Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain Starts Debate Off With A Lie

I know, the title of this post doesn't shock you like I would hope. But it's worth pointing out anyways. Here's one of the first points McCain made in the debate:

SEN. MCCAIN: But there's also the issue of responsibility. You've mentioned President Dwight David Eisenhower. President Eisenhower, on the night before the Normandy invasion, went into his room, and he wrote out two letters. One of them was a letter congratulating the great members of the military and Allies that had conducted and succeeded in the greatest invasion in history -- still, to this day, and forever. And he wrote out another letter, and that was a letter of resignation from the United States Army for the failure of the landings at Normandy. Somehow we've lost that accountability.
I've been heavily criticized because I called for the resignation of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pretty impressive. Powerful imagery. Made for some good TV. Except for a couple of minor issues. First, McCain was not criticized for saying he would ask for the resignation of the SEC Chairman. He was criticized for saying he would FIRE the SEC chairman, a power that no president has. Geez McCain, why don' you listen to the moral of your own little story and take some responsibility by owning up to the fact that you either misspoke or don't know what powers the president has, but don't try to play the victim.
Second, thanks to the National Archives, we actually have a copy of Eisenhower's letter. And guess what, he never offers to resign if the operation was a failure. He does take responsibility for its failure, but he never offers to resign. What makes this so sad is that McCain obviously thought about this before the debate and this was going to be his great tug at the hearts showpiece at showing how great leaders take responsibility. Unfortunately, he got it wrong. Somehow I doubt he'll take the responsibility of admitting he was wrong.

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