Max Cleland - Targeted For Destruction
Max Cleland is an American Hero. A decorated Vietnam war veteran and former United States Senator from Georgia, Cleland was targeted by and defeated by the Republican Spin Machine in favor of Saxby Chambliss. Instead of using debate and persuasion, the Republican Party used fear and scare tactics to take down Cleland.
Max Cleland Profile
Max Cleland was born in Atlanta in 1942 and grew up in Lithonia. He graduated from Stetson University and received a Master's Degree from Emory University. After graduating college, Cleland served in the Army during the Vietnam War. Cleland attained the rank of Captain.
During the Vietnam War, Cleland was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star for valorous action in combat. In April, 1968, Cleland was a Battalion Signal Officer during the Battle of Khe Sanh. Cleland was ordered to set up a radio relay station on a hill. Cleland was flown to Hill 471. While getting off the helicopter Cleland reached down to pick up a grenade he believed had popped off his flak jacket and instead was a live grenade. The grenade exploded and shredded both his legs and one of his arms. He was twenty five years old at the time.
Because of the severity of his injuries, Cleland lost both his legs and his right forearm. Cleland spent time in a VA hospital and then returned home to Georgia. From 1971 to 1975 Cleland served in the Georgia Senate advocating for veterns rights. From 1977 to 1981, Cleland served as the administrator of the United States Veterans Administration and later served 14 years as the Secretary of State of Georgia.
In 1996, Cleland ran and won a seat in the United States Senate replacing Sam Nunn. In the Senate, Cleland was considered a moderate Democrat who was pro-choice and pro-environment but supported the War on Terror and many of the Republican fiscal policies under George
The Chambliss Attack Ad
Chambliss Defends The Ad
Targeted For Destruction
In Cleland's bid for re-election, he ran against Republican Saxby Chambliss. Cleland, though considered a moderate who would support Republican ideas he agreed with, was targeted because he expressed concern about the Bush Administration's War handling of the War on Terror, even though he voted in favor of giving George Bush the power to engage the war.
In this election the Republicans went all out to defeat Cleland. In what was their universal strategy in the Congressional elections of 2002, the Republicans tainted Cleland as soft on national security. In short, they called Max Cleland a coward who was unable to protect the Country. Chambliss released a press statement claiming that Cleland had done too little in defense of the Country. George Bush flew to Georgia three times in a month to campaign for the Republcian candidate.
The most egregrious attack was the Chambliss Ad questioning Max Cleland's courage. The ad ties Cleland to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The ad was so egregious that fellow Republicans John McCain and Chuck Hagel denounced the ads and called for their removal. Chambliss was 54% of the vote and defeated Cleland.
In a campaign where two men who didn't bother to go to Vietnam (George Bush, who defended Texas in the Air National Guard the few times he showed up, and Saxby Chambliss, who claimed he had a bad knee) attacked the courage and patriotism of a man who went to Vietnam and lost three limbs, there is much to learn. First, the campaign is a prime example of how the Republican Spin Machine works. It is a no holds barred ethically lacking machine. The truth is only told if convenient or will be spun to the point where it is no longer recognized. Second, good people don't deserve this. Max Cleland is an American Hero. Since the age of twenty five he has been confined to a wheelchair and still decided to serve the Country. Disagree with his policies sure, but attack his patriotism and courage because he disagreed with the President on one vote and used the politics of fear and terror to destroy his career is too far.
- The Republican Spin Machine
When one thinks of spin, the first things that come to mind tend to be Lawyers and Used Car Salesmen. However, everyone must stand in awe of the power and determination of the Republican Party spin machine....
More by this Author
Come learn about strange coincidences in American Presidential History
I am a self described Liberal. I believe in the power of government to do good without infringing of individual rights. I believe in protecting our environment, regulating the market and defending a woman's right to...
Ask any grade school student in New York or Chicago what City is the capital of California; most would likely say Los Angeles or San Francisco. As amazing as it may seem, however, the Capitol of California is the City...