Monday, April 14, 2008

VetVoice: NC Media piling on McHenry's "Macaca" moment

by: Brandon Friedman, Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 14:19:05 PM EDT

After being chastised by the media and the Pentagon last week for endangering American lives in the Green Zone, it's still not over for Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC). Following a damaging editorial in the Greensboro News & Record on Friday, another major North Carolina newspaper has now chimed in.

Writing for the Winston-Salem Journal, columnist Paul O'Connor said on Sunday that McHenry may have had his "macaca" moment]:

In a campaign where press coverage is down, McHenry may be helping to establish a new trend: candidates who commit political suicide using their own medium of communication without newspapers or network television news playing any part.

The founding father of the Keystone politicians' camp is, of course, Virginia's former Republican Sen. George Allen. (For young people, the Keystone Cops were a hilariously incompetent police force from the silent-movies era.) Allen destroyed his 2006 candidacy for re-election and a good chance to be the 2008 Republican presidential nominee with a disparaging remark about an Indian American that was captured on video.

McHenry's denigration of the security guard appeared in the same kind of venue -- a Republican Lincoln County dinner. Apparently, he felt comfortable among friends, as Allen did, in making his arrogant and caustic remark. The problem with this kind of event, however, is that people who aren't friends often attend and videotape them. McHenry's opponent, Lance Sigmon, had someone there who video-recorded the speech. It went up on

As if that weren't bad enough, McHenry added to his woes by then uploading, onto his own congressional Web site, a video from the Green Zone of himself trying to look brave and patriotic. In his best Christiane Amanpour war-correspondent impersonation, he notes how rocket fire one day hit here and there.

O'Connor goes on to conclude:

When a candidate like McHenry says something as stupid as he did and gets taped, the subterranean medium that has become so influential in the past several years -- the blogosphere -- eats him alive. Then, when he adds to his trouble by so naively posting, on his own Web site, a video that threatens operational security for our soldiers, he just gives his opponents more to work with. That second offense -- along with the Pentagon's telling McHenry that he violated the rules -- just plays into Sigmon's efforts to draw a distinction between his military service and McHenry's lack of it.

And we here in the big, bad liberal press conspiracy had nothing to do with it. If Patrick McHenry loses his job, the only voice he can blame is his own.

For Patrick McHenry, this just isn't going away. On the same day that O'Connor's piece appeared in the Sunday paper, McHenry's primary opponent--Lance Sigmon--posted a YouTube video wherein he launched a vicious attack on the incumbent during a public appearance last week.

I don't know whether this will indeed be a macaca moment for McHenry, though do I know that the chances are excellent. One only has to look at the number of noticeably silent Republicans--both in Congress and locally in North Carolina--to recognize that McHenry has no support from within in the Party. Not one has come out to publicly defend him or his record. Even local TV news stations have highlighted the lack of support McHenry has gotten in his own community.

This brewing storm in North Carolina's 10th District over McHenry's recent exploits makes it all the more stupefying that he's yet to issue an apology for posting his Green Zone video. Instead, his office has chosen to remain silent--probably thinking hoping that this will just fade away.

Good luck with that.

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