June 8, 2008

Attacking McCain

Marc Comtois

First, they made fun of the teeth that replaced the ones that got knocked out when Sen. John McCain was a POW (and local bloggers parroted the post and the snark, incidentally). Then they questioned (h/t) his military pension, because, well, he only got tortured--he didn't really suffer a permanent disability--and he's rich, too. But, then again, we also have a local columnist, Bob Kerr, using a WWII vet as cover to question whether or not Senator John McCain actually did suffer a long term disability: psychological damage in the form of post traumatic stress syndrome.

Kerr's piece contains the story of a local WWII vet who "worries" that his own experience with PTSD is projectable onto Senator McCain. It's a bit of conjecture attempting to equate the experience of one particular individual with that of another in an attempt to call into question the mental stability of a Presidential candidate. I'm sure that the fact that Kerr is going to vote against Senator McCain (no one doubts that, right?) isn't a factor at all. But Kerr tries to get cute at the end:

Perhaps there is no need for worry. Perhaps John McCain made a clean break with his prison experience and suffers no lingering effects. But the question is a legitimate one that will eventually have to be dealt with.
Gee, isn't that clever. So the presumption Kerr is operating under ("Perhaps...") is that McCain is kooky because of his experience in Vietnam and it's up to the good Senator to prove otherwise. Dress it up however you like, Mr.Kerr, it's still a low blow. You can disagree with McCain's politics (much of which I do, incidentally) without calling his psychological stability into question. Nothing in his political past has indicated that PTSD is a factor. Kerr tried to play it cute, but only succeeded in classing himself alongside the characters who made fun of Senator McCain's teeth and think his military pension should be means-tested, or something. Hope he enjoys the company.

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Kerr and Bakst are becoming a tired joke, these morons keep mailing it in week after week and the Urinal has the balls to RAISE the price of their paper by 50%?? What exactly is the reader getting for their extra quarter? Two crusty 1960's leftovers, a stable of not ready for prime time twenty-something pseudo-journalists, and enough ads to cover a football field. Kerr's column today was lame even by his standards. Does anybody remember if Bob had the same concerns about John Kerry's failed presidential bid in 2004? I mean with all of the memories that were "seared" into that candidates head, he must have PTSD.. Typical BS from a guy who suffers from a severe case of BDS.

Posted by: jd at June 8, 2008 9:59 PM

Sometimes Kerr reminds me of Charles Grodin who seemed to free associate on television,making himself as unwatchable as Kerr is sometimes unreadable.I don't know what Kerr's problem is.He seems like he suffers from depression.I don't depise him like I do Charley Bakst because Bakst is a grubby putz and Kerr seems like someone who is seriously bothered by his past experiences.Maybe he is projecting somewhat with McCain.I don't like to hear people joking about PTSD-it affects a lot of people.Others are semingly not susceptible.I had an uncle who went ashore on D-Day and made it to the Battle of the Bulge before being severely wounded.He got more relaxed the more he drank.He had no demons inside trying to get out.Others are not so lucky.I am a patient at the VA for physical problems and I run into a lot of guys who just didn't get all the way home.It really isn't something to throw around as political fodder.McCain seems a lot more stable than Robert Byrd,for instance.Or Barbara Boxer-have you ever seen that little creature rant?I am ashamed that she went to my high school.Her sister in law was in my graduating class-I don't recall much about her.Hillary has a temper worse than McCain's from what I hear.My source is a former Secret Service agent.Fying off the handle once in a while is a lot healthier than brooding in a dark room like Nixon.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 8, 2008 10:16 PM

I have a cousin who was not only injured towards the beginning of the war, but as a result also ended up being treated for PTSD in a VA hospital in DC. It is a real problem, but it doesn't affect everyone who serves in a combat situation, and it shouldn't be used as a political wedge issue. I find Kerr's indirect smear of Sen. McCain -- without any supporting evidence -- to be despicable. However, being that he is not a real journalist, it's not surprising in the least. I've learned over time to expect less and less real journalism from the Projo.

The reason why Kerr is bringing up PTSD isn't because he actually cares about the issue -- I doubt he really knows anything about it from a medical point of view> he's a well known anti-war activist, if not pacifist. He and his extreme liberal ilk have been trying to use it as a political wedge issue against Republicans, because they have so little else to run on related to national security. They think it's something that they can use to bolster their security / military street cred with regular patriotic Americans, since their longstanding track record has often been one of disdain for supporting the military.

