Barack Obama today:
“At times over the last 16 months, my patriotism [has been] challenged – at times as a result of my own carelessness, more often as a result of the desire by some to score political points and raise fears about who I am and what I stand for.”
Not a bad theme. You can almost imagine the ad that might come out of it. Something that looks a little like this …
Speaking of 20 years ago, Obama might also borrow a rhetorical page from the Dukakis playbook in dealing with the Wesley “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president” Clark flap.
From the August 1988 Time magazine:
When Michael Dukakis was asked about news stories casting doubt on George Bush’s World War II heroism, he said, “I don’t think that kind of thing has any place in the campaign . . . You don’t fly 58 missions without enormous courage and tremendous patriotism.”
Dukakis got a lot wrong in that campaign. But on military experience, he got it right.