A little counterprogramming to this week’s tributes at the convention from lefty propagandist Robert Greenwald, proving again that he’s perfectly at ease with the sort of “fearmongering” that progressives like to pretend only conservatives engage in. The most striking thing about this isn’t what Butler has to say — the talking points about McCain’s temper and “residual effects” suffered by POWs are old hat, and especially unconvincing given how stable and sober Butler himself seems — but how amateurish the editing is for a supposed ol’ pro documentarian like Greenwald. If the point is to frighten undecideds into thinking Maverick’s off his nut, why on earth would you include the stuff at the end pointing out Butler’s policy disagreements with him? His usefulness to the left is as a “neutral” observer of McCain’s supposed madness (even though he never offers anything more damning than that he’s “easy to anger”). Tacking on the shots at his supposedly bellicose foreign policy and Christian politicking only make him sound partisan and ulteriorly motivated, just as the unfair bit at the beginning about McCain being recognized as the POW makes him sound like he’s bearing a grudge. If Greenwald wasn’t such a partisan robot himself, he’d have realized that and cut it. As it is, he can’t resist.
Needless to say, this line of attack would have been a lot more effective earlier in Maverick’s career, before he spent 25 years in Washington absorbing the worst shots people could take at him and yet, curiously, never once melting down in some sort of Hanoi PTSD flashback. Exit question: Does Greenwald really want a battle of character witnesses on this point? How’d that work out for Sullivan?