Ken Burns on McCain: Make Nice and Allow Obama to Defeat You

Fresh on the heels of slamming Sarah Palin, film documentarian Ken Burns is now upset at John McCain. Why? Because McCain is being too aggressive in waging his campaign and not politely allowing Obama to ride over him to victory in November. Burns begins his New Hampshire Union Leader Op-Ed piece moaning that this is not the John McCain he used to know, the one who would happily allow Obama to defeat him:

WHAT HAPPENED to John McCain? What happened to the man so many of us in New Hampshire have admired and respected for so long? The fierce bipartisan warrior, the straight talker, the maverick whose ideas nearly everyone found some common ground with now seems missing in action. He seems to have betrayed the very attributes that originally commended him to us and earned our earlier trust and support.

What happened to the John MCain we used to know who would meekly stand aside and allow Obama to rush into the White House without the necessity of being forced to campaign? And now Ken Burns, without the slightest sense of irony about how John Kerry in 2004 kept reminding us that he was in Vietnam, now accuses McCain of "shamelessly" using his POW experiences:

We continue to stand in awe of his heroic service to his country during Vietnam, but now he shamelessly uses those experiences at every opportunity, as if it excuses him from having to answer any really tough questions about the economy or foreign policy. The answer to everything is not to mention his admittedly harrowing POW days. My experience interviewing heroes of war is that most prefer to deflect attention from themselves and let their record speak for itself. McCain seems to think that it buys him a permanent pass. But it is impossible to know how to fight the new wars if you are hopelessly lost in the old ones.

"I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty." Oh, and did you know that he was in Vietnam?  Burns then goes on to pretend how he loved the old John McCain only to be betrayed by the new McCain because he dared oppose the mighty Obama:

We in New Hampshire bear some responsibility, I suppose. Thinking we had the old McCain, we gave him a decisive victory in our primary that permitted him to vanquish those challengers. But he betrayed us. If you have to say you're a maverick in your ads, it's clear you're not.

Are you ready now for a really good Ken Burns money quote in which the documentarian completely rewrites history? Here we go:

The real maverick turns out to be Barack Obama, who bucked his party's establishment and whose once-lonely positions have been adopted by nearly everyone including even the Bush administration. Nearly everyone, that is, except John McCain. So what happened to him?

And what were those "once-lonely positions" that Obama supported that were adopted by nearly everyone? Burns does not say. He isn't referring to Iraq policy, is he? Oh, yes. We sure do remember how "maverick' Barack Obama bucked his party's establishment to urge the Iraq surge upon a reluctant Bush administration. Barack's leadership was so effective that the Bush administration was forced to sign on to it which finally led to victory in Iraq. 

I guess a film documentarian feels it is permissible to rewrite history when it is politically expedient to do so.  However, many of the readers of his screed don't exactly agree with his history rewrite as you can see in these comments below Burns' Op-Ed piece:

Hey Ken Burns, thank you for documenting so well your penchant for using the sinister tactics of personal destruction. Nary one sentence in your pathetic essay above is about the national issues of this campaign, or where the candidates stand on the issues. Instead, you have merely focused on their personal behaviors and relationships, and similar hollow abstractions.

There is no need for Burns to criticize John McCain for "shamelessly" mentioning evens of his past. .... On the other hand, if you are a community organizer from a corrupt Chicago neighborhood with no record of your own, you need bottom feeders like Burns to slam the other guy's record.

No surprises here, Ken Burns is voting for Obama. I would have expected, however, that such a talented and intelligent man would use something more than basic Obama campaign talking-points in a written piece.

Oh, and on the subject of film documentaries, your humble correspondent highly recommends a viewing of  this 2002 film about the Weather Underground on YouTube. You can watch it in 9 parts and among the terrorist "stars" are the friends of Barack: Bernardine Dohrn and her husband, Bill Ayers. This is definitely not a documentary that film documentarian Ken Burns produced.

2008 Presidential Ken Burns

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