Self inflicted politics

That's the title of Keith Olbermann's hardblogger entry for tonight, and damn is it worth reading. (Just what I need--another source for news analysis.)

He handles up on the latest from the lying sacks of shit (help me with the google-bomb, would you?) with his usual style and verbal dexterity and notes that the latest way being used to smear Kerry is by using a third party--namely, using O'Neill's book (although I find it insulting to the world of publishing to refer to it as such) as a "source" that raises "interesting questions." Then, the actual talking head doesn't have to actually make the bullshit accusation--they just note that the book makes it and isn't it interesting?

But that tactic doesn't work if the moderator in charge calls bullshit on them, the way Chris Matthews did on Michelle Malkin on Hardball tonight. (Go to Oliver Willis's site for the actual footage.)

Now Malkin got hammered for suggesting that Kerry's wounds were self-inflicted--which Matthews took as "Kerry wounded himself deliberately in order to get out of Vietnam" and which is reasonable to assume Malkin was hinting at, considering that earlier today, Larry Thurlow said of Kerry, "I’m saying that he had a plan that included not only being a war hero, but getting an 'early out.'" How else should Matthews take Malkin's suggestion that the book said Kerry's wounds might have been self-inflicted? Matthews hung her out to dry, and rightly so.

It doesn't matter that the term "self-inflicted" doesn't have a negative denotation--it's possible to, for instance, throw a grenade at an enemy, have a piece of shrapnel hit you in the blowback, and recieve not only a self-inflicted wound, but a Purple Heart, and if the situation warrants it, a commendation as well. It's the connotation that's important here, and the connotation is that Kerry wounded himself so he could get out of Vietnam and also be a hero.

I like the way Olbermann puts it, so I'll just quote him here:

It was all a plan. And if the wounds weren’t deliberately self-inflicted (again, kudos Chris— he immediately told Malkin that such an act constituted a criminal offense), they must have occurred thanks to the timely cooperation of the Viet Cong, who were good enough to shoot Kerry on cue so he could go back home with all those medals and ribbons. You know, the ribbons he threw away in protest.

If we weren't dealing with such serious issues, it would be amusing to watch the right-wing tie itself in such rhetorical knots and resort to such pathetic gambits to try to win their arguments. But these are serious times, and while Kerry's Vietnam service shouldn't be a serious issue, it has been made one by a group of people who are vested in having 4 more years of George W. Bush. They know they can't win on Bush's record as president, so they have to try to destroy his opponent. We can't let it happen--not without a fight.

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