Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Out Of Context Is Not Lying, Plus McCain Gets Free Air Time

First of all, I think Jake Tapper is wrong. I do not think McCain's most recent ad, in which he takes Barack Obama to task for comments he made concerning the potential "threat" from Iran and other countries, is false. He certainly takes Obama's statements out of context, and puffs up the threat Iran poses. Furthermore, I'm not sure why posing some kind of existential threat to Israel is of concern to anyone in the American electorate. In fact, compared to the United States, Iran is a tiny country that doesn't pose a threat in any way, shape or form, to our serious interests. I see no reason at all not to engage Iran on many different issues, always taking exception to their support for Hezbollah, not so much because it is a "terrorist" organization, but because it creates an unstable situation in Lebanon, always keeping Israel on its guard and willing to invade, as it did two summers ago.

I think it is far more important to play up the fact that McCain is playing the fear card here. Iran does not pose a threat, and engaging it is far better than threatening it, and McCain's approach - be prepared to "Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Iran" - is not only unworkable as a practical, logistical matter. It is, to be blunt, a stupid, even dangerous approach to policy. Since fear is all the Republicans have to offer - fear of Barack Obama, fear of Michelle Obama, fear of Hillary Clinton, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of gay marriage, fear of Iran, fear of terrorism, fear of Russia, fear of China - I think it is far more important to highlight the lack of any serious positive approach in McCain's claim to leadership.

While all this dissecting of the latest McCain ad was going on, it the Wall Street Journal reported that a much-talked about ad featuring a former Hillary supporter now allegedly stumping for McCain has aired . . . in Toledo, OH. After noting that journalist Marc Ambinder seems to see dilemma where none actually exists, Ezra Klein manages to sum up what's happening quite nicely:
It's a little odd that the McCain campaign is treating their friends in the press like idiots, but it's odder still that the press seems okay with it, and isn't responding by talking about all the dishonest negative campaigning he's trying to promote and noting that he needs to use the press because his campaign has a money crisis.

If Ambinder would mention this fact, and if the press would mention this fact, it might go a long way toward putting the entire episode in some kind of context. McCain knows he can get free airtime from news outlets just by producing an ad that some might deem "controversial". He doesn't have to spend money he doesn't have to get it aired when cable outlets will do so for free.

Virtual Tin Cup

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