Wednesday, September 17, 2008
First, I want to caution others against unfairly disparaging Dr. Phillip Butler, as some commenters have done. He is a combat decorated Naval Aviator and former POW and deserves our respect for his service and sacrifice. Beyond that, though, while his opinion may be contrary to yours, I saw nothing in that video that was rude or disrespectful to Sen. McCain, and I feel that Dr. Butler, just on a level of human decency, at least deserves the same consideration.
It is fair, however, to examine both the messenger and those who would give him greater voice. On the latter, it has already been noted how the ad sponsor, Democracy for America, was not only founded by DNC chairman Howard Dean and currently run by his brother, Jim Dean, but quite clearly identifies itself as a "grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up" that is dedicated to "support[ing] progressive issues and candidates up and down the ballot." Now there's nothing wrong with this group putting out any ad it chooses, but it is less than honest for some, like Talking Point Memo, to call them an "independent group" or to compare this ad made and sponsored by what may in fairness be viewed as an adjunct to the Democrat party to those previously done by SBVT, a group that included many from both parties.
As to Dr. Butler, it is fair to note that, in contrast to the SBVT, he is but a single voice. But should that make his message less important? If it is an important message, perhaps not, but I contend that it may not be. In fact, Sen. McCain's experiences as a POW and his "infamous reputation for being a hot head" are only two of many reasons Dr. Butler expressed in his article "Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain" published at military.com on March 27, 2008. Among the other reasons cited are the standard laundry list of Democrat talking points:
- "support[ing] Bush's war in Iraq"
- "[his] views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration"
- "his voting record is far to the right"
- "I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court"
- "he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers"
I do not begrudge Dr. Butler his opinions nor his right to express them, but I do find it insulting, offensive and, unfortunately, completely expected for a Democrat supporting and supported organization to attempt to hide not only their affiliation but their spokesman's partisan affiliations and ostensibly present him as just an average Joe. As the Blogfather would say, it's just another case of dog bites man.