Mark Halperin and Andrew Sullivan Have Forgotten How to Read

A few months ago, Paul Krugman described as “Clinton Rules” the press’ tendency to use any statement from Hillary Clinton, no matter how innocuous, as an excuse to generate a fake scandal.

Welcome to the new world of McCain Rules: any criticism of McCain, now matter how straightforward, is condemned as Swift-Boating or character attacks.

Yesterday on Face the Nation, Wes Clark stated the obvious: John McCain has no experience in making critical national security decisions. He was a war hero as a POW, has served on the Armed Service Committee, and was a squadron commander during peacetime, but he has not been tested in pressure situations requiring the exercise of judgment. Neither does Obama, of course, but as Clark very clearly pointed out, Obama isn’t running on this assertion–McCain is, and needs to be called on it.

For some reason, Sullivan attacks this as swift-boating, and links it personal attacks on McCain that Clark never uttered and never suggested. Helperin says that Clark’s words criticized McCain’s war record, which they very clearly did not.

I don’t expect mainstream guys like Halperin to be able to read: he’s just a stenographer. But this is really beneath Sullivan. Jeez–just listen to it on YouTube.

So now, the McCain camp has gotten the vapors. Call out the scented handkerchiefs! If McCain can’t stand up to Wes Clark, then how can he stand up to the terrorists?

Update More here.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.