A Question Of Character

Richard Cohen writes:

the difference between McCain and Obama -- . . . McCain is a known commodity. . . . As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.
In 2006, Cohen wrote:

[McCain] embodies a quality for which the country yearns: integrity. He is a man of his word. . . . McCain must remain true to the principles he has enunciated in his disagreement with Bush over the Geneva Conventions and similar matters. Compromise is not a dirty word, but abandonment of principle is a different matter entirely. The United States cannot conduct itself as its enemies have. We do not torture. . . .

But John McCain voted against banning torture by the CIA:

Senator McCain rightly insists that the U.S. may not (i) torture; (ii) engage in cruel treatment prohibited by Common Article 3; or (iii) engage in conduct that shocks the conscience, under the McCain Amendment. He also insists that waterboarding violates each of these legal restrictions, that the Bush Administration's legal analysis has been dishonest and flatly wrong, and that we need "a good faith interpretation of the statutes that guide what is permissible in the CIA program."

The Feinstein Amendment would have accomplished all of these objectives, but Senator McCain voted against it, presumably because he wishes that the CIA be permitted to continue the use of other of its enhanced techniques, apart from waterboarding. Those techniques are reported to include stress positions, hypothermia, threats to the detainee and his family, severe sleep deprivation, and severe sensory deprivation. Senator McCain has not explained which of these he thinks are not torture and cruel treatment, nor which he would wish to preserve for use by the CIA. But if the President does as he has promised and follows Senator McCain's lead by vetoing this bill, the CIA will continue to assert the right to use all of these techniques -- and possibly waterboarding, as well.

By contrast, Senator Clinton supports the Feinstein amendment, and Senator Obama does, too . . .

If Senator McCain believes that there are particular "enhanced" techniques that are not in the Field Manual, but that are also not torture or cruel treatment, and wishes to allow the CIA to use them, he should identify what they are, and offer legislation that would authorize those, and those only, techniques, in addition to those listed in the Field Manual. Otherwise, despite all his worthy efforts in this area, Senator McCain is now facilitating the CIA's use of techniques that are unlawful, including some that are torture even by Senator McCain's own lights. (For more on why the various CIA techniques are unlawful, see the Human Rights First Report "Leave No Marks.")

Senator McCain is not a man of character. And if Richard Cohen was a journalist with integrity, he would not write such disingenuous columns. He simply is writing falsehoods now.

Speaking for me only

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  • I guess (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:26:26 AM EST
    this is the new MSM line: "McCain is a man of character." Whatever. It's probably going to be a hard narrative to fight though.

    Particularly If You Are Busy Shilling (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:31:35 AM EST
    For the guy. For others it will be an easy narrative to destroy because there are countless factual examples of his poor character to counter that false and very thin narrative.

    Well (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:35:38 AM EST
    no one had a problem with this kind of stuff as long as it was helping Obama in the Dem primary.

    Frankly, it will be a hard narrative to destroy,imho, because of Obama's dubious associations in Chicago. This is what happens when you, like Obama, try to campaign on personality and not issues. Even Hillary said that if you are going to fight McCain solely on the character issue you will lose. Too many people have already bought into the "maverick" label that it may be impossible to undo. So far, I haven't seen Obama be very successful when going up against McCain.


    The problem with your argument (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:23:57 AM EST
    Assuming you are correct and "Obama's dubious Chicago associations" reflect upon his character it does not follow that because Obama is of dubious character, McCain must therefore be of good character.

    It is possible both are of dubious character for different reasons and thus the issue is cancelled out. Usually this is how campaigns quickly degrade into slime fests. One attacks one sides character and the other responds accordingly. The truth is most people are not simple good and bad actors and to think voters do not recognize that, is an insult and dare I say an elitist view.

    I expect the GOP to attack Obama's character. Will it stick? Remains to be seen. I expect in response, Democrats will highlight the issues that reflect badly upon McCain. In the end, this election will not be simplistic good v. evil characterizations, because the vast majority of voters believe the US is deeply on the wrong track and a course correction is required. This does not mean the Democrat is a shoo in. But one has to recognize McCain is the one with the bad hand, the Jimmy Carter hand, this time.

    In 1988, voters were not nearly as upset with the economy, Bush 1, just had to show he was " a moderate" and raise doubts about Dukakis and Bush had the good fortune to have a bad campaigner as an opponent. This isn't that kind of election. McCain starts out in a hole with Iraq and the economy.

    In 1972, Nixon made the then calculation that no-one lost an election because of inflation and he thought he lost the 1960 election because the Fed cracked down on the economy. Do what you need to do to keep the economy going, raise doubts about McGovern and divide your opposition. Again, McCain starts out in the hole with the economy and Obama, so far, isn't McGovern.

    We can win, we should win, or we could find a way to blow it. So far so good.


    The problem (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:52:04 AM EST
    is that Obama is an unknown and his chicago associations will certainly be defining for him. After all, look what Wright did to him in the Dem primary. He really started cratering after Wright showed up and exit polls showed it as a reason that people would not vote for him.

    Keating is an issue (none / 0) (#147)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:23:09 PM EST
    if Obama can make it stick.  

    Keating? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:37:41 AM EST
    If one is to be judged by the company ones keeps, Charles Keating was a way bigger crook than Rezko.

    Did Keating (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:54:17 AM EST
    help McCain buy a mansion? And that was 20 years ago and there were some Dems that got caught up in it too. If this is the best that we have, it's pretty sad. In 2000 there were some Dems who even defended McCain against this charge.

    Keating is about as salient a story as whitewater would have been.


    It's something worth exploring with McCain (none / 0) (#82)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:56:49 AM EST
    There is a blend of Mafia and Real Estate in Arizona that is quite disturbing.

    The Beer money (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:58:14 AM EST
    and opposing MADD on underage drinking is pretty bad....

    Well (none / 0) (#87)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:00:19 AM EST
    at least you have something new to throw into the mix. A new story might get some coverage but talking about Keating is really a yawner. There's one thing that the media always does: attach to something new and shiny but it never dredges up old stories to repeat them again.

    Joe Klien (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:41:06 AM EST
    stated before Iowa  that Obama is scrupulously honest.   Obama even used it in an advert.

    So he's got his freinds in the media to carry all sorts of water for him.


    Riiiiight (none / 0) (#131)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:46:13 AM EST
    The fact that an idiot like Klein would say that any Politician is scrupulously honest says more about what a lying hack Klein is than it says anything about Obama.

    You make no sense. (none / 0) (#140)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:08:18 PM EST
    Obama used the quote from Klien in an Iowa advert.

    So (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by tek on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:47:11 AM EST
    let's take a survey.  How many people HONESTLY believe Barack Obama is a man of character?  Anybody?

    I think the old yardsticks for measuring candidates is out the window this time.  None of it applies.  IMHO, the far left and the DNC decided to latch onto Obama and turn him into what they want him to be.  Apparently the media is doing likewise. That's why we don't see any true analysis of Obama.

    "Folks haven't been reading their Bibles."  Barack Obama, Democrat


    Being a pol and having character (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:52:05 AM EST
    are mutually exclusive.

    This was as true for Lincoln and FDR as it is for McCain and Obama.

    Pol are vessels. The trick is to make that vessel be filled by the views you want to see becoming the governing policy of the nation.


    Always? Really? (none / 0) (#107)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:23:30 AM EST
    Mutually exclusive?

    Define character, then.


    Character comes in "good," (none / 0) (#128)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:39:24 AM EST
    "bad," "fair-to-middling," etc.

    A Person Of Greater Character (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:18:57 AM EST
    than many of the other politicians I see.

    But no politician has completely lived up to my highest expectations. Ever.

    Sometimes it seems to me that many people regard their connection with politicians as equivalent to their personal connections with friends, families and co-workers with corresponding demands for consistency, sincerity etc.

    I've never placed that weight on my bond with politicians. It's unrealistic. I set certain standards based on what I want from government. I have certain lines that if they get crossed, that kills my support. Public financing didn't bother me. FISA strains it. If he comes out anti choice, he's toast as far as my vote is concerned.


    Yes, but (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:23:23 AM EST
    Obama is supported by many of those same pols you dislike.

    What exactly has Obama done to show he has more character than the rest of them?


    Never Said I 'Disliked' Anyone (5.00 / 0) (#133)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:47:29 AM EST
    Just said I think he has greater character than some.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he further disappoints me and indicates he is not as principled as I'd like. As I said, the FISA thing moves me in that direction. And it wasn't the first such revelation to move me that way either.

    As for what he's done, I'm impressed with where he comes from and what unusual dimensions that brings to the table. Of course, that might mean nothing. I felt the same way about Bill Clinton's humbler/troubled roots and how far he came from that and he was not the leader I would have liked him to be either.

    I like the emphasis on grassroots organization and the shrewd way he's augmented traditional fundraisng and GOTV online--improving something Dean only scratched the surface with.

    And his views on all the important issues are generally the same as mine.

    That's why I support him.



    Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:27:40 PM EST
    seeing the dirty tricks used by some of his supporters, I have to say I'm disgusted by the grassroots organization.

    And that doesn't give him presidential credentials anyway.


    Credentials Are in the Eye of the Beholder (5.00 / 0) (#167)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:37:49 PM EST
    It does for me.

    Empowering and energizing at street level and stimulating bottom-up participation is at the core of my brand of politics.

    See it so seldom, of course...


    He didn't divorce a disabled wife (5.00 / 0) (#158)
    by MissBrainerd on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    he wasn't involved in a Savings and Loan scandal like McCain, a member of the Keating Five. His campaign advisor doesn't lobby for the world's worst dictators....

    I believe he is a man of character (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by MissBrainerd on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:23:44 AM EST
    I don't see how he is NOT.

    He is reframing religion so the media can stop the meme that DEMS don't have family values. (code for atheists) reminding people that Jesus was about love and compassion, NOT about passing laws against sinners like gay people who want to marry. I am not religious but the only way to defuse this crap is to embrace it.

    He only ever promised to negotiate with the GOP for public financing, but McCain say he can't and won't reign in the 527s and other groups, so, negotiations are over. This is not a flip-flop.


    This is nuts. (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:43:13 AM EST
    Obama's religion appears to be some sort of syncretic (and i quote patriotboy Jesus general) blend of you know what and you know what.

    TUCC is such low hanging friut for the GOP that your point seems absurd to me.


    You (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:56:47 AM EST
    might have a point if he hadn't spent 20 years at TUCC. His religious experience is NOT a positive and only secularists like you would think it is.

    Good grief. His stance on public financing IS a flip flop. I've seen the cache from his website.


    If Obama goes all evangelical (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:58:29 AM EST
    he's just painting a fat neon red bullseye on his arse.

    yep (5.00 / 5) (#91)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:03:14 AM EST
    and I don't understand why people don't see this. Obama has never explained why he stayed there for 20 years and no one believes he didn't know what was going on either.

    I see that (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:07:26 AM EST
    James Dobson, that "pillar" of the fundie community, thinks that Obama is distorting the bible.

    Guess he won't be voting for him.  :)


    On the Bible, Obama is very correct (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:38:50 AM EST
    and Dobson very wrong.  Just ask Jim Wallis.

    Who cares? (5.00 / 2) (#153)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:25:20 PM EST
    The last thing I want to see is a debate about biblical interpretation in a presidential campaign!!!

    A lot of voters care (none / 0) (#199)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:28:06 PM EST
    The way to defeat the Right is to defeat them in our churches.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#189)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:02:29 PM EST
    Just for the sake of argument, what if I don't agree that Jim Wallis is the ultimate arbiter of biblical issues?

    Then you don't agree.... (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:36:03 PM EST
    The point is that Democrats do not have to run against religion to win.  

    Many progressives (or liberals) are trying to take their churches back from the reactionary, authoritarian rule-mongers that can appear in any religion....(The Jewish faith fortunately has seemed to be more resistant to this type...)

    The Right generally rejects the Sermon on the Mount.  They are in many ways not Christian....Younger Evangelicals are much different than their parents--more tolerant of gay rights, more concerned about helping other people, and more concerned about the Environment....

    Dobson knows this and how effective Obama's views can be; hence, his huffing and puffing about the Bible.


    As Media Matters and others have (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Florida Resident on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:28:03 AM EST
    previously documented, the MSM have been McCain enablers forever regardless of any evidence that show his true colors.  IMO opinion this will continue throughout the GE, let's see how this plays in following months.

    McCain is the MSM's true love (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by myiq2xu on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:31:25 AM EST
    Obama was just a "spring fling"

    BTW - the media's motto is a quote from Emerson:

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

    McCain has made several (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by bjorn on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:32:42 AM EST
    decisions in the last two years to play to his base, to get his party's nomination.  Obama has done the same thing.  I think they are both men of integrity, as much as any politician could be anyway.  Obama is the better choice but I don't believe for one second that McCain would allow torture if he were commander in chief.  I think McCain and Obama are equally trustworthy and equally not trustworthy. In other words, don't expect too much greatness from either one.  But I don't think either one would allow torture under their presidency.

    Aquick read of McCain's Explanation (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by talex on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:56:53 AM EST
    makes some sense. I could be wrong as it was a quick read but he explicitly says that he voted no because of how the bill handled the CIA interrogation and that the CIA should be handled separately and most importantly that they should not violate any of the Geneva Conventions as to torture.

    So it seems that Marty Lederman may be doing what Cohen is being accused of here and that is bending the truth to favor their candidate.

    If anyone else reads McCain's explanation and finds me wrong then I welcome them to state why I read it wrong.

    I write this not as a supporter of McCain, I write this as a non-supporter of all the political BS and untruths that are written by both sides - particularly on the blogs by bloggers. We all know all the biased BS that was written about Clinton by Lefty's. We can expect the same to be done about McCain by the Left and about Obama by the other side. Myself I don't want to participate it that kind of behavior. The truth should be plenty enough for people of this nation to decide who they vote for.


