Saturday, July 05, 2008

Attacking A Smear

By now you have probably heard of, and possibly seen, the dust-up between Cliff May and Ed Schultz on Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday, July 3, 2008 in which May charges "some on the left who would like to see America defeated in Iraq as a demonstration exercise that U.S. power never, never can be used for good." This is the relevant portion of the argument:

MAY: Yes. And I think also on some of the more left-wing blogs, Obama is taking some hits.

But this does move him to the center. And, look, I want to put -- I'm not a big fan of his, but I'm going to put the best spin on it, which is that he understands the situation fairly well, certainly better than the Daily Kos does and some of those on the left who would like to see America defeated in Iraq as a demonstration exercise that U.S. power never, never can be used for good.

SCHULTZ: Whoa. Whoa.

That is absolutely outrageous. That is outrageous for you to say that people on the left want to lose in Iraq. I'm not going to sit here and listen to that. This is the Fourth of July. We are Americans. We don't believe in fighting in Iraq the way we are doing. We're depleting our resources. That's ridiculous.


MAY: Well, Ed, just tell me how you're going to win in Iraq if we have no troops there.

SCHULTZ: You don't even know what the definition of win is.


MAY: Tell me the definition of win is. If I don't know it, you tell me.


SCHULTZ: We don't have enough money doing this. We are absolutely hurting ourselves staying in Iraq. The Iraqi people need to step up. The real enemy here is in Afghanistan.


MAY: And they are.


SCHULTZ: For you to sit here and say that liberals don't want to defend this country is unconscionable.

MAY: I didn't say it of you.

(CROSSTALK) SCHULTZ: That is absolutely outrageous.

MAY: There are those on the left who would think that a U.S. defeat in Iraq would be like a U.S. defeat in Vietnam, an object lesson for Americans about the use of force.

SCHULTZ: Listen, Mr. May, I don't know where you get your information, but I spoke to Barack Obama face to face today.

MAY: Congratulations to you.

Schultz did well in denouncing this scurrilous charge, not unique to Cliff May. However, in a race in which the presumptive Democratic candidate has promised "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," the Democratic side can do even better. Perhaps something like this: ".... now that the Republican Party is carrying water for OPEC and endorsing price-gouging middle-class Americans" or "the Republican Party, working to keep oil prices high." Hopefully, some strategist, consultant, or public relations firm can come up with something snappier but, given the action by the Senate GOP on June 10, 2008 in blocking a bill which would have "opened the way for antitrust actions against the OPEC oil cartel" and "made energy price gouging a federal crime," the charge seems only fair.

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