It’s not surprising that Andrew Sullivan is a bit touchy about the fact that John McCain outperformed Barack Obama on Saturday, but he reaches a new low by approvingly linking to a post on DailyKos accusing McCain of fabricating his story about a North Vietnamese guard drawing a cross in the sand on Christmas while he was a POW.
The DailyKos post says that McCain stole the story from Solzhenitsyn, who recounted a fellow prisoner drawing a cross in the sand — as if, with 2 billion Christians in the world, it’s totally impossible that two separate crosses could have been drawn in the ground in two different prison camps.
The other “evidence”? In McCain’s initial account of his captivity for a 1973 magazine article, Sullivan notes, McCain doesn’t tell the story! I’d like to see anybody attempt to consolidate five and a half years of their life into a single article, and see if they include everything that ever happened to them — let alone spending that time as a POW. Yet Sullivan hyperventilates, “I have one simple question: when was the first time that McCain told this story?”
Technically, there’s no real way to confirm the story, since it was a personal experience of McCain. But what we do know is that McCain’s fellow prisoners have consistently corroborated other aspects of his captivity account, and have nothing but the highest praise for his character. Yet now Sullivan is engaging in partisan smear tactics by implying that McCain is making up stories about his POW experience for political gain.
One expects this sort of thing from DailyKos, because the angry left is eager to get back at Republicans for going after John Kerry’s war record. But Sullivan has been consistently sanctimonious whenever anybody questions the character — or war record — of a politician. Any criticism of Obama’s character generates an instant irate response from Sullivan as a vicious “smear.” In fact, the very appeal of Obama, Sullivan has argued, is that he will move the nation beyond this destructive brand of Rovian/Swift Boat politics.
Yet now he’s become such a shameless shill for the Obama campaign that without a shred of evidence, he’s ready to question McCain’s account of his own captivity, leapfrogging off of a frantic post on a partisan left-wing site. Absolutely shameful.
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