It appears that crack journalistic fact-checking by a major network did not catch Clinton -- breaking the duplicitous news took a celebrity anecdote relayed to a political gossip column in the midst of a nasty internecine Democratic Party political war. CBS had a reporter with Clinton in 1996 and a tape. Clinton has told "the sniper's tale" on several previous occasions. Next time, maybe ...
Obama has his own problems with truth in packaging. We have learned the electrifying candidate of "hope" has a political debt to "hate" -- and Chicago's sleazy political machine.
Excusing the videotaped anti-American hate speech of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as hot rhetoric reflecting deep historical suffering may pass muster in the Democratic primaries, but should Obama obtain the nomination, come November he will be running for president of the nation Wright insistently damned. If he really wants to become leader of the Free World, he will dump Wright sometime in September and acknowledge embedded bitterness stalls change?
As for John McCain? If he faces Clinton in November, expect to see her sniper's tale video followed by Vietnam War footage of McCain climbing into his Navy jet. If McCain faces Obama and "suffering" becomes an issue, a nuanced mind must ask if Harvard is a greater hell than Hanoi.
McCain is encountering the Alzheimer's innuendo for his claim (now retracted) that Iran supports al-Qaida in Iraq. He will have to take that heat. The al-Qaida-Iran relationship is very murky. Al-Qaida has numerous "affiliates," and Iranian intelligence has contacts with radical Sunni Muslim organizations (the Ayatollah Khomeini originally claimed his was an Islamic revolution, not a Shia revolution). But as for definitively aiding al-Qaida in Iraq, he was wise to retract. As for his age, nope, you can't retract a birth certificate.
While Clinton and Obama tread the political gutter, McCain ought to continue his global trek. McCain ought to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Green Berets training counter-terror cops in West Africa, destroyer sailors in the Strait of Hormuz, Marines on an assault ship in the Mediterranean, a carrier off South Korea.
And he should smile -- energetically -- as the cameras roll.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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