Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hackett Manhandles GOP Talking-Points Action Figure

As a Veteran myself, it pains me any time I see a fellow Vet humiliated. But last night it was worth it because a) The Iraq war Vet in question so thoroughly deserved it and b) the smackdown was delivered primarily by another Veteran, Paul Hackett of Ohio.

The venue was MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Tuesday night and the person getting his comeuppance was Van Taylor, a Republican Iraq war Veteran who is running for the House of Representatives against Democrat Chet Edwards in Texas.

Taylor, who appeared to have carefully studied one 3X5 card from the Republican National Committee in preparation for his appearance last night, was almost comically unprepared and could only manage to hit the usual GOP talking points no matter what Matthews asked him or how Hackett responded.

It was the usual stuff: "We need to stay in Iraq until we get the job done." "We need to fight them there, because if we don’t fight them there, we're gonna have to fight them here."

You know the drill.

When Matthews hit him on the fact that almost nobody in Iraq is being killed by Al Qaeda -- because Taylor kept bringing Al Qaeda into the picture -- the befuddled Texan could only go back to his prepared script.

"We need to be in Iraq because of Al Qaeda and we cannot leave Iraq until Al Qaeda is eradicated from that country."

There's a long pause before Matthews blurts out "But those are talking points!"

But then Hackett jumps in and really schools Taylor on how, if he's going to appear on television to defend Bush's disastrous policies in Iraq, he better come with more than a handful of GOP talking points.

Here's Hackett:
"What you're watching [in Iraq] is chaos, pandemonium, civil war. This is not something that's going to happen in the future, if we leave because we are going to leave. It's something that is happening every single day in Iraq because this administration has mismanaged this war, has mismanaged the military, has redirected the military, has ignored the advice of the military leaders and has made America the laughing stock of the world.

"They have depleted our prestige, the have depleted our strength as a country and, frankly, Mr. Taylor is an apologist for this failed mission, lack of policy, lack of strategy, lack of goal-oriented mission accomplishment. There is no goal. There is no strategy. There is no plan. This administration is floundering on the world stage and you and I are paying the price for it."
But enough about my take on it… Please go to Crooks and Liars and watch the entire clip.

I guess when 10 of 11* Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are running for Congress as Democrats, the Republicans had to take whoever they could get.

What they got, was Ken Mehlman Jr.

You can reach Bob Geiger at

* In the sentence referenced above, I had originally said that there were 51 Iraq war Veterans running for Congress this year. This is incorrect. It is, in fact, 11 Vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and in some cases, both -- running and only one of those is a Republican. There are a total of 50 Veterans, from all periods of military service, and not only the Iraq war, running as Democrats. I regret the error.