Saturday :: Mar 22, 2008

Crying Fits and Joe McCarthy

by eriposte

In my previous post, I talked about a recent Obama surrogate implosion (Zbigniew Brzezinski). Now we have another. General Tony McPeak - a key advisor and co-chair of Sen. Obama's campaign:

General Tony McPeak, a co-chair of the Obama campaign, and a former Chief of Staff of the United States Airforce in the Clinton Administration, President Clinton's comments on patriotic Americans Friday to Joe McCarthy.  

"I think it's horrible. I'm really disappointed because I worked for President Clinton, you know?" McPeak said when asked by reporters.

"We know Barack Obama don't we? Do we think Barack Obama loves America? Is this stupid or what?" he demanded of the press surrounding him.

"It sounds more like McCarthy. I grew up, I was going to college when Joe McCarthy was accusing good Americans of being traitors, so I've had enough of it," he added.

Previously, Bill Clinton was only a racist and now he's also like Joe McCarthy? In fact, let's look at what Bill Clinton actually said (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

Some are suggesting that the following remark by President Clinton was intended as a personal attack:

I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics

Actually, as is indicated by the quote itself, President Clinton was talking about the need to talk about issues, rather than falsely questioning any candidate's patriotism.

He was lamenting that these kind of distractions "always seems to intrude" on political campaigns. This is consistent with his criticism of the "politics of personal destruction," which dates back 16 years.

The nonsense hurled by McPeak towards Bill Clinton was so ridiculous that a right-wing conservative at NRO's The Corner - Kathleen Parker - has now written in Clinton's defense! She was present when Clinton gave the speech in NC, and has written a post describing what Clinton said and what the context of his statement was. Unlike BarbinMD at Daily Kos who is allegedly part of the Fact-Checking Reality Based CommunityTM and didn't bother to check twice before accusing one of the most famous and liked Democratic Presidents of ugly things. Here's Parker:

In Bill's Defense    [Kathleen Parker]

It isn’t often that I’m called to defend Bill Clinton, but since I was present in Charlotte, N.C., Friday when he made the remarks — now being spun by the Obama campaign as “like McCarthy” — I’m compelled to set the record straight.

The AP is reporting that Hillary Clinton is trying to clarify comments by her husband that “seemed to question” Barack Obama’s patriotism and that an Obama aide likened to Joseph McCarthy. Nonsense.

In no way did I interpret Clinton’s remarks as questioning Obama’s patriotism. Clinton was making the case for his wife’s electability against McCain, who last time I checked is the presumptive Republican nominee and her challenger should she win the Democratic nomination. He may have intentionally bypassed Obama in his leap to match Hillary against McCain, but he didn’t say anything that could be construed as questioning Obama’s patriotism. The sequence went as follows: He noted that Hillary polls ahead of McCain in Ohio and Florida and also that McCain leads “Hillary’s opponent” (I quit typing here and don’t recall exactly which states he mentioned in that part of his comment.) His point, obviously, was that Hillary should be the nominee and, in that case, she and McCain would face each other in the final contest.

Before he made the so-called controversial remarks, he praised McCain as an “honorable man,” who has “paid the highest price short of giving your life.” He mentioned that though Hillary and McCain disagree on many issues, they’ve worked together successfully on others. In that context, he said it would be great “if you had two people who really love this country and ask who’s right on these issues” instead of all the non-essential clutter that now distracts in politics.

This was toward the end of his talk, which focused on Iraq and the economy. Obama was no longer on the radar at this point. Bill Clinton was saying that Hillary and McCain are both good patriots who love their country, not that all those unmentioned are something else.
At least that’s the way I heard it. Now, if I were the sort of reporter who looks for some random sentence to blow up into an attention-grabbing headline . . .

Via NYCweboy, here's Obama supporter Nick Beaudrot at Cogitamus:

Since the Democratic primary contest isn't technically over, Obamaniacs really ought to stop jumping down Bill Clinton's throat over stuff like this. A plain reading of Clinton's words does not, in and of itself, imply that Barack Obama doesn't love his country, or that if Obama were the nominee the campaign would be about something other than issues. But once again, Occam's razor applies: sometimes, Bill Clinton just misspeaks or makes political miscalculations.

[NOTE: I see no evidence that Bill Clinton mis-spoke in this particular instance, but I'll let that ride].

Let's close here by recollecting another gem of Tony McPeak from earlier in the campaign season, because he and Brzezinski are two peas in a pod on one thing. Remember this?

Asked about the "gravitas" Sen. Hillary Clinton asserts that she has, and implies Sen. Barack Obama does not, McPeak disputed the notion, saying Obama has "real gravitas, not artificially created, focus-grouped, poll-directed, rehearsed gravitas."

He also said Obama "doesn't go on television and have crying fits; he isn't discovering his voice at the age of 60."


"Dream ticket," indeed.

McPeak later retracted his remarks, and the Obama campaign said McPeak's words "crossed the line" and that Obama "strongly disagrees with these comments and apologizes on behalf of the campaign."


eriposte :: 4:45 PM :: Comments (45) :: Digg It!