I've been meaning to write this piece for a while.
First thing you gotta know, T. Boone Pickens is the guy who funded the Swiftboat ads that trashed the reputation of John Kerry during the 2004 election. Kerry is a war veteran, who, according to the frequently stated values of the right wing, deserves our gratitude and respect. The same way John McCain is always reminding us that he was a P.O.W. -- Kerry is that kind of hero. You don't see Democrats running ads attacking McCain's service like the ones Pickens ran, because they're not the low-life scum that he is. For what he did, he deserves our eternal loathing and hatred. A man like that has no honor. There is no trusting such a person. Ever.
I felt I had to say something when I saw him on stage at the Big Tent at the DNC in Denver, after seeing him on countless TV ads trying to sell himself as a leader for energy independence for the United States.
I thought to myself now that guy is truly clueless. Doesn't he know that he burned his bridges? That most of the people who care about energy independence are the exact same people who loathe him for the kind of right wing scorched earth zero-honor politics he practices? Hasn't anyone told him that he's wasting his time and money -- that his reputation is shit with all intelligent and honorable Americans?
I felt I had an obligation to tell him this, even though I've never met the guy. He should know he's wasting his money. Now I've cleared that one up I can move on with my life.
And his plight should serve as a warning to anyone who is thinking of running Swiftboat-like ads this year. Someday you may want to do something serious. Don't burn your bridges. Try to keep a bit of honor in your life, you might want to use it someday.
That's a young Rumsfeld at the left.
And Kissinger has reared his head in the McCain campaign.
We also know that Rove was an associate of convicted Watergate conspirator Donald Segretti.
No wonder so many core ideas of the Nixon era are accepted, unquestioned by the current crop of Republicos.
The Republicans of 2008 tried to sell us Ronald Reagan, but switched to Teddy Roosevelt when Reagan's deregulation became the financial collapse of 2008. Now they seem to be switching again, in yet another reckless attempt to reignite culture wars, trying to sell us the Republican Party of Richard Nixon.
McCain is quoted in today's NY Times, asking "How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?" I had to look twice to be sure who was being quoted and who he was talking about. Yup it was McCain and he was talking about William Ayers, who in the 60s was a member of the Weather Underground.
What McCain isn't telling you, and many Americans are too young to remember, including the Democratic nominee for President, is that there were two sides to the culture war of the 60s. The side he is adopting, the side of Richard Nixon, was that there is a Silent Majority that supported the war in Vietnam, and the side represented by the anti-war movement, who, it turns out actually did reflect the opinion of the majority of Americans, that the war in Vietnam was a terrible mistake. If one were to measure the goodness of one side over the other based on how many innocents they killed, there's no doubt that McCain's side killed far more. Orders of magnitude more.
In Thursday's debate the Republican candidate said that every Presidency makes mistakes, and it's true of generations too. She said we shouldn't look back to the Bush Administration for their mistakes, so what is the point of McCain digging up the mistakes of Nixon? Or maybe it does deserve looking at, if so, at least Ayers has moved on and done something constructive with his life. McCain, who likely bombed his share of innocents in the 60s, didn't learn, and took us into another senseless war in which we are again killing huge numbers of innocents.
If we're going to have this discussion, and re-litigate the outrages of the 60s, let's look at it from both sides. Or perhaps as so many have, we should just move on and deal with the problems of today and learn from the mistakes of the past.
Update #1: Jane Smiley writing at Huffpost saw the same irony. "John McCain's defense is that he was performing his patriotic duty, and that's what William Ayers would have said, too." Again, the perennial response to Republicans is that they don't have an exclusive on love of country. I wonder when they'll ever hear that and stop claiming one.
Update #2: In my travels I came across this 1972 infomercial for Nixon. You gotta watch it. It'll give you a fresh perspective on how all this Republican michegas got started.
Dave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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