On “Cancer Ridden”

Orac is right to call out Stoller for referring to McCain as cancer-ridden–it’s not true.
Worse, it’s cruel, and I should have made it clear that I’ve never supported the ‘cancer critique.’ (I have called McCain many things, but never that). At the time, I thought it would be dishonest to cut out that one sentence, but I was absolutely wrong to not to call out Bowers on this. The part that I highlighted–which was why I thought the post was worth quoting:

Our nominee should crush this guy. And if he doesn’t, then next year, the Generals are going to come out and undermine Obama unless he pursues neoconservative policies, and he’s not going to have set himself up for establishing civilian control of the military because he’s continued the ridiculous tradition of criticism of our militaristic political system being off-limits….

Given how badly everything is going, that McCain still polls at around 40-45% is mindboggling. And Bowers is absolutely right in that Obama has not done anything to even begin to lay the groundwork for taking back our foreign policy from the military establishment. If he doesn’t, that will kill a lot of people one way or another.
The cancer comment was offensive, and it’s my fault for not disavowing that. But death by a bullet or a cluster bomb is also awful, and it’s a lot easier to prevent. Likewise, if you want healthcare reform so more people can get the treatment they need, I think my observation about Obama and Patrick still stands:

Obama’s campaign is a mass movement, not a grassroots one, in that the communication–and decision-making–are unidirectional. I hope I’m wrong, but I think Obama is kidding himself if the movement to get him elected will continue after the election, having undercut the grassroots organizations that would naturally support him. That means he won’t have a political base. This isn’t far-fetched at all: the same exact thing has happened to Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, who ran the same kind of ‘change’ campaign that Obama has. And now Patrick doesn’t have a base of support.

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4 Responses to On “Cancer Ridden”

  1. HennepinCountyLawyer says:

    I’m no expert on these matters, but my strong impression is that the military adventurism is being pushed by neoconservatives in the civilian government. The military, which actually has to do the fighting, tends to be much less eager than the chicken hawks who get to send the military in.

  2. I didn’t want to think this at the beginning, but I am starting to believe that the author of this article on Slate is correct: If Obama loses: racism is the only reason McCain might beat him.

  3. HCL,
    I would argue that the upper leadership of the military (e.g., the Man Named Petraeus) is very conservative. Sure, some of them thought Iraq was a stupid war, but try convincing most of them that spending around $525 billion on defense (that’s before Iraq & Afghanistan) is too much, or that we should not have garrisons (that’s what they are) around the globe. I do agree with you that the civilian leadership is a problem, particularly in the Bush Administration.
    I’m not so sure. I think some of it is racism, and some of it is the “change” rhetoric. As people get older (Mad Biologists included), change becomes less appealing–what you really want are things to be the way you thought they were. On the other hand, given the tail off among 65+, racism has to play a role.

  4. mirc says:


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