Monday, July 28, 2008

AP vs Truth

I thought the Buffalo News was going to publish this after I edited it down to 200 words, and got a confirmation call, but I did not see it. Perhaps because the casino ruling came down that week. (The Buffalo Creek Casino is illegal.)

It's a sad day when a newspaper needs to fact check wire service stories, but that day has come for the Buffalo News and the Associated Press.

In the Saturday story bylined by Jennifer Loven, her account of Obama's position on ending the war in Iraq reads as if it just came off the fax from the McCain campaign.

She claims that Obama has shifted his position on ending the Iraq war. The fact is that he has consistently said that the goal of withdrawing one to two combat brigades per month, in consultation with our generals in theatre, would lead to complete withdrawal in sixteen months.

The plain truth is that Obama wants to end the war, and McCain does not.

The new narrative against Obama is that he has somehow changed his position on a number of issues. This is a Karl Rove style campaign tactic, to attack your opponent's strength, especially if it is your own candidate's weakness. Obama clearly has not changed his positions on the issues, but McCain clearly has.

The McCain of 2008 is not the same as the McCain of 2000, or 2006, or even this year's primary season. He has reversed himself on everything from the Bush tax cuts (against them before he was for them) to torture (against it before he was for it) to immigration (for it before he was against it).

The steadfast maverick McCain is a figment of imagination, nurtured by a press corps that loves him for his barbecue and "straight talk".

But if you liked a position he took on an issue in 2000, or in the primary debates this year, you would be smart to look up his position on the issue today. Where he stands depends on whose support he is seeking. He was pandering then, and he is pandering now. The real question is, who is the real McCain?

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