Making the most of a tragedy

MAKING THE MOST OF A TRAGEDY….I hesitate to use the word “shameless,” but to see presidential campaigns exploit the Bhutto assassination for partisan gain is more than a little disconcerting.

Josh Marshall noted, “The leading Dem candidates for president appear to be in a pitched battle to make the most craven and insipid uses of the Bhutto assassination for immediate political advantage. A true horse race.”

I think that’s certainly true, but I’d add that it’s not just Democrats.

In response to a question from CNN’s Dana Bash on whether the current situation helps his campaign, McCain responded: “I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment, so perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials, or make people understand that I’ve been to Waziristan, I know Musharraf, I can pick up the phone and call him. I knew Benazir Bhutto, I know the area. But I hate for anything like this to be the cause of any political gain for anyone.” (emphasis added)

Translation: “Once I’m done exploiting the tragedy, it’s important to note how wrong it is to exploit the tragedy.”

Paul Krugman has some helpful advice to the entire field of presidential hopefuls:

To all the presidential campaigns trying to claim that the atrocity in Pakistan somehow proves that they have the right candidate — please stop.

This isn’t about you; in fact, as far as I can tell, it isn’t about America. It’s about the fact that Pakistan is a very messed-up place. This has very bad consequences for us, but it’s hard to see what, if anything, it says about US policy…. This isn’t about us, and it’s out of our control.

Atrios added, “When your first reaction to an event like this is to tell voters what you think it says about you, it’s time to get off the campaign trail for a few minutes.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.