    I read it quick too (5.00 / 3) (#135)
    by Grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:53:27 AM EST
    and that was kind of what I got out of it.  I think this was the key paragraph:

    The conference report would go beyond any of the recent laws that I just mentioned - laws that were extensively debated and considered - by bringing the CIA under the Army Field Manual, extinguishing thereby the ability of that agency to employ any interrogation technique beyond those publicly listed and formulated for military use. I cannot support such a step because I have not been convinced that the Congress erred by deliberately excluding the CIA. I believe that our energies are better directed at ensuring that all techniques, whether used by the military or the CIA, are in full compliance with our international obligations and in accordance with our deepest values. What we need is not to tie the CIA to the Army Field Manual, but rather to have a good faith interpretation of the statutes that guide what is permissible in the CIA program.

    He didn't believe the CIA should be tied to the Army Field Manal.  

    The rest of his statement still states that he is against torture, in particular, waterboarding.  


    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by talex on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:31:29 PM EST
    That's what I read also. I hate to see lefty blogs mischaracterize things like Lederman did and then see it echoed like it was here.

    A Pol is a Pol (none / 0) (#18)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:48:38 AM EST
    Both McCain and Obama are pols.

    Completely agree (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:33:42 AM EST

    Did you read Eric Alterman and George Zornick's article Loving John McCain

    They nail exactly what you are referring to...

    We've enjoyed him on The Daily Show, admired his courage in Vietnam and imagine we understand his appeal. Perhaps if we had all spent more time hanging, we would appreciate the senator's company, his hospitality and his eagerness to speak his mind in our presence as so much of the MSM has. It is even possible that we would call him John when speaking with him. And let's be honest, we cannot be certain that, were he still running against George W. Bush, we would not fall into the habit of referring to the McCain campaign as "we"--as in, "I hope we kill Bush"--which apparently happened with some frequency during McCain's unsuccessful 2000 run.

    But even though we might be taken with McCain personally, we would like to think that we would resist the urge to offer the sort of spontaneous testimonials to his character that have gushed from the pens of so many MSM journalists. These would include calling McCain "a cool dude" (Jake Tapper, Salon); "an original, imaginative, and at times inspiring candidate" (Jacob Weisberg, Slate); "a man of unshakable character, willing to stand up for his convictions" (the late R.W. Apple Jr., New York Times); "a man of intelligence, honor and enormous personal and political courage"

    He may be a swell guy but he has shown himself to be more than willing to kowtow to whomever will get him elected.  

    Maybe he once had integrity but he let go of whatever integrity he had after the 2000 primary.

    hmmm... (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by jeffhas on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:53:36 AM EST
    He may be a swell guy but he has shown himself to be more than willing to kowtow to whomever will get him elected

    ... and Obama hasn't?  


    Yes yes I know (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:57:25 AM EST
    Obama is awful.

    How bout we stick to discussing McCain in a McCain thread?  The merits and criticisms of Obama have no bearing on the integrity and character of John McCain.


    and that reasoning (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:24:02 AM EST
    right there is why Obama will lose.   the merits of McCain over Obama is exactly what this is about.

    Sure they do (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:28:28 AM EST
    Criticisms of McCain are worthless if they're something that's equally true about Obama or pretty much any other politician.

    If we wanted to read sanctimonious rhetoric about how the opposing candidate is the worst person ever, we could look to Kid Oakland or TINS for that tripe.  Stick to criticizing McCain for areas of actual difference between the candidates, not silly stuff like "he has no character because he sometimes does the bidding of political interest groups."  We aspire to be better than a bunch of rubes around here.


    Did you read (5.00 / 0) (#148)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:23:31 PM EST
    the premise of the diary?

    BTD was talking about the popular notion that McCain is a main of character. Integrity, character, straight shooter, maverick.  These are terms used to identify McCain and which the McCain camp cultivates.

    If these commonly used terms are wrong then why does it matter if they do or don't apply to Barack Obama?

    Can I argue that criticisms of Obama's change theme are silly because McCain uses the change theme as well?

    This thread is about John McCain.  It is not a compare and contrast thread between the 2 candidates.  That is nothing more than a deflection.


    The response (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:06:00 PM EST
    that you sought to rule off limits was a response to your comment, not to the diary.

    Criticizing McCain for doing the bidding of interest groups in order to get elected strikes me as extremely vacuous, because it's the same thing Obama and virtually every other politician does.  The fact that it may be a true statement when applied to McCain in a vacuum does not make it any less vacuous.


    You are equivocating (5.00 / 0) (#197)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:20:29 PM EST
    Is John McCain a man of integrity and character?  Yes or no?  That is the point of this diary and the question I specifically answered.

    Whether Barack Obama is a man of integrity and character is completely irrelevant to this discussion.  Whether he is more or less a man of character and integrity than John McCain is also not irrevelant.

    I don't understand why this is so complicated.  

    I am criticizing the image of McCain the Maverick who sticks to his guns because it is a completely false image.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:33:02 PM EST
    So if I think your specific critcism of McCain's character is intellectually vacuous, for the reason that it could equally well be lodged against Obama or any other politician, that means I believe John McCain is a man of integrity and character?

    Your arguments and comments get more childish every day.  It's like you expect us to play by Daily Kos rules where any argument whatsoever against McCain has to be applauded and agreed with, simply because he's the bad guy and we're the good guys.  That strikes me as very tedious.


    look. (none / 0) (#168)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:38:00 PM EST
    mccain's been working that reputation for two decades on the national scene.   he's bled to build that brand.  Obama might be able to undo it in a few months.  Maybe the media will help.  Maybe not.  Your carping wont.  

    This is what the intrinsic value of experience  means.  He's got a long standing public profile and reputation as a straight talker. Undo it if you can. If you can.


    i don't want to be insulting (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:55:15 AM EST
    but how old are you?  I've seen a few elections in my timeand I've seen your arguments before.   They are losing arguments.

    democrats must begin to contruct winning arguments--a winning argument is worth 3% of the vote all by itself.


    No, Obama hasn't. nt (none / 0) (#54)
    by MissBrainerd on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:30:56 AM EST
    Well (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:40:02 AM EST
    I really shouldn't have said "no one" but I should say the majority of Obama supporters and the Dem party in general. I stand corrected on that account. After the party let the MSM savage Hillary aren't we going to look like fools when we attack them for going after Obama? This is one area where we should mimic the GOP and not let the media go after any of our candidates.

    Partisan supporters often end up (3.00 / 2) (#21)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:50:54 AM EST
    looking like fools. That goes for people who have supported just about every candidate in memory. The point is to win and to promote the issues that you care about.

    Yeah (5.00 / 6) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:55:58 AM EST
    but it seems for Dems this election year it's about winning not about promoting issues.

    Right or Wrong (5.00 / 0) (#136)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:53:50 AM EST
    Many people seem to believe that Clinton's and Obama's positions on the major issues are either identical or close enough to be so. That's one reason issues discussions have gotten shorter shrift.

    And with the Dems, it's ALWAYS got to be about winning. Could use the practice.


    I think one has to have character (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:46:37 AM EST
    and integrity in order to identify it or recognize it in others, which means my reaction to Cohen labeling anyone a person of character or integrity is usually, "how the heck would you know?"

