I think the most striking thing about this video, showing McCain in a stunned silence as he attempts to answer two questions (How did Obama play the race card? And what has McCain done for black folks?) isn't his inability to respond, but rather the fact that campaign manager Rick Davis made this statement in the first place:

We are not going to let anybody paint John McCain, who has fought his entire life for equal rights for everyone, to be able to be painted as racist.

The problem with a statement like "fought his entire life for equal rights" is that there are people who actually did fight for equal rights, in the streets, in courtrooms, and in the halls of Congress. Some of these people were beaten, murdered, jailed, hounded by the police and the FBI, and yet they continued to demand the dignity due them as human beings. McCain himself described the marchers at Selma in 1965 as "the best kind of patriots." I would agree.

But McCain himself does not have that kind of record, and the fact is, there are few people who can really say that they've fought their entire lives for equal rights for everyone. We should respect the sacrifice of those who did by leaving that kind of decscription to those to whom it truly applies. Anything less is like pretending you fought in Vietnam when you really sat out the war on a base in Texas.

--A. Serwer

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