Tuesday, October 14

Unfair criticism

Because, perversely, they have sadly become so rare, I feel it worth pointing out a criticism of McCain that is actually unfair.

Here's the post, which I'll quote in full:
McCain: If I Bring Up Ayers At Debate, It Will Be Obama's Fault

In an interview that John McCain gave to local radio in St. Louis, McCain says that he was "astonished" to hear Barack Obama say recently that he was reluctant to bring up Ayers to Obama's face, and promises that he'll raise the subject at tomorrow's debate.

The key news in the interview -- which was flagged by Mark Halperin and which you can listen to here -- is that McCain is already laying the groundwork to blame Obama for his apparent decision to confront Obama over Ayers tomorrow.

Asked by his radio host if he'll bring up the former Weatherman, McCain says:

"Oh, yeah. Y'know, I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised for me to have the guts to do that, because the fact is that the question didn't come up in that fashion. So, y'know, and I think he's probably ensured that it will come up this time. And, look Mark, it's not that I give a damn about some old washed-up terrorist..."

It's Obama who has "probably ensured" that McCain will bring up Ayers. What's so lovely about this is that McCain is now portraying his apparent decision to hit on the Ayers association as driven by a need to defend his honor.

You see, McCain wouldn't have brought it up, but Obama questioned his manhood, so he's now forced to overcome his reluctance to talk about Ayers in order to defend himself. It's the old warrior's code that's making him do it.
The headline and the conclusions here are unfair. It's indisputable that in accusing McCain of not speaking criticism to Obama's face, the Obama campaign has invited that it happen. So, yes, as McCain says, the question is likely to come up. Whether McCain raises it himself or whether the moderator will pose the question about Ayers to them directly, I don't know. But the Obama campaign's response has made it pretty likely that we're going to hear them speak about Ayers at tomorrow's debate, and there's nothing wrong McCain pointing out this reality.

Bottom line: don't accuse someone of being unwilling to say something to your face if it's going to bother you when they address the point the next time you see them.

I imagine the Obama campaign understands this and has a good rejoinder.

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