    John McCain is, above all else, a survivor.  Survivors do what they need to do to survive, and worry about the details later.  Survivors are not automatically "heroes."  The mentality that got McCain through his years as a POW is the same one that got him through cancer and the same one that is getting him through this campaign.

    What he has, that Obama does not seem to have, is toughness and a willingness to fight; neither of those qualities make him by extension a person of character or integrity - but it does mean that he doesn't give up.

    I think it's possible to have character and integrity and fight for what you believe in, but neither of these candidates is the complete package.  

    Richard Cohen is probably one of many opinion writers who will be touting McCain's sterling qualities, and sad to say, whether or not he has a clue what he is talking about, many will take it as truth, and Obama is going to come up short.

    Honestly (5.00 / 6) (#24)
    by Florida Resident on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:53:52 AM EST
    If we are going to expect the MSM to hold McCain accountable for every time he has changed his talk about a subject because of political gain, then we better get ready for them to do the same thing to Obama.  If they do, we will come back with the Pols are Pols mantra?  What is good for the gooses is good for the gander, this road will only lead to who is the MSM's true love.

    Integrity - A man of character (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:02:33 AM EST
    IMO neither candidate fits that description. After this week, when the Democrats confirm that there will be no repercussions for any president breaking the law, neither candidate will relinquish all the power that Bush accumulated. The law will be whatever President McCain or President Obama decides it will be. Both have proven that any previous commitment to a so called principle or stated position is as flexible as it needs to be to result in them gaining the presidency.  

    MO Blue, ... (1.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:29:19 AM EST
    ... do you also render your verdict after the opening statement in a criminal case? Seems to me that you are prejudging Barack Obama on FISA without knowing what he will do or what he has planned.

    That is a prejudgment that a Republican might happily make since we know McCain is going to vote "yes" on FISA and implement the snot out of its protections if he were ever President. What, with all the telecom lobbyists on his payroll and all ....


    we don't know (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:35:29 AM EST
    that's the point.

    Ah, Tortmaster (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:40:51 AM EST
    The commenter who yesterday equated Obama either voting for the compromise - or voting "no" so late that it won't matter to moving to the center.

    And a general election ... (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Tortmaster on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:25:51 PM CST
    ... candidate moving to the center surprises you, why?

    Excuse me if I do not particurly respect your opinion.

    A lot of blah blah (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:28:03 AM EST
    in your quotes, all of which is irrelevant to the point I'm making.

    As I said, I don't in the least dispute that McCain has pandered on all kinds of issues.

    I pointed to another fact though: that at least on some issues, he genuinely took a principled stand, campaign finance reform, for example.

    As I said, that rather meager amount of independence already sets him apart from the pols are pols crowd.

    Where's the like from Obama?

    I claim it simply doesn't exist.

    So, actual proof of McCain's ... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:38:51 AM EST
    ... pandering, with actual quotes of actual things McCain has done and then flip-flopped on is "blah, blah, blah"?

    Barack Obama came out against the war when everyone else was authorizing it, including John "the maverick" McCain. John McSame was pushing Bush into the war as early as 2000, and McCain joined the huge majority of Senators who voted for the Iraqi War.  

    Obama came out early to get the troops out safely from Iraq -- before any of the other major Democratic candidates (apologies to Kucinich).

    Barack Obama was the only Presidential candidate of either party to call for an investigation of the Duke Rape case -- even though that went squarely against his base at the time. McCain was nowhere to be seen on the issue.  

    Obama has said he would avoid the Orwell 1984 diplomacy of fear and actually speak to unfriendly nations. McCain has said he would "bomb, bomb, bomb, ... bomb, bomb, Iran."

    Barack Obama has said he would not be in favor of a gas tax because it would hurt the American people. McCain, of course, jumped on that pandering loser of an issue.  


    He flip-flopped on campaign finance (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:35:51 AM EST

    He took out a loan using public money for the primary as collateral.  Then, after he got the loan and actually won, he opted out of the system for the primary.  Looks like situational ethics to me.

    Is there one maverick position that McCain still holds....If so, it would be an exception....He is running to the right while liberals go ga-ga over his maverick positions....


    I have no idea if (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by talex on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:28:36 AM EST
    you are a Lefty. I suspect you are not. And my reference to Lefty's was to those who wrote BS about Clinton. Can't you read?

    lol (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:50:51 AM EST
    I've read his books and come out even more confused about him.

    Go away and use the website talking point elsewhere.

    This bullying (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:22:47 AM EST
    and name-calling by Obama supporters is having exactly the opposite effect they want.

    Just sayin'.

    I am (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:33:55 AM EST
    not voting for either if you must know. And as far as my posts go, I call them like I see them. It's too bad that so many people want to continually make excuses for Obama.

    I see Obama as another Jimmy Carter.

    it's fascinating seeing these arguments. (none / 0) (#162)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:33:11 PM EST
    I can't see a future in sales for the the Obama supporters on here.

    I actually think you should consider Obama. Give the guy a second chance. Ignore the halfwitted supporter's evasions of arguments and give him the benefit of the doubt one more time.   It's interesting that your comments are not seen as an invitation for these guys to up the quality of their argument for Obama.

    Instead we see a spiral down into the POW story. here are some qualified positives:

    Obama has made tentative steps toward cutting off the war in rhetoric.

    He's made a healthcare proposal that goes further than Kerry's.

    he's moderately entertaining if a bit arrogant.

    he is pragmatic, so he's not going to do anything particularly dangerous.

    He intellectually understand that he's got to be some sort of unifying figure, even though he's not quite worked out how to do that and embody it.

    So there's starting material there for a reasonable nominee.


    Interesting little tidbit (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:39:14 AM EST
    Maybe I'm reading this too fast and missing sections of it, but I clicked on the original link and got this story:

    Senator McCain Condemns Torture -- But Votes Against the Bill That Would Prevent It

    In that story, it says that it concerns this bill (incorrectly inked in the story): H.R. 2082 (Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)  

    That story (on Balkinization) states this:

    By contrast, Senator Clinton supports the Feinstein amendment, and [UPDATED] Senator Obama does, too (see Answer No. 7).

    Yet, if you look at who voted that day, neither Obama or Clinton showed up to vote...??

    Someone want to explain this?  Am I reading something wrong?  

    Why would someone (none / 0) (#190)
    by Grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:02:46 PM EST
    troll rate this without explaining why I am incorrect?  

    The record shows that neither Obama or Clinton showed up to vote on HR 2082.  

    Saying you are for something but not showing up to vote for it is as good as being against it!  


    People like you? (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Faust on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    "People like you" use the phrase "people like you" an awful lot.

    Oh please.... (5.00 / 0) (#155)
    by MissBrainerd on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:27:05 PM EST
    The anti-Obama people here, and that seems to be most of the leftovers from the primary, can make all the sweeping statements they want (Obama has no character, Obama never this, Obama always that....ad nauseum) but a supporter simply says she believes he is man of character, and you have to be snide.

    I believe from what I see and read and I see and read almost everything, that he is a man of character. I think you only asked for a poll or survey, and I say YES.

    So isn't the real issue (4.83 / 6) (#13)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:44:57 AM EST
    who has less character, McCain, or Obama?

