As for the 11 seconds of interrogation footage, I suspect this is largely a matter of taste. Some will see this as yet another reminder of what McCain had to endure during his military service as a young man, some will see this as ghoulish. I assume the focus groups must have liked it, or the footage wouldn’t have been included.
It did remind me, though, of what McCain had to say about these kinds of tactics. In 2004, for example, he criticized John Kerry for reminding voters of his own heroic service. McCain said he was “sick and tired of re-fighting the Vietnam War,” and disparaged Kerry, saying his emphasis on his military record is “clearly a tactical or strategic move.” McCain said he intentionally avoided talking about his service during his 2000 campaign.
And yet, eight years later, he’s building a campaign ad around interrogation footage taken from a Vietnamese prison. It’s quite a departure from McCain’s previous strategy.
Do I smell unlikely romance in the air? For those about to tsk-tsk, I ask you this question: how can it be wrong when it feels so right? Paradox! It can’t be wrong – logic forbids it. We’ll play through.