I've noticed that Barack Obama very early on used the government's (alleged) mistreatment and/or underfunding of treatment for PTSD for returning soldiers at veteran's hospitals as a justification for his opposition to the war (of course, he wasn't a US Senator when it started, so his words were hollow). Obviously, no one wants people to suffer from PTSD, but at the same time, it cannot be used as a reason for a nation to avoid military conflict when necessary to protect its interests. The Democrats did the same thing when they used the "lack of armor" on some vehicles early on in the Iraq war as an issue they can use to they're advantage. It's still repeated by some of them today, even though all of the armor problems have long since been remediated.

Posted by: Will at June 9, 2008 12:44 AM

Extreme liberal?
Kerr's a Vietnam vet. He's been there. He served his country while Dubya was, well, you know the story, and Cheney was racking up the deferments. He knows a little bit more about war than most of us, including the cocktail commanders and barstool brigadiers who love to bash him.

Posted by: rhody at June 9, 2008 1:28 AM

rhody, yes, he's a war veteran, and deserves respect for that. But politically, he's very liberal, and labeling him as such doesn't in someway insult his service.

If it truly was his service that led you to respond, then you would have defended John McCain against attacks, as was the original post. Instead, as you on left so often do, you find a way to attack the president.

Posted by: mikeinRI at June 9, 2008 7:00 AM

Jutin attacked Obama and his wife for fist-bumping, calling our next First Lady' nauseating,
But that attack is OK

Posted by: FRED at June 9, 2008 12:04 PM

Mike, is it just me, or are the attacks on liberals even more vicious when the accused liberal has some connection to the U.S. military?
My theory is the jihad on Kerr is caused by the betrayal factor.
BTW: Yeah, Kerr may have pushed a little too far here. But what columnist, left or right, hasn't?

Posted by: rhody at June 9, 2008 12:44 PM

Kerr's column is despicable and reflects his liberal bias.

Mr. Gold talks about having "physical fights with other doctors" as evidence of his PTSD. Is there ANY evidence whatsoever of John McCain having physical fights with colleagues over the time he has served in Congress? NO.

Gold talks about his own "bizarre responses" as a result of his own POW experience. But is there any evidence of McCain acting "bizarrely"? NO.

Now maybe if John McCain claimed he had an uncle who liberated Auschwitz, that might be a little "bizarre" considering that Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviets. Oh wait, that was Obama.

Or maybe if McCain claimed not to know the true beliefs of a church he atttended for decades, it might indicate unusual detachment indicative of PTSD Oh wait, that was Obama, too.

But I'm being too tough on Obama. Maybe these things were just the result of PTSD from Obama facing his self-proclaimed "struggles" in life. Like the hardships he experienced as schoolboy at Puhahou prep. school (which today costs about $20K a year).

Or when he had to negotiate the mean streets of Hawaii to get home to his grandparents house where he was living at the time (you can only imagine the dangerous neighborhood that his grandmother, the vice-president of Bank of Hawaii, resided).

But hey, Obama claims his mother was on "food stamps" while he was in prep. school. Maybe that is the truth. After all, at that time his mother was also in school and studying for her own Ph.D. So why take out student loans when you don't have to pay the government back for food stamps? Struggling to earn a Ph.D. and attending an elite prep. school. Sounds like hardship to me.

But enough about Obama's hardships. Back to Kerr and McCain.

The only evidence Kerr offers is that 1.) McCain is rumored to have a temper; and 2.) Kerr knows of a former POW who has PTSD and also has a temper.

Kerr's evidence is simply overwhelming.

Shame on Kerr for attacking a man who endured REAL hardship in his life so that people like him have the right to make baseless insinuations in print.

There is no comparision between McCain and Obama. McCain grew up with a privileged upbringing and makes no excuses for his upbringing. McCain voluntarily endured some of the toughest hardships a person could possibly face out of a sense of service to his country.

Obama grew up with a privileged upbringing, but has tries to create an impression of having faced hardships out of a sense of service to himself.

Of course, if I were lay psychiatrist Bob Kerr, I suppose I could question Obama's inner conflict about being an African-American male raised by white grandparents in an affluent environment and talk about how this guilt raises questions about him being elected president.

But there is no need to do so.

Because ultimately this elections boils down to choosing between two wealthy men: one, a war hero with decades worth of national security experience, the other a lawyer who spent most of his adult life working at non-profits.

Both have served in their own way. But I know who I think would make the better president.

