John McCain continues to be the most frustrating American politician to get a read on. Just when you want disregard him as a sellout for heading Bush's campaign in Arizona, he goes and pulls a stunt full of uncharacteristic integrity for a Republican and gives you hope for accountability in Washington.
"Swift Boat Veterans For Truth", a Republican funded 527 lie factory, just released a commercial denouncing John Kerry's vietnam heroics in several key swing states. Stating, among other things, that there was no direct gunfire when Kerry rescued his shipmate from the water. Yep. You read it right. Hold your horses Kerry - you've been EXPOSED!!! Better change your campaign strategy now! Seriously though, even if this account was true (and that's highly doubtful - SBVT includes no servicemen who were actually on Kerry's boat), it's absolutley deplorable the level of nitpicking of 30 year old events the Repubs feel inclined to do.
It was a war. Kerry won medals. Your guy didn't, because he didn't go. There's no room for spin here.
Thankfully, John McCain's sense of honor and ethics hasn't been totally beaten out of him by Karl Rove just yet; he called the ad dishonest and dishonorable, and directly challenged the White House to condemn the ad.
"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,'' McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.
Scotty McClellan, as usual, diverted the question and instead condemned the whole institution of 527 groups, particluarly the $62 million spent on attack ads against W from "shadowy groups" (Huh. Makes you wonder if the whole SBVT stunt was a way to bring stricter campaign finance reform back into the limelight, what with the incredible success and popularity of anti-Bush groups like MoveOn.org). You can read an incredible excercise on how to spin an issue in today's White House briefing.
Joe Conasson from Salon wrote:
"Arguments about the war in Vietnam seem destined to continue forever. For now, however, the lingering bitterness and ambiguity of those days provide smear material against an antiwar war hero with five medals on behalf of a privileged Guardsman with a dubious duty record. The president's Texas allies -- whose animus against his Democratic challenger dates back to the Nixon era -- are now deploying the same techniques and personnel they used to attack McCain's integrity four years ago. Bush's 'independent' supporters would apparently rather talk about the Vietnam quagmire than about his deadly incompetence in Iraq."
More interesting facts on the Swift Boat Veterans for Lies.