Today the Obama campaign released a new campaign ad that mocks John McCain for not using a computer or sending email. Here’s a description of the computer illiterate ad and more details. I quote a portion of the ad below:
He admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer, can’t send an e-mail . . .
Great effort is made in this political ad to paint the 72 year old McCain as old and out of touch. However, there just might be a good reason why McCain doesn’t use a computer. Mary Leonard of the Boston Globe reported on March 4, 2000 that:
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. (Emphasis added.)
By war injuries, Leonard was referring to the beatings and torture McCain received at the hands of the Viet Cong during his five years of captivity as a prisoner of war.
I first learned of this side of the story today through the Drudge Report which referenced a Jonah Goldberg article on NationalReview.com. Goldberg aptly pointed out that under McCain’s unique circumstances, mocking him for not using a computer would be like expressing outrage that the blind governor of New York, David Patterson, doesn’t know how to drive a car and would thus be ignorant of transportation issues.
Goldberg also cited a 2000 Slate article from Jacob Weisberg (who interestingly is identified as “pro-Obama”). I quote from this article:
Six months ago, no one would have pegged McCain as the most cybersavvy of this year’s crop of candidates. At 63, he is the oldest of the bunch and because of his war injuries, he is limited in his ability to wield a keyboard.
Goldberg’s article concludes with an interesting analogy between McCain’s lack of computer usage and Obama’s lack of military experience. I quote in part:
[H]ow stupid is it for the Obama campaign to claim that McCain is unqualified to be president because he can’t grasp cyber-security issues based on the fact he has never sent an email when the McCain campaign can just as easily say Obama can’t understand first order national security issues because he’s never fired a rife, flown a plane, commanded men in battle, or faced an enemy? I mean which prepares someone to be commander in chief better, hitting “send” on AOL or fighting a war?
I suggest the Obama campaign should think about the sizeable experience gap in their candidate relative to McCain before mocking McCain about his lack of email usage. They would be wise to consider who they throw rocks at since they are the ones who live in the glass house.