Posted by: Anthony at June 9, 2008 12:55 PM

"Or when he had to negotiate the mean streets of Hawaii to get home to his grandparents house where he was living at the time (you can only imagine the dangerous neighborhood that his grandmother, the vice-president of Bank of Hawaii, resided)."

Anthony, what's your evidence for this statement about Ann Dunham, everything I have heard suggests she was middle class, at best. Was she perhaps a bank teller wwho has been made into a Bank VP by some right wing blogger?

Posted by: obsever at June 9, 2008 6:53 PM

Obsever, we'd be glad to look at any research or link you bring forward on that subject.

(Excellent comment, Anthony.)

Posted by: Monique at June 9, 2008 11:29 PM

Monique, you want me to search the entire blogosphere to try and find where Anthony discovered that Ann Dunham was a wealthy bank executive?
How about Anthony just tells us why, although it has never been reported anywhere, he believes that to be true?

Posted by: observer at June 10, 2008 12:39 PM

obsever, not unless the "right wing blogger" is USA Today.

Yes, just about everything that I've heard from the media recently also talks about Obama's grandmother being a struggling teller. But back when Hillary Clinton still posed a threat, Obama's grandmother was portrayed far differently--as a trail-blazing feminist who advanced in the corporate world into the senior ranks of the banking world.

Proof? Check out the April 4th issue of USA Today by Googling "Obama grandmother Bank of Hawaii"

But that's not my point. I'm glad that Obama's grandmother was a highly successful banker who had the wealth to send him to the best prep. school in the state of Hawaii.

My real point is that certain members of the media, in this case Bob Kerr, have agendas that they promote through their writings.

Rumors and insinuations about McCain will be published while these same "journalists" will gloss over factual information about Obama in effort to portray him in a way that will generate votes.

If Obama were a Republican, I have no doubt we'd be reading about his rich corporate banker grandmother who gave him all the advantages of life. How many times have we read newspaper articles in which Carcieri's banking background is described in pejorative terms?

Strangely, I do expect that this election will hasten a change that may already be in the works. There will be a backlash against the mainstream media for this bias.

Much as the left-leaning bias of Ted Turner's CNN led to the creation of FOX News, the mainstream media's bias in this election will lead to a reduced number of readers and viewers, reducing subscriptions and ad revenue.

Individuals seeking unbiased information will increasingly turn to alternative media to fill the void.

Some evidence? According to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, the biggest story of the primary season in terms of coverage was the Rev. Wright story.

Yet most networks initially failed to report the information. It was not until ABC reported the story and created a whirlwind with the Average Joe that CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, etc. picked up on the story. By that time, it was already "yesterday's news".

And we now have NBC making Keith Olbermann the face of NBC News.

Olbermann (yet another former wealthy prep. schooler turned liberal activist--why are so many liberal activists the product of privileged upbringing?) is an avowed supporter of Barack Obama. Does anyone really think the Average Joe is going trust the news from Olbermann?

We'll see more "media refugees" leaving the familiar ground of the mainstream media to alternative media.

So that's my point about Kerr. He has an agenda. He writes innuendo about McCain, but will give Obama a pass. Bakst is no different.

Ultimately people like Bakst and Kerr be responsible for reducing the subscriber base of the Projo and, by extension, will be responsible for reducing their own influence.

The Projo has had some good reporters. There was once a reporter by the name of Corkery who I thought was good. I'd read his writings and try to figure out whether he was liberal, conservative or moderate, but there was little indication. I think Mike Stanton does a good job with his investigative pieces although they are fairly infrequent.

So back to my point. I know who the media wants me to vote for; but when I look beneath the rose-colored patina applied to Obama by the media, I also know that McCain will be the better president.

Posted by: Anthony at June 10, 2008 1:45 PM

Sorry if I burst your "Barack Bubble".

By the way, Ann Dunham is Obama's mother (not grandmother) and she didn't raise Obama. Ann Dunham is the daughter of Stanley (ran furniture stores) and Madelyn Dunham (made a Bank of Hawaii VP in '70). Stanley and Madelyn raised Obama in Hawaii because Ann was busy studying for her Ph.D. and then wanted to move to Indonesia to pursue her professional career.

So when the media talks about Obama's humble upbringing, it often gets lost that he faced the so-called challenges of his early adulthood while attending Hawaii's most expensive prep. school, much like kids in boarding school, except that Obama lived in his family's Honolulu high-rise building.

