Friday, June 4, 2010

Simply Bizarre.

John R
Well I am certainly glad he is a Republican. At least we won't have to hear about any of this distasteful stuff from the MSM. Up next , Why isn't Obama angry? Senator John McCain joins us to explain the finer points of loosing your temper in public.
The good news is, Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois finally apologized yesterday for a series of highly misleading claims about his military service. Coming down with a sudden case of Bush-itis, Kirk added, "I simply misremembered it wrong."

The bad news is, the list of instances in which Kirk "misremembered" his service record managed to get even longer.

In a new disclosure, Kirk acknowledged that his campaign's promotion of him coming under fire while flying aboard an intelligence reconnaissance plane in Iraq may not be correct because there is no record of whether his aircraft was being fired upon.

But it wasn't just campaign promotional materials that got it wrong. In 2003, as a member of Congress, Kirk told his colleagues, "I just returned from Iraq and the trend is for the better. The last time I was in Iraq, I was in uniform flying at 20,000 feet and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us."

In his new account, Kirk said he does not recall coming under enemy fire and there is no record to back up his 2003 claim.

The Chicago Tribune added, "Kirk also said last year that he once saw anti-aircraft flack when flying an intelligence mission over Kosovo and thought he might be killed." Whether this incident occurred in reality is also unclear.

The Illinois Republican also exaggerated his service record in a letter to a constituent, claiming to be "a veteran of the Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom missions," which isn't quite right, either.

At this point, it's genuinely difficult to keep track of all of Kirk's claims about his service record that have been proven false. Let's see if I have them all: Kirk (1) falsely claimed he served "in" Operation Iraqi Freedom; (2) falsely claimed to "command the war room in the Pentagon"; (3) falsely claimed to have won the U.S. Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award; (4) falsely claimed to have been shot at by the Iraqi Air Defense network; (5) falsely claimed to be a veteran of Desert Storm; and (6) falsely claimed to be the only lawmaker to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom. There may very well be other instances, but these six are confirmed.

A misstatement or two can be embarrassing, but understandable. Kirk seems to have established a lengthy pattern of exaggerating his service record in a way that appears intended to deceive the public. Given that he served honorably, there's no reason for such wild embellishments.

In other words, Kirk is repeating falsehoods when the truth would be just as good. It's bizarre.

Greg Sargent

* Sorry Mr. President, your latest display of anger about the Gulf spill, in a new interview with Larry King, just won't cut it:

"I am furious at this entire situation," he said. "Somebody didn't think through the consequences of their actions and it is imperiling not just a handful of people. This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years."

Has BP felt his anger?

"They have felt the anger," he said.

Nope, it's not good enough for you to say you're furious, Mr. President. Kick something. Smash a camera with your bare hands. Vulcan Death Grip rhetoric just won't do.

* And this line from Obama, in the same interview, is really problematic:

"This isn't about me and how angry I am. It's about the people down in the Gulf and how they were impacted."

Actually, it is all about how angry you are, Mr. President. Haven't you figured that out yet?

* Steve Benen argues, rightly I think, that Obama's speech yesterday contrasting Dem and GOP visions of government was far more significant than the media has allowed.

Greg Sargent

* There's no getting around the fact that the public is unhappy with Obama's handling of the Gulf spill: A new CBS poll finds that nearly two thirds of Americans want Obama to be doing more.

* Which prompts the question o' the day: Is it possible the public is unhappy with the substance of his response, which has faced plenty of legitimate criticism, as opposed to the theatrics of it? More on this later.

* Obama finally cancels his trip to Indonesia, presumably to focus on the spill. But is he apoplectic yet, or merely just furious?

* And he's heading to the Gulf today. Mr. President, please kneel down on the Gulf shore and beat your breast for a full five minutes. Then Maureen Dowd and I will decree whether the public thinks you've emoted sufficiently yet.

* If you don't want to listen to me about this, listen to Ruth Marcus, who tries to talk some sense into pundit colleages demanding that Obama play "angry daddy."

Bernstein: Scandal!

Ezra Klein returns from China to find a puzzling kerfuffle over the Sestak thing, and asks:

So what's going on? Are people just pretending to be offended?
Short answer: yes, people are just pretending to be offended. That's what's going on.

See a related post from Conor Friedersdorf.

Longer answer: the US has a disconnect between a political system based on parties, bargaining, deal-making, logrolling, and, more broadly, (self-) interested people and groups finding ways to work things out with each other, and a political culture that has quite a bit of disdain for all those things. See, for example, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and the dozens of movies and TV shows that have followed, all built around the idea that parties are bad, interest groups are bad, cutting deals is bad, and the only hope for democracy are radically independent people with pure motives who alone have access to what constitutes good policy. Thanks to that disconnect, there are always plenty of perfectly ordinary things that pols do in the perfectly ordinary course of their jobs that can easily be sold to many reporters as corrupt.

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