“It’s a trick. Get an axe.”

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 had aSolzhenitsen moment on Christmas morn with an enlightened“gook” samaritan? Fine. Let him have it. Say “we honor his service”, and move on to the present day.

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.)

title quote reference

11 thoughts on ““It’s a trick. Get an axe.”

  1. Hi Oyster. I’d like to agree with you but there are a few items that make me pause.
    The first is that while Nam was 40 years ago, McCain’s fabrications about it are what he is doing today. As such, they speak to his grasp on reality and his truthfulness. They speak to him wrapping himself in the flag to hide his warts. (And we’ve had enough of Chimpy using the flag to hide Gitmo and FISA).
    As a strictly political ploy, there is still a voting block where his actions in Nam will be major determinants of their vote. Look at how effective the Swiftboating of Kerry was.
    Interstingly enough, while I would tend to give some leniency to McCain (as it was under extreme duress) and would also lean to agreeing with you that this is done and over with and we don’t know how he has grown in 40 years, McCain participated with the North Vietnamese in signing a confession and appearing in a propaganda video. To many in the service this would, at a minimum be an act of aid and comfort if not outright collaboration / treason. So it is so discongruous for McCain to rest on his military record (not to mention how low he was in his class and he probably got into the academy because of his father. Crashing planes isn’t the same as being a good pilot). And again, his taking credit where credit isn’t due is an action he’s doing today – and combined with taking credit for laws that he originally opposed. So we’re talking about a consistent pattern he’s shown throughout life – and therefore isn’t likely to change any time soon.

  2. ahem… to suggest that John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, is confused about current events is simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    to suggest that John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, is not as youthful as his opponent is simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    and Maple S, to suggest that supporters of John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, are engaging in dishonorable tactics to gain an advantage, well, that’s also simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    and to suggest that John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, is resting on his less than stellar military laurels, and even misrepresenting them when convenenient, is simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    See? how hard can it be to run McCain’s campaign.
    1. Copy:and to suggest that John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, is xxxxxxxxxx, is simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    2. Paste: and to suggest that John McCain, an former prisoner of war™, is FILL IN THE BLANK, is simply OUTRAGEOUS.
    3. Repeat.
    4. Simply OU… oops, I meant SIMPLE.

  3. I still don’t get why Wes Clark got hammered for his comments. Being a POW doesn’t automatically make you a) a foreign policy expert or b) a brilliant leader or c) qualified in any way to be the leader of the free world.
    All it makes you is an ex-POW–tough, sure, resilient, absolutely. But it doesn’t make you a great person–being a great person makes you that.
    And it certainly doesn’t give you a free pass to be an asshole for the rest of your life.

  4. The problem we face is that Average Voter only knows McCain by how the press and McCain frame him. And, that is as an American Hero, who survived a horrible time as a POW in Vietnam, always acting as an honorable man the whole time. That is as the Original Maverick, who always speaks the truth, is non-partisan, always right in his judgment, and an expert in foreign affairs.
    Those “truths” can only be changed if the Democrats chose to point out the reality that is McCain. So far they don’t seem inclined to do that.
    If you loved President Bush, you will adore President McCain. Otherwise, we Democrats need to speak up.

  5. Goodnight, folks. I am now off to spend the rest of my life watching all the YouTube “related videos” of NOLA nostalgia connected to Oyster’s “Special Man” link. This bunch of kids in the audience ofthis episode of Popeye and Pals would have been at or about my age group. I wonder if I ended up dating any of those girls…

  6. I had no idea that fried chicken played such a central role in NOLA children’s television and furniture sales.

  7. Jeffrey,
    I’m no expert on child rearing, but isn’t dressing kids up in nice clothes, packing them in tight and giving them fried chicken and soda while interviewing them – isn’t that courting disaster? 😉
    Also, I love spicy chicken. But I’ve never understood how a Nantucket sailor become the icon of cajun chicken.

  8. Actually the Popeyes chain was named after the character Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle from The French Connection. The cartoon character became attached later for marketing purposes. The show had a bit to do with that.

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