It’s hard not to feel sorry for Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in an accident while he was serving in Vietnam.
It’s hard, but you know, I’m almost there. Cleland has become the ultimate Democrat–a professional victim, defined entirely by his triple-amputee status, who will do anything for the party hacks. Cleland served a term in the U.S. Senate; he apparently believed that his victim status entitled him to a Senate seat in perpetuity and without opposition, regardless of his votes, which consistently betrayed the views and interests of his constituents. As I say, the ultimate Democrat.
Today Cleland was recruited to perform a political stunt. He rolled his wheel chair up to a check point near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and purported to try to deliver a letter to President Bush. The letter was signed by a group of Democratic Senators and condemned Bush for failing to somehow, illegally, put the Swift Boat Vets out of business. Here is a shot of Cleland in action:
The Bush camp apparently had word of Cleland’s approach, and were prepared. They had a representative poised to deliver a responsive letter to Cleland. Here is what happened:
A Texas state official and Vietnam veteran, Jerry Patterson, said someone from the Bush campaign contacted him Wednesday morning and asked him if he would travel to the ranch, welcome Cleland to Texas and accept the former senator’s letter to Bush.
“I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me,” said Patterson. “He would not face me. He kept rolling away from me. He’s quite mobile.”
Patterson, who spoke with the president on the phone, said the campaign asked him to give Cleland a letter for Kerry written by the Bush campaign and signed by Patterson and seven other veterans.
“You can’t have it both ways,” the letter said. “You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up.”
November can’t come too soon; neither can the day when we see the last of Max Cleland on the public stage.