Service Forum: McCain’s Moment of Truthiness
Posted by Alice Chasan on September 11, 2008
Just finished watching ServiceNation’s presidential forum on national service, and I’m here to give credit where it’s due: Judy Woodruff asked John McCain to explain his running-mate’s disparaging taunts about community organizers vs. those — specifically small-town mayors — with “real responsibilities.”
On Monday, here on Rooflines, I posted a challenge to forum moderators Woodruff and Richard Stengel to press McCain to explain how he could both laud civic service and allow his surrogates to deride it when it was performed by Barack Obama.
Woodruff and Stengel didn’t really press McCain on the inconsistencies of his own campaign messaging or his rambling response tonight. Still, Woodruff did get him to say that he had tremendous respect for community organizers — “I respect people who serve their community,” McCain said. “And Senator Obama’s record there is outstanding.” — thereby leaving viewers to conclude that his performance tonight was either the height of disingenuousness or that he rejects the views of Palin, Giuliani, and Pataki, all of whom mocked community organizing at the GOP convention.
You be the judge.
Either way, it was a small moment of triumph for the role of journalists in a democracy in an evening otherwise characterized by the kind of tepid give and take usually reserved for a garden party.
About the author more »
Alice Chasan served as editor and associate publisher of Shelterforce magazine, nhi.org, and shelterforce.org through 2008. During 29 years as a journalist, Chasan has won awards for her investigative and political reporting and public-policy analysis. Her magazine posts have included the chief editorship of World Press Review magazine, executive editorships at Tikkun and The American Prospect, and the chief editorship of New Jersey Reporter, a monthly magazine of politics and public policy. She also served as program and editorial director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, the New York City-based international press freedom advocacy organization.