    Can't even begin to see an argument that, between the two, Obama is the one who's displayed more character, more strength of conviction to principles, throughout his political life.

    And that's the way the issue is going to be cast -- and rightly so.

    Let's put it this way (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:49:24 AM EST
    I can think of a least a few issues -- campaign finance reform, for example -- where McCain parted company with what his party wanted, and what served best his political ambitions?

    Where is there in the entirety of Obama's political life such an act of independence? Remember: when the opposed the Iraq war, he was nothing more than a State Senator representing one of the most liberal, anti-war districts in all of America.


    Gas tax holiday (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by cannondaddy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:56:49 AM EST
    Polls show most people favor it, but Obama sees that it would be at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive.

    That's it? (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:58:31 AM EST
    The gas tax holiday?

    That's what Obama's case for "character" is reduced to?


    Not the only example (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by cannondaddy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:28:43 AM EST
    you said you couldn't think of one.

    Banning lobbyists was actually very unpopular for many of the downticket candidates.

    Praising Republicans instead of demonizing their every action was politically unpopular...

    Acknowledging that welfare may have contributed to the decline of the black family is not a common statement for Democrats to make...


    Very weak gruel (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:00:34 PM EST
    To his credit, sponsoring a campaign finance bill, and fighting for it very prominently, was a major act of independence for McCain. Likewise, his stands on immigration were very unpopular with the base he needed to win over if he were to become the Republican nominee.

    There's nothing on that scale -- nothing -- in Obama's background that suggests he's got anything in him allowing him to take a strong principled stand in which he takes real political heat.


    Escept McCain bailed on those issues (5.00 / 0) (#161)
    by CST on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:32:43 PM EST
    He didn't care a what about campaign finance reform in the primary.  He only cared when it made the other guy look bad.

    Also, McCain sold out immigration reform during the primary.

    Every issue where McCain took a politically hard stand he flipped.  Tax cuts, off-shore drilling, torture, habeus corpus, campaign finance in the primary, and immigration.

    Obama's flip list is nothing compared to McCain's.

    McCain hasn't made one maverick move since running for president and he sold out everything he once stood for.  Obama at least has the gas tax, while not that big a deal, is one more than McCain can claim today.


    McSame doesn't just flip... (5.00 / 0) (#179)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:47:49 PM EST
    ...he's a world class gymnist the way he contorts himself.  Send him to the Olympics and he'd win a gold medal.

    the revival of the flip flop (none / 0) (#178)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:47:31 PM EST
    It worked fo rBush in 2004. Will it work again?

    When did pragmatism and pandering become dirty words?  When Bush took office.


    The only stand Mccain has not (5.00 / 0) (#187)
    by cannondaddy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    backtracked on is immigration.  And now he downplays that. He's backpeddled abortion (in cases of rape and incest), torture, tax cuts, environment.  Is it really a taking stand if you always backdown?

    It's quite true that Mccain (none / 0) (#176)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:46:00 PM EST
    is generally hated by ultra-conservatives that I have met. His support tends to come from the bipartisan types in the public.  

    He's stuck by the occupation and war in Iraq. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:37:43 AM EST
    Inspite of polling he's not blinked once.   One way or another the US will be fighting there, and Mccain believes in it, obama will fighththere but has no faith in the fight.

    To put it still another way (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:57:28 AM EST
    as BTD says, pols are pols, and must be evaluated by the rather low standards of "independence" applicable to pols.

    Yes, McCain has been a terrible flip-flopper on all manner of issues. Likewise, Obama even in exceedingly short political life has managed to do the same.

    But at least McCain has some issues he can point to that show some independence. By the standards applicable to pols, that's pretty impressive.

    Where are such issues for Obama? I claim they simply don't exist.

    That's the difference -- and, I think, the truth.


    McCain (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:27:43 AM EST
    can no longer point to any issue that makes him an independant maverick.  It's all hype.

    McCain has rerversed himself on all the issues that made him a "maverick."  Count the reversals:

       1.  The environment--drilling causes many little spills that neve make the news and befoul the oceans...

       2.  Immigration.  He will no longer even vote for his own bill.

       3.  Torture.  It is okay as long as the CIA does it.  McCain voted against Feinsteins propoasl that would have barred torture by all U.S. agencies including the CIA.

       4.  Taxes.  He is now in favor of tax cuts for the rich.

       5.  Campaign finance reform.  He used his anticipated public financing money as collateral for a loan (isn't that opting "in"), then backed away from public financiy in the Primary.  No maverick honor there.....

    McCain has abandoned his maverick positions across the board.  Name one maverick position he still holds....

    McCain is a standard-issue, doctrinaire conservative.    


    I have to repeat again? (none / 0) (#103)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:18:20 AM EST
    Look, I'm not saying McCain hasn't flip flopped all over the place in the last few years.

    But at least on some issues he has, in the past, taken a principled stand.

    That, for a politician, is something.

    Where's the like for Obama?

    There ain't no like, is the problem.


    No, McCain's Problem (none / 0) (#159)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:31:18 PM EST
    for this voter is that he DOESN'T flipflop on Iraq. He proposes leaving American forces there a la Germany and Kores (as if) for decades.

    I don't engage in politics to find a leader to respect for their stalwart advocacy of unpopular issues. I look for someone to vote for who will best promote my values through their leadership. Especially if they manage to get anything done.

    No doubt about it, both parties let me down a lot of the time. I have every reason to believe I will be less disappointed by Obama than McCain.


    One would wish (none / 0) (#172)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:43:02 PM EST
    there had been flip flopping.  I like it when people modify arguments and crystalize th egood and dispose of the dross.

    I'm Glad You Like That (none / 0) (#181)
    by daring grace on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:50:24 PM EST
    I have no idea what you're referring to, but as long as you liked something...

    exactly! (4.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Josey on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:04:16 AM EST
    Obama has always taken the easy road with his votes.
    No independence. No maverick.

    Hey Frankly0, you can put ... (2.33 / 3) (#31)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
    ... that in McCain's next speech!  ;)

    It is sad that you would deprecate a stance taken by Obama that (a) swam against the then-current mainstream, and (b) would have saved thousands of lives, America's stature around the world and possibly our economy.


    I repeat (5.00 / 7) (#35)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:03:23 AM EST
    when Obama came out against the war, it was the politically expedient thing for him to do. Given how anti-war his district obviously was (think of how a pro-war or even neutral position might have been taken in Rev Wright's church, for example), he was doing the far safer thing by coming out against the war.

    There's no way to turn that act into a Profile of Courage.

    And the question here is: where's the sign of character -- of strength of conviction -- in Obama?


    Obama likely did not want (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:30:24 AM EST
    to remain in the state senate all his life...

    Taking a stand that was very much a finge position back then, and doing so very publicly, risked his future career beyond state senate....If he had been wrong, he would have been finished politically....


    Please (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:16:06 AM EST
    The vast majority of the Illinois congressional delegation voted against the AUMF.

    Dick Durbin, Obama's now fellow Democratic Senator from IL voted against the AUMF.

