The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Stooping to their level

Posted by Bill Nance on October 8, 2008

While the Bill Ayers issue is pretty much a red Herring as far as I’m concerned it’s hardly surprising that the Republicans, in the last days of a campaign where they are getting stomped, are stooping to using the tactic of guilt by association.

But frankly I expect better from people on the other side, especially Andrew Sullivan, who continues to hold himself out as virtuously defending honesty and integrity.

At issue is the following post from his blog, entitled: “McCain’s last black votes.”

Says Andrew: “They just evaporated. And deservedly so.”

The gist of this non-story is that in 1991 John McCain wrote a letter asking the State Department to look into a case brought against an American being held in Thailand on heroin trafficking charges. Allegations had been made that the American in question, one James B. Fowler, was the target of a frame-up resulting from his participation as a witness in a murder-for-hire case. Army prosecutors were concerned at the time of the trial that Fowler might be a target for retaliation as a result of his participation in the trial, and had forwarded those concerns to McCain.

Fowler was a Vietnam Vet and former Alabama State Trooper, and McCain indeed wrote a letter on his behalf to the State Department, asking them to look into the matter and report their findings to him. Senators do this sort of thing for Americans all the time, regardless of circumstances. There is nothing to show Fowler received anything more than cursory attention from McCain’s office.

Again, this was in 1991.

In 2005, Fowler revealed that he had been the State Trooper who shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a civil rights protester, in a 1965 “police riot” (my term) which immediately preceded, and many say provoked, the famous civil rights march on Selma, Alabama.

The shooting itself was never investigated by the Justice Department and Fowler went on to live his life, unquestioned about the shooting, until he revealed in an interview with a newspaper that he had indeed been the one who pulled the trigger that night back in 1965. Fowler has been charged with murder in the case and is scheduled to go on trial soon.

Now according to Andrew Sullivan this somehow reflects poorly on McCain.

WTF?

Was Sullvan so prescient that in 1991 he knew, or can reasonably expect that McCain knew, about an alleged (and never charged) murder had taken place in Alabama in 1965 and this same James Fowler was the man who was suspected in the case which the Justice Department never investigated?

I’m really getting rather tired of Sullivan’s preachiness about the integrity of the press, the need for disclosure and the horrors of the McCain campaigns lies, while at the same time he engages in this kind of cheap guilt-by-association stunt.

McCain has giant red bulls-eyes painted all over him. There’s no need to stoop to this silliness. It makes Sullivan look like a fool and only serves to give credence to the conspiracy theorists on the right.

Andrew, please, do us a favor and stop calling yourself a journalist. You’re an opinion writer. And this kind of stuff makes your opinions less credible by the day.

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