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Monday, September 22, 2008

Biden reconsiders, decides it really is okay to mock McCain for POW disability which prevents him from using keyboards

I've put up my first non-Palin guest post at HughHewitt.com. (Be sure to read at least the first comment.)

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[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

It seemed, for a few moments, that at least one of the principals of the Obama-Biden campaign was capable of being ashamed of their campaign's television ad mocking John McCain's inability to use a computer. From the CBS Evening News' interview today with Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden (bracketed portion mine):

Couric asked: "Are you disappointed with the tone of the campaign? The 'lipstick on the pig' stuff, and some of the ads — you guys haven't been completely guilt-free making fun of John McCain's inability to use a computer."

"I thought that was terrible by the way," Biden said.

"Why did you do it then?" Couric asked.

"I didn't know we did it and if I had anything to do with it, we would have never done it," Biden said. "And I don't think Barack, you know. I just think that was … [trailing off]"

McCain's persistent physical disabilities from untreated injuries he sustained as an American POW in North Vietnam "prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes." As far as I'm concerned, anyone who mocks John McCain — or any other American veteran — for that sort of disability isn't worthy to shine those veterans' shoes.

But with a spectacular non sequitur, the Obama-Biden campaign has already "walked back" from — or, in plain English, disavowed — Sen. Biden's moment of decent shame:

[I]n the statement issued by the Obama campaign, Biden said he had never seen the ad and only read press reports of it.

"Having now reviewed the ad, it is even more clear to me that given the disgraceful tenor of Senator McCain's ads and their persistent falsehoods, his campaign is in no position to criticize," Biden said in the statement.

I would like to think that this statement was drafted by some junior campaign staffer, some soulless political hack — some craven worm whose entire universe is partisan politics and who has no concept of what it meant to spend five years as an American POW in North Vietnamese dungeons. I would like to think that in letting their campaign issue this statement, both Sens. Obama and Biden only momentarily and temporarily lost focus, lost perspective, and lost their humanity, and that by tomorrow they'll recover some measure of those traits. I would like to think that whichever of their subordinates actually wrote and issued that statement tonight will be out of a job, and out of any career in politics, by breakfast tomorrow morning.

But ultimately, one just can't excuse a campaign's principals from this kind of literal shamelessness displayed by their campaign spokesmen. It just doesn't matter whether Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden feel more sinned against than sinners themselves when it comes to the fairness or truthfulness of each side's political advertisements: Decent Americans of any political stripe don't mock American POWs for their disabilities sustained in the defense of this country, and they certainly don't retract their absolutely appropriate, candid apologies immediately after having made them.

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UPDATE (Tue Sep 23 @ 12:55 a.m. CST): Here's a more complete — but no more rational — version of Biden's retraction:

I was asked about an ad I’d never seen, reacting merely to press reports. As I said right then, I knew there was nothing intentionally personal in the criticism of Senator McCain’s views which look backwards not forwards and are out of touch with the new economic challenges we face today. Having now reviewed the ad, it is even more clear to me that given the disgraceful tenor of Senator McCain’s ads and their persistent falsehoods, his campaign is in no position to criticize, especially when they continue to distort Barack’s votes on an issue as personal as keeping kids safe from sexual predators.

That boils down to "Having now bothered for the first time to actually look at our campaign's ad, I suddenly discovered that McCain's ads are mean, so forget what I said earlier today about our ad mocking his disability being 'terrible.'" That's both shameless and shamefully lame, and unfortunately the syntax and leaps of illogic seem pretty close to the kind of thing Biden himself would actually say.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 11:37 PM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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