Saddleback Update: Swift Boats and Crosses

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Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

In an earlier post I discussed how the blogosphere was abuzz about John McCain’s "cross in the dirt" story he told at the Saddleback civil forum on Saturday (and wrote about in his book, Faith of My Fathers).  It turns out the story may be just an urban legend of several origins that had taken root in the Evangelical Christian community, and McCain appropriated the story as his own to get in good with the Evangelical Christians when he was preparing to run for president in 2000. Blog For Arizona: John McCain just makes sh*t up (again)

McCain has produced veteran Bud Day, one of the Swift Boat liars whom McCain condemned in 2004 for their baseless lies and character assassination of John Kerry.  The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan  "Day says McCain told him how one of those guards had ‘made a cross with his foot and wiped it out.’"

As Andrew Sullivan points out, "So [McCain’s] ad imagery with the stick is wrong, according to Day. And no Christmas dating."  Ah, the devil is in the details. 

John Aravosis at Americablog.com asks "Why is the McCain campaign using Swift Boaters at all?  Why is the media not reporting this – how is this not big news?"  Better yet, "why are the Democrats not launching an all out campaign to destroy McCain for having the gall to use a Swift Boater repeatedly as a campaign surrogate?"  McCain campaign AGAIN uses a Swift Boat Veteran as a campaign surrogate   

A second purported veteran, Orson Swindle, has stepped forward to claim that he also remembers McCain telling the "cross in the dirt" story in the early 1970s.  Firedoglake » Who Is Orson Swindle And Why The Hell Should We Believe Him? As David Neiwert explains:

How credible, exactly, is Orson Swindle? Well, consider, for instance:

Swindle served as executive director of "United We Stand, America", and spokesman for Ross Perot‘s 1992 presidential campaign.

Swindle is a Senior Policy Adviser at the lobbying firm of Hunton & Williams in Washington, DC. …

Swindle is also on the board of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), an independent political advocacy group that seeks to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government. Throughout its history, CAGW has been accused of fronting lobbying efforts of corporations to give them the appearance of "grassroots" support. In part, this is because CAGW has accepted donations from Phillip Morris, the Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, Microsoft, Merrill-Lynch, and Exxon-Mobil. CAGW also has ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. While CAGW describes itself as non-partisan, it has endorsed John McCain for president and donated $11,000 to his campaign or groups controlled by him.

OK, so here we have a lobbyist — one of many on McCain’s support team — who’s also a right-wing Republican operative with a history of setting up sham "grassroots" organizations that do the bidding of business and corporate interests. He’s pouring thousands of dollars into McCain’s campaign and lining up thousands more.

And you want us to take his story backing up McCain at face value?

Swindle told quite a different story last May. The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.  From May of this year:

I don’t recall us talking specifically about our faith,” says Orson Swindle, one of McCain’s closest friends and a fellow POW. “We talked about our friends, families, our resistance posture, and that our country didn’t seem to have the will to win.”

Belief in a higher power helped them survive the routine torture and daily indignities, Swindle says. “It would help us endure what we had to endure. But we knew God wasn’t going to come down and wave a magic wand.”

I tend to agree with David Neiwert’s rather colorful conclusion Firedoglake » Who Is Orson Swindle And Why The Hell Should We Believe Him?:

It’s possible John McCain really did have the "cross in the dirt" experience exactly like Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s. It’s also possible that little fairies encapsulated in lightly scented bubbles fly out his ass when he farts.

But until the McCain campaign comes up with a more credible witness, you’ll have to pardon us if we choose not to swallow this one. Because the scent suggests otherwise.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.