and if asked to comment, stick to his "We respect John McCain's service" and go back to punching him about Economics and being tied to Bush at the hips...

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-19 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Go Ahead - Make McCain's Day

Yeah, I agree. This stuff needs to be put out there and Obama needs to have distance from it. After all, McCain is not denouncing Corsi but he isn't quoting the book, either. Republicans will always be able to get away with being dirtier because people expect it of them. It may not be fair, but it is the way it is.

by Lolis 2008-08-19 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Go Ahead - Make McCain's Day

Quite frankly, I don't think that even the stuff needs to be put out there. The article shows how Butler's service was better than McCain. It shows many others did more than McCain. But don't forget that it doesn't show that Obama is better than McCain - OTOH, it may have the opposite effect.

This was what stares out at me when I read the article.


John was badly injured when he was shot down. Both arms were broken and he had other wounds from his ejection. Unfortunately this was often the case - new POW's arriving with broken bones and serious combat injuries. Many died from their wounds. Medical care was non-existent to rudimentary. Relief from pain was almost never given and often the wounds were used as an available way to torture the POW.


John was offered, and refused, "early release." Many of us were given this offer. It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to "admit" that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was "lenient and humane."


John McCain served his time as a POW with great courage, loyalty and tenacity.

by gaf 2008-08-19 07:16PM | 0 recs
Ironic or cowardice

You pick. Either you are being ironic or cowardly because while Kerry could be swiftboated about lies about his record, it is radioactive (according to you and yoru fears not truth) for Obama to ever use truth about McCain's.

by bruh3 2008-08-19 03:21PM | 0 recs
Absolutely agree

While I agree that the Obama campaign shouldn't have anything to do with such an ad, the idea that an outside group shouldn't run an ad like this is absolutely, positively ridiculous.

The simple fact is, ads like that work.  They worked against Kerry, and we're talking about the same formula.

I can't count the number of opportunities Dems miss because they're afraid to go for the jugular.

by jonweasel 2008-08-19 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Absolutely agree
The Kerry ad wasn't even in the same ballpark.
Kerry ad was about Kerry lying about his bravery.
Butler's article is about how McCain was a hero, but there were more heroes.
by gaf 2008-08-19 07:17PM | 0 recs
I heard this guy on the radio

He's very well spoken, sincere and respectful. I was deeply disappointed that his story didn't get more traction at the time but I hope it goes viral this time.

How about a youtube interview with him?

by obsessed 2008-08-19 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I heard this guy on the radio

There is a little problem in that alot of what this guys says is pure fiction. Other POW's who were in the Hanoi Hilton have denounced him. One example is his story that 'everybody' was offered an early out if they signed confessions etc. Just pure bull - McCain was offered because his father was the Admiral of the Pacific fleet. Even his Vietnamese captors confirmed the story.

No one should go near this guy. McCain and his fellow POW's would smash him and it would damage Obama for having any association with it.

by oliver99 2008-08-19 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: OK, Now This Is What I Call Slamming McCain

His unfitness for the presidency should be front page every day until he's replaced.  It's not about policy, it's incompetence.

by moondancer 2008-08-19 05:36PM | 0 recs
McCain is at 84% in latest poll for being the best

on national security and the Georgia crisis. What are you going to come up with next when McCain puts an ad with Feingold's words about McCain's so-called short temper?:

www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspsc?id=78 1576

Feingold remains a McCain admirer
He favors Obama's views but likes GOP candidate
By CRAIG GILBERT
cgilbert@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Aug. 9, 2008
Washington - If Republican John McCain needs someone to vouch for his independence, he could easily do worse than Senate colleague Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a liberal Democrat from a key battleground state.

"I think the guy calls 'em as he sees 'em, and as president would call 'em as he sees 'em, and would make people mad all over the place because it wouldn't fit anybody's playbook," said Feingold, who teamed up with McCain to rewrite federal campaign laws.

"He would be very original," Feingold said.

Those are not exactly Democratic talking points.

In fact, while Feingold supports his fellow Democrat Barack Obama for president, he continues to express (when asked) his affection and admiration for McCain, even in ways that deviate from his party's core strategy against the Arizona Republican, which is to paint him as a clone of President Bush, and a "maverick no more."

Feingold calls McCain "very original" and a "maverick by nature." McCain's own TV ads call him the "original maverick."

read more.....

by suzieg 2008-08-19 06:12PM | 0 recs
from same article

from Russ Feingold:

Age is not the only rap on McCain that Feingold suggests is unfair. Another is the notion that McCain's too temperamental to be president.

"Yes, he shows temper. But he burns fast, and he doesn't let it cloud his judgment. He would not be a loose cannon in the Oval Office," said Feingold. "It's not like he's going to pick up the red phone in a rage."

by suzieg 2008-08-19 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: OK, Now This Is What I Call Slamming McCain

Seriously, its time for the DNC or MoveOn.org or anyone to make a "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" style PAC for this guy.

Swiftboat McCain and see what the GOP does with it.

by jlars 2008-08-19 07:45PM | 0 recs
Have you been watching the documentary

"Carrier" on PBS, where old footage clearly shows McCain as a hero when he was on a carrier, while sitting in his plane waiting to be loaded with ammunition, a generator got too close to the bombs which heated them so much that it caused them to explode and you clearly see McCain slide down the refuelling nosel of the nose of his plane, running away from the explosions but then stopping, turning around and going back to save the ground crew. After seeing that, I've now got great respect for the guy, not for his pow status but for putting his life in danger to save the ground crew!

He also did an unselfish thing - because of the extensive damage done to the carrier no one wanted to be posted on that ship but he volunteered to serve on it which would not give him extra brownie points.... Like it or not, the guy has got convictions... might not be the ones you like, but regardless, his bravery is beyond reproach.

by suzieg 2008-08-20 12:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Have you been watching the documentary

susieg, I admire your admiration of McCain and respect your disrespect for Obama. But I have to question your motives for what I find curious - would you care to elaborate on what you hope to accomplish here?

by QTG 2008-08-20 05:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Have you been watching the documentary

She's an oppo researcher, posing as a purity progressive (and simultaneously a McCain supporter -- figure that out). She trolled DKos for months during the primaries until people stopped feeding her and her cut-and-paste spamming finally got her autobanned. I suspect she'd be hating whomever the Democrats nominated, since she clearly has nothing but admiration for John McCain. I'm amazed anyone takes her transparent act seriously here. I generally hide her on site, since it's obvious she's here to do only damage.

by BobzCat 2008-08-20 11:20AM | 0 recs

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