To Matt Stoller, cancer is the new cooties

If you wish to insult me in a meaningful way, look to my ideology, my pen-pushing proclivities, or my cancer. Sure, that’s fine.

I was not surprised that a few Sundays ago, a lad named Matt Stoller had referred to John McCain as “a crazy cancer-ridden dishonest madman [sic].” (The bracketed Latin is there because he skipped the commas. ) This was after a rant in which he complained that Obama “should crush” McCain. He blames David Plouffe for not consulting the lefty netroots on how to do this. (Mr. Stoller really wants to talk to Axelrod, and Axelrod has probably heard what happened to Ned.)

True enough, John McCain once had cancer. He was not cancer-ridden – Is it possible to be ridden with melanoma, skin cancer? – but don’t begrudge the rabid American left a little hyperbole when poking fun at a deadly affliction like cancer. You know, John McCain, his medical records inform us, is cancer free.

I’d never read a word written by Stoller until someone sent me a link to Matt Stoller’s post defending himself for attacking McCain on his battles with skin cancer. A cancer surgeon had written to Matt Stoller:

As a cancer surgeon, I found that bit about “cancer-ridden madman” to be a truly despicable rhetorical gambit, not to mention irrelevant. John McCain had melanoma. He was successfully treated for it, and has been cancer-free for seven years, making the likelihood of a recurrence very small.

Matt’s defense?

It is very likely that McCain has cancer or some other serious illness. There’s no reason McCain wouldn’t let reporters look at his records otherwise. McCain is 72 years old and he was a POW, a member of a group with high rates of illness due to ill-treatment on the part of their captors.

Cancer is relevant to the Presidency. Misleading the press about one’s health is relevant to the Presidency. This is not just a dude looking for a job, he’s going to have his hand on the nuclear trigger. Imminent death from a terminal disease kind of skews your perspective on this, you know what I’m saying?

He’s telling his presumably sycophantic readers that former Prisoners of War are more likely to have a recurrence of their melanoma than are other septuagenarians. Who conducted this study, and why is it not cited? He’s telling his devoted readers that those with cancer have nothing to lose, really, so we’d be more apt to blow up the world on a lark. (You know what I’m saying?)

Wouldn’t a President’s doctors inform the Vice President of tumors when he inquires daily about the health of the President? Wouldn’t an elevated white blood cell count, a hemoglobin issue, or some other sign of cancer be cause for a closer watch, and would a tumor not trigger the transfer of power should the conditions warrant?

That set of excuses does not pass the smell test; in fact, they are pedestrian-level garbage designed as a smokescreen, with mirrors, to distract from the doctors objection to calling Senator John McCain a “crazy cancer-ridden dishonest madman.” Cancer, to Matt Stoller, is the new cooties.

Matt, where are Obama’s medical records? His doctor says he’s fit, and my doctor said the same of me before I was diagnosed with base-of-tongue cancer. You see, Matt, I smoked for fifteen years. For how long did Obama smoke, now that he promises us that he has quit. Barack Obama is older than I am. Does he have any other cancer risks? He’s going to have his hand on the button, Matt, possibly with nothing to lose. He might vaporize the French on a bad day, right?

Or what if “the Generals” seize control, Matt? You yourself warn your beguiled readers that “the Generals are going to come out and undermine [a President] Obama unless he pursues neoconservative policies.” But I’m not sure that word means what he thinks it does. The neoconservative agenda, whatever that might be, would be the creation of civilians who would use the military (the generals) to implement it. Right?

But we know that in the world in which this fellow resides, our military exists to Betray-Us. Right?

He could be frightening his readers, forcing them to check under their beds for the Generals before going to sleep. Probably not, though.

Then again, what do I know? I am, after all, cancer-ridden by virtue of my being a cancer survivor, and this is every bit as awful as being insane or merely malodorous. You know what I’m saying?

(For the record, I still think Matt Stoller is a good kid. He’s just misunderstood.)