Following up on thelink from Athenae’spost, I agree that it’s unwise to get caught up in the silly details about John McCain’s stories from Vietnam. This is the same 1968 Vietnam/culture war trap that’s plagued Democratic campaigns for forty years, in one guise or another. One of the main advantages of nominating a youthful nominee like Barack Obama was the audacious “hope” that wingnuts couldn’t spur the media to spend weeks and months parsing Obama’s daily schedule during the Vietnam years. No one cares what Obama was doing during Vietnam: that’s agood thing. If McCain’s Vietnam stories– no matter how demonstrably confused or unlikely they may seem– become an issue in this campaign, that’s a net negative for Dems.
McCain wants to claim he talked about Ronald Reagan in“tap codes” with the other prisoners of war in Vietnam? Fine. Let him have it. Say “that’s an amazing story, quite… breathtaking” and move on to the present day.
McCain wants to claim he didn’t“really love” the US until he was a 30 year old POW? Well, perhaps we can encourage him to keep telling that one. But, like the other stories, Dems should avoid the temptation to “engage” on it. Leave Vietnam alone. Talking about it in any fashion will prompt the media and McCain’s friends to make it one of the topical “contexts” of the campaign.
Hell, I don’t care if McCain says he built an Iron Man suit out of a tin can and an undigestible piece of bean sprout while he was a POW… don’t engage him on this shit. Just… don’t. As New Orleanians say“Let em have it.”
Obama supporters need to understand that there’s no net political upside to introducing Vietnam into this campaign. How many times do we have to re-learn this lesson?
Simply focus on McCain’s myriad confusions aboutcurrent events and issues. That’s more than enough material right there. (We’ll explore some of those confusions later today.)