The Otter Defense
Political Animal Kevin Drum calls it “beneath contempt“:
George Bush is trying to suggest that John Kerry’s criticism of the policies that led to the Al-qaqaa explosives debacle is actually a veiled denigration of the American troops in Iraq. Via email from the Kerry campaign, here’s what General Merrill McPeak, former chief of staff of the Air Force, has to say about this:
The President seems to think Senator Kerry could not possibly be criticizing him since the President thinks he has never made a mistake. Letâ€™s be perfectly clear: it is the President who dropped the ball. Senator Kerry is being critical of George Bush, not the troops. By embarking on the line of attack, George Bush is deflecting blame from him over to the military. This is beneath contempt.
He’s right. It’s the Bush campaign pushing the line that criticism of the president’s policies is criticism of the troops. It really is beneath contempt.
…but to us aficionados of the lowbrow, it is quite obvious that Bush is actually employing the time-tested Otter Defense:
Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female party guests — we did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the actions of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you … isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!