Matthew Yglesias has a reputation for being a 'reasonable' liberal blogger, but does this seem 'reasonable' to you?
Ed Kilgore has an excellent post on the oddly backward nature of John McCain's current "biography tour" and the general weirdness of the campaign emphasizing the idea that their candidate is genetically programmed to monger war through his jingoistic heritage (or something). Ed notes the analogy to Bob Dole's 1996 campaign, the last time the GOP thought having an old man talk fondly about long-past suffering was a good way to win elections. Relatedly, I think it was Matt Stoller who pointed out recently that the candidate with the more impressive military record lost in 1992 and 1996 and 2000 and 2004 so there's reason to doubt that McCain's genuinely impressive military record will serve as an ace in the hole for his campaign.
What I'll say on behalf of this strategy is that it's the best way I can think of to try to take advantage of older people's potential discomfort with the idea of a woman or a black man in the White House that doesn't involve exploiting racism or sexism in a discreditable way. McCain's putting together an identity politics counter-narrative steeped in nostalgia; it didn't work against a white southerner running on a very cautious agenda, but 2008 is going to see the Democrats nominating an unorthodox candidate running on a more liberal agenda.
Yglesias is arguing, incredibly, that McCain's focus on his military record is both racist and sexist at the same time. Matt might actually believe this - he seems to be the type who sees racism lurking under every rock. Check out this Blogginheads.tv diavlog with Ann Althouse and go to the section called 'racists on a place' and tell me if he isn't all too willing to hurl the charge of racism in a very knee-jerk and unreasonable way.
The charges of 'racism' from the left seem to be coming much quicker and heavier in the aftermath of the Wright debacle. For example, check out this post entitled "John McCain's Racist Dogwhistle in Meridian, Mississippi" in which Matt Stoller claims that John McCain gave a speech at Meridian, Mississippi because it is only 40 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, which is where the Mississippi Burning murders took place.
Stoller says that "McCain also has some military history in the town", conveniently forgetting to mention that the airfield there is named after McCain's grandfather, and that McCain was a flight instructor there. But no, the real reason McCain went to Meridian is so he can send coded signals to all the KKK cells out there that he is their guy.
Get used to it, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If Obama wins the nomination, we will have many more liberal bloggers and pundits interpreting and translating all the coded racism out there for our convenience. How these liberals all became experts in this field will go unexplained, but never mind you racist.
P.S. Now the left is starting to experiment with 'swiftboating' McCain as well, such as this comment under a different Yglesias post:
Remember, the highlight of McCain's military career was his losing his airplane.
What do you expect?
This is pretty odious. I wonder if this commenter knows about the fire aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal that killed 134 sailors, which was started by a Zuni rocket misfired from McCain's plane. Is the left really going to try to make fun of things like that?
Somehow, I don't see this John 'Crash' McCain meme taking off the way the memes about Kerry's Vietnam service did.