Friday, October 15, 2004

Nobles: Sen. John McCain, for reminding a friend that certain comments are beyond the pale.

Sometimes the harshest criticism comes from your closest friends. Though a Republican, Mr. McCain is a good friend of John Kerry. It helps that the two share similar life stories: Both served in Vietnam, both serve in the Senate and both have presidential aspirations. Their friendship was put to the test earlier this year when Mr. Kerry asked Mr. McCain — reportedly on three occasions — to be his running mate. The senator from Arizona, no doubt slightly bemused at the idea of a bipartisan ticket, declined. Mr. McCain then went on the campaign trail for President Bush, a surprising move since the two were bitter opponents during the 2000 presidential primaries. Mr. Bush welcomed Mr. McCain’s support, and perhaps appreciated the senator’s national popularity.

During his cross-country stumping for the president, Mr. McCain has never resorted to the gutter politics that has defined so much of this campaign season. By all accounts, his friendship with Mr. Kerry is intact and as strong as ever. Which is why Mr. McCain’s recent rebuke of the Democratic candidate is all the more biting. It is also reflective of the noble way Mr. McCain has conducted himself while on the campaign trail (as opposed to former Sen. Max Cleland, who never misses an opportunity to verbally assault the president).

Responding to Mr. Kerry’s unfortunate cheap shot on Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter during the third presidential debate, Mr. McCain said, “Maybe Senator Kerry didn’t appreciate the sensitivity” of the subject, adding “Whether intended or not, it was very inappropriate.” Though subtle, Mr. McCain’s rebuke is about as stinging as you can get, directed as it was at a candidate who would like to conduct a “more sensitive” war on terror.

Mr. Kerry should listen to his friend’s comments, and in the future he should speak with the sensitivity he purports to know so much about.

For telling his friend, Mr. Kerry, to keep it clean, Mr. McCain is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Elizabeth Edwards, for alleging that Lynne Cheney is ashamed of her daughter.

After the third presidential debate, Mrs. Cheney, the vice president’s wife, had a few choice words for Mr. Kerry after the Democratic candidate slung some campaign mud at her daughter, Mary. Her angry rebuttal — “[Mr. Kerry] is not a good man” — was more than justified. Mrs. Edwards apparently doesn’t think so. Speaking on ABC Radio, Mrs. Edwards said: “[Mrs. Cheney] overreacted to this and treated it as if it’s shameful to have this discussion [on Mary Cheney’s lesbianism]. I think that’s a very sad state of affairs … I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter’s sexual preferences.”

Wrong, Mrs. Edwards. But to explain why you’re wrong would bestow a degree of respectability on your comment, which, frankly, speaks for itself.

For taking the Kerry-Edwards campaign to a new low, Mrs. Edwards is the Knave of the week.

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