One current difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party: the reaction when a politician on the other side makes an obvious vocal flub.
John Kerry used an unclear pronoun, saying, "[If] you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." Kerry had just finished talking about visiting Bush's homestate of Texas, and the whole thing would have made good sense if he hadn't left out the pronoun "us" after "stuck." Kerry was attempting to say that if you're like Mr. Bush, willfully ignoring history and not planning for the future, then you find find yourself in a sticky situation in Iraq. Kerry came right out and said his intent in his wording, yet he was attacked by the RNC, by Mr. Bush, and by Mr. McCain for his comments. The faux-disdain for his comments was a good example of how the right wing smear campaign works. We hear Dick Cheney say, "John Kerry needs to learn that the men and women serving in Iraq aren't there because they didn't study hard or do their homework... They're smart, patriotic, exceptionally well-trained and dedicated to their mission. They are heroes, and they are the pride of the United States of America."
What? Are you deliberately lying, or just stupid? Or both? Why are you willfully misreading Kerry's words?
Of course Bush isn't any better: "The senator's suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting and shameful," Bush said. "The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots -- and Sen. Kerry owes them an apology."
They clearly lied, willfully ignoring the actual meaning of the comment.
Similarly, recently Barack Obama made an unfortunate diction choice, saying that American lives were "wasted" in Iraq. The right wing smear campaign came right out on that, too, despite Obama's immediate apology and statement that he had misspoke.
Well, the other night, John McCain, one of the grand flipfloppers in American politics today, said the same thing on Letterman when announcing his candidacy: ""Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be," McCain said. "We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.""
Does the right wing hate machine come out and blast McCain? Still nothing on Malkin. But the Democrats have come out and supported McCain's accidental word choice.
"The one area I don't think he can be questioned is his dedication to American troops," said Sen. Barack Barack Obama, D-Illinois. "It was the same intent that I had when I made my statement, John McCain and I may have disagreements. The one area that I don't think he can be questioned is his dedication to American troops. He's been there. He's done that."
And that's the difference. You misspeak, it's treated as such. It's your intent that matters.