After high school, Obama moved to LA for college and then transferred to Columbia in New York City.

Of course, we all know about John McCain's hardships in a North Vietnamese POW camp, but somehow guys like Bob Kerr try to turn such real hardship into a negative.

Posted by: Anthony at June 10, 2008 2:24 PM

Anthony, you did not burst my bubble, but I do owe you an apology. I honestly never knew Madelyn was a bank VP, which is why I doubted your comment. I do not think it necessarily signals a privileged, wealthy upbringing as you do. But it's your right to interpret it as you wish. If you're right about that, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about it as the campaign grinds on. By the way, I agree with you about the Kerr column. Quite a stretch to say Dr. Gold has PTSD so McCain probably does too.

Posted by: observer at June 10, 2008 6:37 PM

No need to apologize.

By the way, while I do think Obama grew up more privileged than most people realize, I don't have a problem with it so long as he doesn't try to create the appearance of non-existent hardships.

It is quite obvious that both of his parents were very intelligent and that Obama inherited some of their genes. I personally wouldn't hold the fact that Obama's grandparents tried to provide him with the best life they could against Obama. I would hope that all grandparents would do the same for their grandchildren if given the opportunity.

I just wish that certain members of the media would report on the facts rather than attempt to spin the facts into a story line that they have apparently pre-written.

In Obama's case, the press seems determined to portray Obama as a Christ-like figure who has overcome nearly insurmountable hurdles to get to where he is today.

Maybe it's because he's African-American and in order to fulfill the media's desire to create a real-life version of "The Pursuit of Happyness", Obama needs to have been the underdog.

In a way, it's a strange form of racism. Nearly 25 years after Bill Cosby tried to show the world that African-Americans can be upper middle class via "The Cosby Show", the media still needs to portray African-Americans as having rags-to-riches story.

But Obama has only tried to perpetuate the myth rather than be comfortable with himself.

The reality is that Obama was given advantages in life that the vast majority of kids never have.

Posted by: Anthony at June 10, 2008 8:41 PM

I do get tired of the constantly changing politically correct ways to refer to various people,but in Obama's case "African-American"is completely accurate.And by that token he can't say his ancestors were slaves.I think the excitement among "progressives" over his meteoric rise with his race in the forfront of their discussions is itself a form,perhaps unrealized to themselves of a patronizing kind of racism.To me he is just another minimally experienced left winger.
Colin Powell could have been elected in 1996 and I'll bet his racial background would have been a non-issue.Why?Because he would have run on a resume of having handled some of the most critical jobs in government-National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during wartime,not to mention his military record over a couple of decades.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2008 11:02 PM

The marvel of Obama's rise is that he did it without tying himself to Jackson or Sharpton.

Posted by: rhody at June 11, 2008 11:14 AM

rhody, Obama rose BECAUSE he didn't tie himself to Jackson and Sharpton.

The vast majority of Americans are repulsed by Jackson's using race to shake down companies and Sharpton's racial bomb throwing epitomized by the Tawana Brawley incident.

I think most Americans would feel good about voting for a moderate, successful African-American. And I agree with joe berstein on Colin Powell. I think Powell easily would have been elected as either a Republican or a Democrat.

The problem with Obama is that he is a limousine liberal, not a moderate, as much as he'd like people to believe he is a moderate.

His voting record doesn't match his rhetoric and as joe bernstein also points out, he has minimal experience.

Obama attended a posh private prep. school from 5th grade through high school and then worked as a "community organizer" registering new voters with intermittent stops in the ivory towers of Harvard and Columbia.

He then went onto the Illinois state senate and his only time in the private sector was spent with law firm that allowed him to work only in the summer and on racial discrimination claims and voting rights cases.

Obama is virtually a carbon copy of Rhode Island's own Matt Brown.

Think of it. Both Obama and Brown went to prep. schools, then to Columbia University, became "community organizers" who led voting registration drives after college, attended an Ivy League law school and subsequently got elected to state office.

The only difference is that Obama went to Harvard and Brown went to Yale.

Echoing the sentiments of the RI Democratic Party, Jim Langevin once said about Matt Brown: "Matt Brown's a nice guy. But I don't think he has the experience to work in the Senate."

So why are same people who thought Matt Brown was unqualified to be a senator now trying to convince us that Barack Obama is qualified to be PRESIDENT and leader of the free world?!?!?

It's hypocrisy and double-speak.

Posted by: Anthony at June 12, 2008 1:18 PM
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