Sunday, April 27, 2008

DNC's "Hundred Year" Ad: Low Blow/BS/Unfair

Here it is.

O.k., look: as I and many others have pointed out: what McCain said was that it'd be fine if we were there for a hundred years IF (roughly) the situation were peaceful and we were there to keep that peace--if, as McCain said, Iraq became like South Korea.

I'm rather less of a McCain fan these days than I used to be, so this isn't some kind of knee-jerk defense of him. And the "context" defense is misused about a hundred times for every one time it's used legitimately. But in this case, there's no doubt that McCain's remarks are being taken out of context. Does anybody really think that McCain would advocate staying for a hundred years under the current conditions?

This ad is just dishonest BS. There's nothing wrong with critical ads--IF the criticisms are fair. But this is just sleazy. And it's the kind of thing that bootstraps us up to a really nasty campaign.

Nice work, DNC.


Blogger lovable liberal said...

What McCain is refusing to provide is anything other than more of the same. At some unspecified and unspecifiable time in the future, with Iraq pacified, everything will be hunky-dory, and we can stay in peace.

Is there any evidence that that's anything but a fantasy?

Neocons and other war supporters have repeatedly shifted the length of their commitment. Now, it's a century.

Maybe the ad would have been fairer had it asked, "How long would McCain stay at current rates of loss of blood and treasure?" But there's clearly a legitimate point to be made that for McCain the American presence in Iraq is open-ended.

10:07 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Here's a summary from the liberal end of the political spectrum.

It's sleazy to portray McCain as wanting to fight for 100 years, which he did not say. But it's quite fair to use what he did say - and what he refused to say - against him.

McCain wants to equate soldiers in Germany and South Korea with soldiers in Iraq, but that's an apples and oranges comparison, since our troops are only being shot at on a regular basis in Iraq.

What we have from McCain:
- no hard and fast end date (of course)
- no point to reconsider
- no exit criteria
- no exit plan (of course)
- no definition of success

Instead, we have more stay the course.

The question really is whether it's appropriate to juxtapose these concerns with his repeated willingness to stay 100 years. He has made that pledge for counterfactual conditions, and he won't answer the same question about the actual conditions.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You make good points, LL.

In a sense, your point is something like: sleazy in terms of the letter, but basically truthful in spirit.

Or something.

I don't think that's a crazy position, FWIW.

4:53 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

There are clearly fairer possible presentations. Some of them might even be as hard-hitting.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I think one ought to try to be scrupulously fair about such things. Even if this ends up pointing at something true in a roundabout way, it's still on thin ice in my book.

But, again, I see your point.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Jim Bales said...

WS, McCain starts by saying he is happy to stay 100 years in Iraq, then adds "as long as Americans aren't being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."

Evidently Mr. McCain hasn't noticed that Americans continue to be injured and harmed and wounded and killed in Iraq.

He might as well wish for a pony, too.

So, if we restrict ourselves only to words McCain said, ignoring the issues he chose not to address (thank you, LL), ignoring the implicit context of the question (Americans are dying in Iraq, is Mr. McCain comfortable with 50 more years of that?), ignoring in its entirety the social, political, and military context in which this discussion takes place, then yes, the DNC's ad is bullshit.

However, by ignoring the real concern expressed by the citizen, by pretending that a leader can speak outside of the context of the place and time and situation, McCain committed a lie of omission.

An honest man would have addressed the issues LL identified. In contrast, McCain's answer was non-responsive to the very real concerns of that voter, and the rest of the nation.

McCain's answer was disrespectful to those serving in Iraq today, to those who have been injured there, harmed there, wounded there, killed there, and to their families.

Mr. McCain's answer is disrespectful to us, the citizens of the US, who understand that a real leader does not shirk from addressing the hard questions, and who deserve a straight answer from our elected leaders and from those running for high office.

Mr. McCain's avoidance of the very real issue was sleazy. It was dishonest. It was BS. It was unfair.

If your point is that it is wrong to respond to dishonesty with more dishonesty, I happily grant you that. But, we must acknowledge
McCain's lie of omission before attacking the DNC's lie of commission, as McCain's lie is part of the context in which the DNC's ad was released.

12:10 PM  

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