    At the time of his famous speech (not in the least considered significant or remarkable at the time, given that no one reported on it) Obama was merely a State Senator, entertaining notions of running for the US Senate -- he didn't even declare his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate until the following year. Those are the simple facts.

    It would be good if you were to stick to the facts when it comes to Obama's speech, instead of hagiography.


    Half the Dem party isn't fringe. (none / 0) (#61)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:39:37 AM EST
    what's more disturbing is the Responsible pull out, which suggests he's going to fiht a way for longer and fight a war that he's got no faith in.

    Half the Democratic Party (none / 0) (#79)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:55:11 AM EST
    would be only 25% of the country--did not include any other Presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

    20% (5.00 / 0) (#116)
    by cannondaddy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:31:16 AM EST
    40% of Americans identify themselves as Democrats.

    go through the votes on IWR (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:11:45 PM EST
    Not that I give a rats about that vote. About half the Senate party opposed it and most of the House opposed it. Mmmkay.

    From what I've heard, (none / 0) (#70)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:45:39 AM EST
    Obama did not seek the nomination.

    The dem leadership needed a candidate and they settled on him, probably because he didn't have much of a record to criticize.

    Of course, that is also causing some problems for him as voters wonder what he does support.


    Yes, pie... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:11:14 AM EST
    he was drafted by the 'leadership' but not because he had little history, although that turns out to be a plus as well as a minus - everyone does the math a little differently on that one.

    They chose him because he is black -- the only possible candidate who could accuse the Clintons of racism, make it stick with AAs and take that solid support away from Hillary...the only possible way to beat her this cycle.

    And it worked, wouldn't you say?

    So, in a 'character fight' I'm going to keep such behavior in mind.  Pols will be pols, yes...but there are limits.  The Obama campaign reached mine with race baiting and sexism.  No one wins my vote that way.  No one.  Ever.


    Got any evidence of that (none / 0) (#77)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:53:47 AM EST
    I haven't heard anything that would support that asssertion.

    Just a few facts to (none / 0) (#132)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:47:20 AM EST
    throw in the way of your argument (from The New Republic):

    It is commonly held that Hillary Clinton simply blew with the political winds by supporting the Senate war resolution--she allegedly feared looking "weak" on national security--while Obama took a bold risk. In a September 26, 2007, debate at Dartmouth College, Obama congratulated himself for "telling the truth to the American people even when it's tough, which I did in 2002, standing up against this war at a time where it was very unpopular. And I was risking my political career, because I was in the middle of a U.S. Senate race."

    At a minimum, that's an overstatement. With war looming in the fall of 2002, Obama was preparing a long-shot run for an open U.S. Senate seat, which he would not formally announce until the following January. At least two other Democrats were also gearing up, including a wealthy white businessman. Obama's best shot at the Democratic nomination involved consolidating a coalition of lakefront liberals and African Americans. "He knew, and I knew, that the liberal progressives were key in any Democratic primary," says Dan Shomon, Obama's then-campaign manager. Shomon insists politics were secondary to Obama's sincere antiwar ardor. Still, though it may have been unpopular to oppose the war in Washington, that was not the case among liberals in Chicago--among the first cities to pass an antiwar resolution. (Obama also had an interest in pleasing Saltzman. The spunky grandmother was an important local ally who has since raised more than $50,000 for his campaign.)

    Nor was opposing the war likely to threaten Obama in a general election. Illinois is a reliably blue state, carried easily by Al Gore and John Kerry. The state's only Democratic senator at the time, Dick Durbin (as well as eight of Illinois's nine Democrats in the House), ultimately opposed the Iraq resolution. Moreover, Obama was a long-shot U.S. Senate candidate likely to lose and remain in his liberal Hyde Park State Senate district, probably among the nation's least pro-war enclaves.

    There's no reason to think that Obama's war position was anything but sincere. But, given how many people have noted the perceived political calculation of Clinton's vote for the Iraq resolution, it's only fair to note that Obama's war position happened to dovetail with his own ambitions. Moreover, even Shomon concedes that Obama discussed the politics of his speech beforehand. "What about the people that are for the war?" Obama asked him. "Am I gonna have damage politically?"

    but, frankly-o, (none / 0) (#63)
    by sancho on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:40:53 AM EST
    have you seen obama's staged re-enactment of his famous "no to power, don't go to war" speech? powerful stuff. once you see that, you'll recognize true character in action. seriously, in practice, as opposed to in recreation, obama's strognest stands have been against democrats and democratic constituencies. the same has been true of mccain and republicans. who will betray whose supporters more when he gets to the white house? that may be the question for informed voters to ponder.

    If ever there were a pundit past his sell-by date, (4.50 / 2) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:30:18 AM EST
    it would be Richard Cohen.

    Uh (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:33:07 AM EST
    I can think of a several others. Tough competition to determine the worst.  

    Sure (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:36:36 AM EST
    but Cohen is among the ranks of those who haven't had an original idea since the first Bush Administration--if ever.

    Ranks? (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:09:32 AM EST
    Original ideas and popularity do not mix so well, I would say that "journalists" like Cohen are a dime a dozen. He is more pompous than many though.

    Truth be told I have only read his garbage no more than ten times in my life, it always seemed like a waste of time.


    You don't want this election to be about character (4.40 / 10) (#14)
    by OxyCon on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:45:01 AM EST
    Trust me.

    "God damn America!"
    "US of KKK"
    "Greedy white men"
    "White folks' greed runs a world in need"
    "I wish we blew up more federal buildings"

    No, you do not want this election to be about character, because for every little gutter dwelling nugget Cliff Schecter dug up on McCain, you will NEVER find anything as disgusting as what Obama willingly associated himself with for twenty years.

    Charlie Black (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by cannondaddy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:59:11 AM EST
    I think Charlie Black has inflicted much more harm on this world.

    The apotheosis (4.33 / 3) (#40)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:13:20 AM EST
    of St. John is based on willful blindness by a compliant media.

    This statement by Cohen can be misleading.

    As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.

    Within a few days of his captivity, McCain had signed a confession and was appearing in numerous propaganda videos.....All POWS crack and so did McCain--there is no wrong here....But to suggest, as perhaps Cohen is, that McCain stood up to the North Vietnamese is wrong.

    McCain did refuse early release unless all others were released at the same time.  Very commendable.  What many civilians miss here is that many other POWs refused early release as well.  McCain was not unique.....And there has been some evidence that there may have been a direct order from McCain's commanding U.S. officer to refuse early release.

    The other aspect of press fawning, which has its roots in press unfamiliarity with the military, is to suggest that McCain's time as a POW somehow constitutes military experience or even foreign policy experience.  It does not.....It is experience as a POW....

    And as to McCain's sense of pride and honor, they were not on display when he said (in the last campaign) that he was okay with the Confederate flag flying over state capitials--and he acknowledges that it was a pander....

    Oil drilling--another pander......It will never happen--because it requires an act of Congress....which will never happen. McCain's reversals are head spinning....No maverick is he.

    Diminishing someone's captivity is revolting (5.00 / 7) (#57)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:37:05 AM EST
    Really, whoever you think this is helping, just stop it.

