Getting on offense

Let’s use the Corsi controversy to publicize the books that tell the truth about John McCain.

It’s good to see the Obama folks playing good defense on Obama Nation, but defending isn’t winning. I wonder whether it will occur to anyone in the media to use the fuss about Jerome Corsi’s book of lies about Barack Obama as a “hook” to take a look at books telling the truth about John McCain. If I were an Obama surrogate appearing opposite Corsi, I’d be sure to ask the interviewer why Corsi is getting airtime while real journalists who wrote real books with real facts in them are being ignored.

For example:

Cliff Schecter’s The Real McCain

Matt Welch’s McCain: The Myth of the Maverick

David Brock’s Free Ride: John McCain and the Media

I’d also mention the devastating takedown of McCain by Amy Silverman, mentioned in this space a few days ago.

Update Of course it would be wrong to fight fire with fire, or even to tell the truth about McCain in a Fox-News-like unfair and biased way. So it was very wrong to make this video …

… and it will be equally wrong for you to send the link to everyone in your address book.

I just mentioned this to a friend who is as hard-core a political junkie as I am, and my friend didn’t know that McCain had broken under torture and made propaganda films for the North Vietnamese. So I guess most voters don’t know that either.

Now since virtually anyone will break under those conditions, and since McCain has always been frank about his actions, no reasonable person who understands what “torture” means will think less of him for his actions in the POW camp. McCain’s refusal to accept the North Vietnamese offer of early release because of his father’s importance was an act of heroism. It’s McCain’s subsequent flip-flop on torture that was the act of a man with a big ambition and a small soul.

But swing voters tend not to be reasonable or well-informed, and if everyone knew the facts about McCain’s captivity many of them would, wrongly, think less of him for it. That’s what will make it so wrong, so unfair, for you to help this thing go viral.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: