June 25, 2008

Blackballing Charlie Black

Hatched by Dafydd

Both wings of the Democratic Party (the political wing and the elite media) have piled onto poor, old Charlie Black, a senior advisor to John S. McCain, for a comment of his. Yet nobody has the faintest idea how the exchange actually ensued, or whether Black was an idiot or was set up (after the fact).

Even so, and not surprisingly, a passel of crowing, self-righteous Republicans has loudly joined the scrum, eager to do as much damage to their own candidate as possible... a sadly typical manifestation of the Republican tendency towards self-immolation that we've seen in every election from 1988 onward. It seems we must always fight on two political fronts: against the Democratic nominee and against all Republicans who supported a different candidate to be the GOP nominee.

For the record, here is the entire "terrorist attack" exchange from Fortune Magazine that has caused all the ruckus. McCain is asked what will be America's biggest economic challenge during the next president's administration, and he answers, "Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we're in against radical Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences."

Not a bad answer; the attack on September 11th, 2001, was apocalyptic not only due to the loss of more than 3,000 innocent lives (counting those who died in the moment and those who died later), but even more via the crushing blow to the American economy it precipitated, which affected everyone, rich and poor alike. McCain answered Fortune's question exactly, despite the rather adolescent response of Editor at Large David Whitford:

Not America's dependence on foreign oil? Not climate change? Not the crushing cost of health care? Eventually McCain gets around to mentioning all three of those. But he starts by deftly turning the economy into a national security issue - and why not? On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy - this according to McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an "unfortunate event," says Black. "But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us." As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him," says Black.

Following which, the article simply moves on, making no further reference to Black's response; evidently, the supposely staggering nature of this allegedly shocking admission entirely escaped the notice of Mr. Whitford at the time.

As Fortune admits, it was they, not Black, who "raised the issue" of who would benefit from a terrorist attack on the American heartland. Black merely responded to the question.

And to what question, exactly, was Black responding? Fortune doesn't tell us, and there is evidently no transcript or video available. Perhaps it was super explicit: Mr. Black... if there were another 9/11, would that benefit Barack Obama or John McCain most? Yet on the basis of that single, flimsy piece of evidence, Republicans are willing (eager) to ascribe the basest and vilest motives to Black.

One prominent conservative blogger (much prominenter than we) goes so far as to sarcastically ask whether Black thinks that it would be even more advantageous if a terrorist attack slew Obama himself and all other Democratic candidates in some blue state... a smear I consider low enough to have been published by a Markos Moulitsas or a Juan Cole.

But what is so outré about his answer? If Whitford asked Obama's campaign mangler whether a sudden downturn in the economy would be good for his client, and if he answered honestly that it probably would, would anyone -- even Republicans -- be up in arms? Or would they simply agree?

For some reason, when a disaster or catastrophe occurs, Republicans (but not Democrats) grow suddenly reticent about noticing that it might have a political impact among all the other real-world effects it causes. Desite our evident foot-scuffing, red-faced embarassment at noticing such trivia in the midst of crisis, politics is an integral part of our lives... and the shifting sands of electoral fortune usually determine whether we respond to adversity with courage and vigor -- or whether we turn tail and run from the fight.

Take Hurricane Katrina. Even before it made landfall (at a greatly reduced category 3), Democrats were already on the air slamming Bush for his "non-response" (which was actually one of the fastest and most effective disaster responses in history, as we noted more than two years ago). Yet rather than fight back against the Democratic smear machine, Republicans lined up by the score to castigate, ream, and verbally defenstrate the president for his "pathetic," "incompetent" preformance. They cheered Democrats on as the latter singled out FEMA director Michael "Brownie" Brown and called him a clownish dullard who allowed hundreds of helpless old people to drown -- by not waving his hands and magically diverting the storm elsewhere.

Republicans have a terrible penchant for joining any hysterical lynch-mob attack on fellow Republicans: Perhaps to prove they're not really the heartless, unfeeling fiends that liberals portray them to be; more often to advance their sectarian civil war with other GOP blocs. But rather than engender respect from the Left for their principled nuance and unbiased fair-mindedness, they call only even more energetic contumely upon their heads.

We have a bad habit of playing dhimmi to the Democrats... and it's so ingrained that many conservatives cannot help themselves, even when they know the scam being run. They eat their own as inevitably as a dead frog leg twitches when you zap it with a few volts of electricity.

As here. There is nothing indefensible about what Black said; he spoke the truth: Another terrorist attack would focus voters' minds on national security, just as another Senate scandal would focus voters' minds on congressional corruption. Either might turn the election.