    McCain did refuse early release unless all others were released at the same time.  Very commendable.  What many civilians miss here is that many other POWs refused early release as well.  McCain was not unique.....And there has been some evidence that there may have been a direct order from McCain's commanding U.S. officer to refuse early release.

    What you're doing is disgusting. This kind of blithe, intellectual armchair dismissal or reduction of abuse to a quantity to crunch is simply wrong. Judging anyone's "quality" during captivity and torture is repugnant in the extreme.


    Yeah (5.00 / 8) (#66)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:42:05 AM EST
    I am also not on board with taking shots at McCain's actions during his time as a POW.  It's no different from questioning John Kerry's medals.

    It Is Different (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:03:38 AM EST
    Than Kerry. McCain's main schtick is that he is a war hero and that experience will make him a better POTUS, and CIC than Obama, during war time, which is seemingly perpetual these days.

    McCain's medals were won automatically and there were not two witnesses to vouch for his heroic deeds. He had only 20 hours of combat experience as well.

    Swiftboating is one thing and I do not advocate anything along those lines. But I do believe it is fair game to seperate McCain the mythic hero from the facts of his service.

    Wes Clark explains it well.


    I don't agree (5.00 / 4) (#97)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:08:38 AM EST
    It's hard to argue that John Kerry didn't make his Vietnam service a fundamental pillar of his campaign.  I assume we watched the same convention.

    Talking about how the guy supposedly signed a confession as a POW or whatever is just a major turnoff for me.  And if it has that sort of visceral reaction on me, an utterly partisan Democrat, it's worth taking a few moments to think about how others will view it before deciding "it's our solemn obligation to get the truth out about McCain's time as a POW."


    Disagree (5.00 / 0) (#129)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:41:56 AM EST
    I am with Clark on this, and certainly not interested in making up stuff that is not true, as the swiftboaters did to Kerry, about McCain.

    His war record cannot be off limits, imo. When it comes to McCain one of the first things that comes to mind, for most people, is that he is a veteran POW, the same was not true of Kerry at this point in his campaign.

    And Kerry's war history should not have been off limits either, but to hiring swiftboat liars like, Bob Perry, Roger Stone and Karl Rove in order to distort and lie is wrong.  


    McCain is not likely (none / 0) (#170)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:41:14 PM EST
    to talk much about Vietnam, if he's smart.

    Let other do that.   Like yourself. He'd be a fool to stage his convention in th emanner that kerry did.   That was a bullseye painted on kerry's arse.  Kerry was also in trouble because he was both warrior and peace activist--simultaneuosly taking credit for herism in uniform and credit for opposing the war he had fought in.

    That in retrospect, may have been a confusing message, even if Kerry was a noble sort of chap.


    So, you agree (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:21:06 AM EST
    that posting things here that could hurt Democrats in the general election is a bad thing and to be avoided, right?

    So, no criticism of Obama that is divisive or counterproductive should be posted here?....


    Huh? (5.00 / 3) (#195)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:10:50 PM EST
    People can post whatever the heck they want, subject  to the determination of the moderators.

    People whose chief interest lies in persuading people to vote for Obama should, it seems to me, think through whether their comments are more or less likely to have that effect.

    I believe very few Obama supporters have standing to lecture Clinton supporters on the importance of avoiding rhetoric that impairs Democratic chances in November, which is why I think you should drop this line of argument about now.


    McSnake in the cockpit is kinda funny (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:21:05 PM EST
    Or McPrangs.  

    But The MKS fellow must know something. My Granddad was a POW (captured as a machine gunner 1918 during the Kaiser Schlacht)and he worked in the German coal mines in ww1 as a POW.  He came home admiring the way they treated captured soldiers and mine workers.

    When he worked as an Engineer in ww2 he did bomb disposal during the blitz in London and planned out the American camps that were built in southern England. Later on he was involved in cleaning up Bergen-Belsen.  At that point he had developed a very different opinion of the Germans treatment of prisoners. POW stuff is quite an education.  You know a society by the way they treat prisoners.

    i just don't know where your arguments lead man.  You sound like an LGFer who still obsesses over Kerry's military record.


    You miss my point (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:47:39 AM EST
    I have stated facts and placed them into context.....

    The military does this all the time in judging to whom to award medals, etc....

    If you want to paint him a saint without looking at all the facts, then you are doing a disservice to all the other POWs.

    If you want to deify McCain--and many liberals do--then go ahead with your approach.  McCain is running on his status as a POW....He puts it into his commericials....he refers to it in interviews....

    Cohen's position in the article that BTD links to is at bottom based on McCain's being a POW, not his position on issues, most all of which he has reversed....It is the trump card--no matter the shameless pandering--McCain is a man of honor because he was a POW.


    'If you want to paint him a saint' (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    It doesn't matter if we're talking about the worst human ever.

    Think about what you're attempting to parse here. You're not just being wilfully obtuse but inhumane.

    I'm not going to quibble this. Over and out.


    I am attempting (5.00 / 0) (#98)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:10:17 AM EST
    to provide some context--I do not question that McCain suffered or refused early release.  

    I do have a problem with deifying McCain--and using that deification as a basis of insulating him against criticism for his current positions....


    Do you know what Admiral Stockdale did ... (5.00 / 0) (#100)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:15:08 AM EST
    ... while a POW in Vietnam?

    "When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, Stockdale beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. He told them in no uncertain terms that they would never use him."

    I admire the man, but he would have made a very horrible V-P.


    Medal of Honor (5.00 / 0) (#109)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:25:54 AM EST
    The Medal of Honor generally isn't given to officers....especially not high ranking ones...You have to do something very extraordinary as an officer to receive the Medal of Honor...

    To be clear (none / 0) (#89)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:03:01 AM EST
    You agreed, surely, that it was fair game to question whether John Kerry really earned his medals?

    Not the same (none / 0) (#96)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:07:55 AM EST
    I am not saying that McCain wasn't a POW, or that he acted dishonorably while in captivity....I commend him for what he did....There are those on the right who do criticize him.  I don't question any of the statements about McCain's captivity.

    What I do is say that one should look at all the facts and not deify McCain.


    You're rabid. (5.00 / 3) (#143)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:13:27 PM EST
    God (5.00 / 5) (#196)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:12:44 PM EST
    Going on about how McCain signed a confession and participated in propaganda videos, and then coming back with "I'm not saying he acted dishonorably," is about as pathetically disingenuous as it gets.

    I am ashamed to share a party label with a smear artist like you.  You are no different from the Republicans with their Purple Heart band-aids.


    Yes (5.00 / 4) (#75)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:53:17 AM EST
    And then there are the lovely commentaries that make fun of him for hitting his head on a doorway and whether his cancer has or has not returned.

    Sophomoric, ineffective, and Rovian in nature. Why can't they critique his policies without being so juvenile and disgusting?


    Why can't you critique his policies ... (none / 0) (#102)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:16:40 AM EST
    ... at all?

    I certainly can (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:24:03 AM EST
    I deplore most of his policies. But these juvenile personal character attacks, including demeaning his age, laughing about cancer, and diminishing his POW behavior are unconvincing and stoopid.

    Democrats are supposed to be different from republicans, remember? Oh wait, I forgot.


