We may be in for the dirtiest Presidential campaign in memory. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how far the Democrats will go to smear Republican nominee John McCain, or any limit to how dumb they think voters are. Exhibit one: Senator Jay Rockefeller’s downright weird condemnation of McCain in an interview with his hometown newspaper, the Charleston Gazette:
He’s a fighter pilot. He flies at 35,000 feet and drops laser-guided bombs, missiles. He was long gone when they hit. What happened down there, he doesn’t know.
That’s unkind, because that’s fighting for your nation and that’s honorable. But you sort of have to care what goes on in the lives of people. … and he never gets into those subjects.
Rockefeller should have apologized for the military and historical ignorance he betrayed; he did in due course issue a standard, non-apology apology, in which he regretted his “wrong analogy” and said that he had only meant to suggest that McCain doesn’t care about “real people.” I suppose that’s because McCain’s never gone through tough times, like Michelle Obama.
Last night, Howard Dean issued his latest mean-spirited and, this time, incomprehensible attack on McCain:
John McCain is so wrong on Iraq, he can’t even get the basic facts about the situation on the ground correct.
Today, as he was questioning Gen. David Petraeus, he again confused the difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
At least five times as a candidate John McCain has stated that Iran (a Shiite nation) is supporting Al-Qaeda (a Sunni group) in Iraq. This is not some minor mistake, but a significant gaffe. He clearly does not understand the sensitive political dynamics in that region of the world.
What’s worse is that he’s done it at important times when you’d expect him to be at his best — he did it today in the Senate while questioning the commander of American forces in Iraq, and he did it on a recent trip to the Middle East. ***
We just can’t afford someone who just doesn’t understand Iraq — it’s too dangerous.
I had read the entire transcript of yesterday’s proceedings in the Senate Armed Services Committee, and had no idea what Dean was talking about. Dean, of course, doesn’t quote the offending exchange in his email–a fact which seems telling, to say the least. I went back and re-read McCain’s questioning of Petraeus and Crocker, and this is the only exchange that Dean could possibly be referring to:
MCCAIN: There are numerous threats to security in Iraq and the future of Iraq. Do you still view Al Qaida in Iraq as a major threat?
PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was, say, 15 months ago.
MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shiites overall…
MCCAIN: … or Sunnis or anybody else.
Al Qaida continues to try to assert themselves in Mosul, is that correct?
Dean apparently wants to twist this question into a suggestion that al Qaeda is a Shiite sect–a confusion that Petraeus evidently didn’t share. In fact, McCain was obviously contrasting al Qaeda with the Sadrists, the subject of his immediately preceding question, by noting that in the global scheme of things, the Sadrists are an obscure sect compared to al Qaeda. The idea that the Democrats would try to criticize McCain on this exchange–without, of course, quoting it so that readers can see how bogus their attack is–is just one more in a long series of indications of how low the Dems are willing to stoop to defame McCain. It’s going to be a long summer and fall.