Jim Geraghty has this right, although he left one out: once may have been an anomaly, twice a mistake, three times suspicious, and four times is a strategy. A Democratic candidate running against Jack Kingston in Georgia who supports Barack Obama ridiculed John McCain’s military service in a campaign appearance yesterday. Bill Gillespie called McCain a “self-promoter” who came from “Navy royalty” who didn’t earn his way through his military career:
In a nearly-half hour speech, Democratic congressional candidate Bill Gillespie praised Obama, his party’s leading White House hopeful. But he devoted most of his remarks to criticisms of McCain, an Arizona senator who has wrapped up the GOP nomination and was in Savannah for a fundraiser. …
He said his “heart grieves” for McCain‘s suffering as a POW. “After that,” Gillespie said, “he was somewhat of a celebrity and it went to his head. … I think he was a self-promoter for the last four years (in the Navy.)
Asked to cite specific examples, Gillespie responded, “I don’t have one right now.” [emphasis mine — Ed]
Shorter Gillespie: “I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Now we have at least three Democrats and Obama supporters on the record as attacking McCain’s 24 years of service in the Navy: Gillespie, Jay Rockefeller, and Tom Harkin, as well as unnamed “colleagues” in the Matt Bai hit piece in the New York Times. The criticisms sound remarkably similar; all of them question the quality of his service, claiming that he grew up as a child of privilege and had his career handed to him, in a role where he didn’t know what combat was really like. He had a “silver spoon”, was “Navy royalty”, and so on.
This sounds like someone wants to fight the elitist stink that has attached itself to the Barack Obama campaign through the intrepidity of the candidate himself. Obama scorned middle-America voters as bitterly clinging to guns and God because of a lack of wealth redistribution in America, while his wife told audiences that she only starting taking pride in America when people supported Obama’s bid for the presidency, and his pastor and friend talked about the US government’s creation of the HIV virus as a genocidal tool against people of color. Team Obama has argued ever since that McCain is the real elitist, and not the Harvard-educated man who sat on boards with William Ayers and never knew he had befriended an unrepentant domestic terrorist.
If the Obama campaign wants to continue its denigration of military service, let them. It’s going to be difficult to sell McCain as a man who got a free ride through a distinguished naval career and attempt to turn a real war hero into a dilettante. That effort will reveal the anti-military animus that surrounds Team Obama and its supporters on the hard Left better than any ad the Republicans can produce.