    Since we are on a thread ... (5.00 / 0) (#115)
    by Tortmaster on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:30:17 AM EST
    ... discussing the problems with McCain, why don't you elaborate about the problems with McCain -- instead of deploring the tactics of people who are discussing the problems of McCain.  

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:34:47 AM EST
    I'll respond to whatever I feel like responding to, thanks anyway for the commenting instructions.

    His time in the military and as a (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:36:25 PM EST
    POW are the easiest to put out there and for the public to latch onto. Take that away or reduce it down as you have, he STILL has more experiencethan Obama and it's experience many can understand. 22yrs as a naval aviator and

    Senator McCain's last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the naval liaison to the United States Senate. John retired from the Navy in 1981. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    and in the Senate he's a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee among other things:

    Member, Council on Foreign Relations, 1997-present

    Senate Co-Chair, National Security Caucus

    And Obama?


    yeah but there's the fresh conviction. (1.00 / 0) (#88)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:00:45 AM EST
    The warning shot that Rezko uttered that Fitz is looking into Obama's activities...Why did rezko mention obama at teh sentencing hearing, d'yah think?

    perhaps.... (1.00 / 0) (#130)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:45:21 AM EST
    McCain felt that the Feinstein amendment went to far...

    did he release a statement when he voted against the amerndment?

    The demonization of John McCain bears remarkable parallels to the demoninzation of Hillary Clinton that we saw during the last six months.

    o_0 (none / 0) (#202)
    by Faust on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 02:11:56 PM EST
    Well (1.00 / 0) (#144)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:18:11 PM EST
    Obama has the same attitude that his supporters have toward the voters. Feh, more condescension. Why am I not surprised?

    The way I see it (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:48:24 AM EST
    pols are pols.  if this is what mccain feels he needs to do to get himself elected, then that's his job.

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:50:21 AM EST
    And it is our ob to make him pay a political price for it. Well, if you think torture is bad. If you don't, well, carry on.

    If the price is my vote (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:03:52 AM EST
    then its a price I can impose on any politician who so flagrantly offends an issue I care about.

    torture (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:07:47 AM EST
    didnt we just hear something about pols doing and saying whatever they need to get elected?
    do we think McCain is somehow different?
    how can anyone think a guy who lived through 5 years of torture is "for torture".
    it doesnt seem credible to me.
    along with several other positions he has taken recently.  the fact is BOTH are and will continue to say what they need to say.
    it will come down to trust.

    Talk Is Cheap (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:48:28 AM EST
    But votes count. McCain votes for torture.

    This is so interesting (none / 0) (#174)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:44:33 PM EST
    will this come up in debate oris this just for the TL board of Lawyers?

    sounds like Dick (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:00:07 AM EST
    didnt get the media darling memo.

    Arizona is a right to work state (none / 0) (#76)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:53:21 AM EST
    Which should tell you everything you need to know about Napolitano and Mccain.

    So is Florida (none / 0) (#152)
    by MichaelGale on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:24:47 PM EST
    therefore you would have to discount Bill Nelson, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles along with Jeb Bush and Tom Sweeney.

    Let's face it, when it comes to politicians (none / 0) (#119)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:32:24 AM EST
    character shouldn't be a major determining factor when choosing a candidate.  Everyone panders.  IMO, we should stick to facts in evidence only, i.e. actual voting history, special interest contributions, and where applicable, personal experience.  Yes he voted against it, but since he was actually held prisoner (which I never have been, as well as I'm sure many who post here, not to mention voters....) he'd probably get the benefit of the doubt on this issue from voters.

    When is pandering not pandering? (none / 0) (#122)
    by Radix on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:36:11 AM EST
    Or, in other words, when is a flip-flop not a flip-flop? Well Sherman, when it is done by a person of honor and integrity, of course. The rules of argumentation require a person to change their stance or opinion, if said stance or opinion are proven to be invalid. This change of position does not denote weakness, rather, strength of character. In the current press narrative, which pol comes to mind when the terms, honor and integrity are used? I expect we'll be seeing more of this type of argument, as it applies to McCain, in the near future.

    I am (none / 0) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:37:30 AM EST
    looking at it logically. A candidate who people feel they "know" is less likely to be defined by this kind of stuff that a complete unknown like Obama. That's pretty much been proven general election after general election.

    Talk to some voters. McCain has been on the national scene since 2000 and no one had even heard of Obama until 4 years ago. Which one do you think is more easily defined?

    I'm sorry (none / 0) (#137)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:59:31 AM EST
    but I reject the "it won't work this time" scenario. And you have to realize that people dislike the Democratic congress as much as if not more than Bush. Simply relying on the sour mood of the public isn't a strong strategy imo. I didn't say that Obama can't win, my thought has always been it's going to be close. The problem that Obama has is that people are resistant to his presidency even with the "sour mood of the public." After all, why isn't he 20 pts ahead at this juncture if he has so much going for him?

    See election of 1980 (5.00 / 0) (#156)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:27:31 PM EST
    Mood was very sour but it wasn't until the last few weeks when Reagan pulled comfortably ahead.

    Reagan's job then (as is Obama's now) was to convince the voters staying the course was more risky than taking a chance on a relative unknown. Reagan was considered an extreme rightwinger in 1980.

    Obama's job is to make McCain the status quo and make people feel that staying the course is more risky than change. He may fail at this.

    I am not sure if you are mischaracterizing my position. I didn't say Obama can't lose. I explicitly stated he might.


    Reagan (none / 0) (#164)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:34:19 PM EST
    pulled ahead because of the desert one debacle.

    What does that have to do with you thesis? (5.00 / 0) (#169)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:38:19 PM EST
    You asked why Obama wasn't 20 points ahead. I pointed to the election that most closely matches this one, noting Reagan didn't pull ahead until the last weeks of the campaign, notwithstanding the sour public mood.

    Your point doesn't help your thesis. Arguably the debacle supports mine -the risk of staying the course seemed greater to the voters than the risk of change.


    Actually (5.00 / 0) (#180)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:48:19 PM EST
    it doesn't if there's some eruption prior to voting in Nov. It could turn people against Obama especially if it's a national security crisis.

    I do see your point w/r/t polling though. The mood was sour but remember that Carter was almost reelected. Desert one was the reason that people decided to take a chance on reagan is my point.


    I think we found common ground (5.00 / 0) (#194)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:08:58 PM EST
    I think he is not ahead by (none / 0) (#171)
    by independent voter on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:42:14 PM EST
    20 points right now because so many Hillary supporters have not gotten behind him. In fact, I think it is quite good that he leads, and has led McCain since the end of the primaries. I expect his lead will grow over the next couple of months.

    Actually (5.00 / 2) (#182)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 12:50:51 PM EST
    I dont' think it's going to get any easier for Obama than it has been. The press is starting to turn on him and the ads are going to start coming out. Many Hillary voters will not get behind him because he is seen as unqualified to be President. That's something that can't be changed.

    Ga6thDem, I don't see the media... (none / 0) (#203)
    by AX10 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:17:34 PM EST
    turning on Obama.
    CNN and MSNBC have been kissing his rear end day after day after day.  The same with the NY Times and the AP.