Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama campaign coordinating attacks which touch on McCain's military service

Political professionals do not comment on such things without first coordinating with the campaign. It just is not done. Therefore, we can see the Obama campaign is asking select friends who have military experience to hit McCain on his military record:

  • Bill Gillespie, Dem. candidate for Senate in Georgia

  • Tom Harkin, Dem Senator from Iowa

  • Jay Rockefeller, Dem Senator from West Virginia

  • George McGovern, former Dem Senator from S. Dakota

  • Wesley Clark, former Dem Presidential candidate, current advisor to Obama campaign

  • Rand Beers, former advisor to the Kerry campaign, current "informal advisor" to the Obama campaign

That's six, count em, six Dem military veterans who have attacked McCain via touching on his military service. Ed Morrissey, from May 20:

...three Democrats and Obama supporters on the record as attacking McCain’s 24 years of service in the Navy: Gillespie, Jay Rockefeller, and Tom Harkin, as well as unnamed “colleagues” in the Matt Bai hit piece in the New York Times. The criticisms sound remarkably similar; all of them question the quality of his service, claiming that he grew up as a child of privilege and had his career handed to him, in a role where he didn’t know what combat was really like. He had a “silver spoon”, was “Navy royalty”, and so on.

McCain's military service speaks to his character - and specifically to his sense of honor and duty. McCain refused an opportunity to go home early and leave other POWs behind - thus risking his life, and ensuring his own discomfort - out of sense of honor and duty.

McCain's military service does not speak to his decision-making competence as a potential POTUS. I can't imagine very many voters believe it does.

The more the Obama campaign mentions McCain's service, the more voters are reminded of the good character which is highlighted by that service.

Why, then, is the Obama campaign seeking to attack McCain in this fashion?

The answer, I think, is the Obama campaign's misreading of the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The Obama campaign does not realize the SBVT hurt Kerry by telling actual truth. The SBVT had material to work with. The Obama campaign thinks the SBVT were typical political operatives. The Obama campaign has drawn the wrong lesson, i.e.: attack your opponent's strength. The proper lesson should be: attack your opponent where he is massively lying.

Reporter Thomas Libscomb has written a definitive summary of the Kerry/SBVT saga.

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