So let's cut the dramatics and stop pretending that politics doesn't matter, or that it should be "above the fray" of real-world battles and other incidents. Had the counterinsurgency gone ill, doed anyone think Democrats would have hesitated for a nanosecond to use that failure -- which could have led to the deaths of far more than 3,000 Americans -- to ride their way into la Casablanca?

Instead of trying to suck up to the Left by cannibalizing our own troops, why don't we point out the hypocrisy of a party whose motto is "the personal is political," and which has in very recent memory politicized the war, 9/11, various natural disasters, and the funeral of Sen. Paul Wellstone, whining that Charlie black is trying to "politicize" a presidential election.

Of course a terrorist attack would affect the vote. So would an assassination, the capture of bin Laden, an Iranian demonstration of a nuclear bomb, or an economic collapse (which the Democrats are assiduously trying to bring about, in contrast to Republicans, who are doing their best to prevent another 9/11). How could such earth-shattering events fail to influence the vote?

Instead, let's defend the importance of politics and the election. Let us note that Democrats seem more than eager to return to the halcyon days of Jimmy "Malaise" Carter and Walter "We Must Not Arm the Heavens" Mondale. And let's stick up for Charlie Black telling it as it is... something Democrats couldn't do if their reelection depended upon it.

And for God's sake, stop playing errand boy to Barack Obama. Let him pedal his own smears.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 25, 2008, at the time of 3:47 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Steelhand

The Repub Party has Stockholm syndrome. So afraid of the MSM, they parrot any meme put before them. Of course, they're the only party that purports to stand for issues I believe in, so I vote for (most of) their candidates. But their leadership is so mentally weak and unsavvy towards the MSM that they routinely impale their own in an attempt to assuage the media gods.

Yours is the only voice of reason I have read yet on the Black matter, Dafydd.

The above hissed in response by: Steelhand [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 5:13 AM

The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote

The problem is McKennedy - er McCain. He's a looser. The Repubs still have a chance to get rid of this clown and nominate a real conservative. We promise not to riot. We'll celebrate. Please please, Repubs, give us someone reasonable. The Obamaloon is easy to beat...if we have someone against him who actually has a plan.

The above hissed in response by: Da Coyote [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 5:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: BarbaraS

The far right and some not so far right are self righteous. With them it's their way or the highway. If a member of their party does not do exactly what think should be done they immediately declare that person a rhino and trash him. The dems have nothing on some republicans when it comes to character assasination. Look at how they have deserted and denigated the president because he has not given them everything they want. Never mind he has accomplished at lot. They want everything. Some, like the above poster, want the party to dump McCain for their candidate. Not gonna happen. Never mind an uber conservative can't win even against Obama. We have to get the independent vote and the independents will vote for McCain whereas they probably wouldn't for Romney and certainly not for Huckabee. We work with what we have. McCain won the primary and McCain is the candidte. We are not democrats who take away the nomination of a duly elected nominee. If we did that why would anyone run? McCain was not my choice. Far from it. But I will vote for him because he is the lesser evil. Obama is dangerous and I don't want the country to be taught a lesson. A lesson I don't comprehend and I don't think the far right understands it either. It is just a case of you don't play my way, I'll take my toys and go home. I truly don't think the country could survive Obama. After four or eight years of this nut the country and our way of life would be changed forever.

The above hissed in response by: BarbaraS [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 9:09 AM

The following hissed in response by: TerryeL


No, the problem is with the people who can not come up with anyone better than McCain, but can not just let him run a campaign without stabbing him in the back. A lot of these same people did the same thing to Bush and they would do the same thing to any Republican leader. They would knock half a dozen Democrats out of the way to stab a fellow Republican in the back. I am sick of it.

During the Harriet Miers debacle they went from saying Bush had every right to his nominee and an up and down vote to demanding he ditch any nominee they did not personally support. They accused a Republican President of selling our ports to terrorists during Dubai. That was just insanely stupid. And they went so far off the deep end on immigration that they practically handed the 2006 elections to the Democrats on a platter.

They bitch bitch bitch. And now they are bitching about McCain. But when it came to pickiing a nominee other than McCain, they could not settle on anyone. They were too busy bitching and moaning and whining.

McCain is a war hero with a proven record. He deserves a lot more respect than he is getting from these cry baby sore losers. In fact I am beginning to think they want Obama to be the next president. I do not know how else to explain their constant kvetching. So why dump a candidate who won fair and square? You guys had your chance to pick someone else and even if you had, you would be bitching about him too.

The above hissed in response by: TerryeL [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 2:36 PM

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