Maureen Dowd, who I think lately has tended to make too much of the silliness around the presidential campaigns, finally delivered something that isn’t merely a too-clever anlaysis of peripheral issues. Writing about playing the P.O.W. card:
So it’s hard to believe that John McCain is now in danger of exceeding his credit limit on the equivalent of an American Express black card. His campaign is cheapening his greatest strength — and making a mockery of his already dubious claim that he’s reticent to talk about his P.O.W. experience — by flashing the P.O.W. card to rebut any criticism, no matter how unrelated. The captivity is already amply displayed in posters and TV advertisements.
Jesus, yes, thank you! It’s about time someone in the mainstream press called McCain on his “reticence” to discuss his P.O.W. experience. But as MoDo, points out, this isn’t just some ancillary point:
While McCain’s experience was heroic, did it create a worldview incapable of anticipating the limits to U.S. military power in Iraq? Did he fail to absorb the lessons of Vietnam, so that he is doomed to always want to refight it? Did his captivity inform a search-and-destroy, shoot-first-ask-questions-later, “We are all Georgians,” mentality?
This seems right. For McCain to lose the advantage of relying on the P.O.W. card is one thing, but for Obama to press this line of thinking — and hopefully this is something Biden can help with — might help make this considerably more neutral. Certainly a cautious approach is in order, but when the GOP Swiftboated Kerry in 2004, military service became less sacred ground.