Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 18, 2008

MCCAIN'S PAIN IN SPAIN.... Following up on an earlier item, the English-language version of John McCain's interview with El Pais is now available -- TPM was kind enough to put it in this YouTube version -- and listening to the audio makes it pretty clear that McCain was just hopelessly confused. (Aravosis posted a transcript of the relevant portion.)

The reporter kept trying to help him focus, explaining that she was referring specifically to Spain, but McCain kept talking about "leaders in the hemisphere." Still hoping to help McCain with his obvious confusion, she said, "OK, but I'm talking about Europe -- the president of Spain, would you meet with him?" McCain dodged the question, saying only, "I will reunite with any leader that has the same principles and philosophy that we do: human rights, democracy, and liberty. And I will confront those that don't."

McCain eventually said, "Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities" -- as if Spain, a long-time U.S. ally and NATO member, might not enjoy strong ties with a McCain administration. Yglesias responded, "You don't expect a presidential candidate to have an elaborate 'Spain policy' or anything, but Spain is a fellow democracy, a member of NATO and the EU, etc. It would be very strange for the United States to have anything other than a close relationship with Spain."

McCain's embarrassing confusion is already pretty major news in Spain today, but at this point, the only major U.S. outlets who've picked up on this are the online sections of Time and the Washington Post.

Forgetting Zapetero's name is almost forgivable, though hard to explain for a candidate who claims to be an expert in foreign policy. But the interviewer kept using the word "Spain." She even gave him a big hint with the word "Europe."

Let's also not lose sight of the broader pattern. McCain thinks the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia was "the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War." He thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. He believes Czechoslovakia is still a country. He's been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia. He's been confused about whether he wants more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more NATO troops in Afghanistan, or both. He's been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq. He's been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. He's been confused about Iran's relationship with al Qaeda. He's been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi'ia. McCain, following a recent trip to Germany, even referred to "President Putin of Germany." All of this incoherence on his signature issue.

I'm curious. What do you suppose the reaction would be from the political establishment if Barack Obama had made these mistakes over the course of the campaign? What would reporters, pundits, and Republicans have to say about Obama's ability to lead a complex world in a time of war and uncertainty?

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy. So, why the double-standard?

Steve Benen 11:11 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (78)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

But he was a POW! How dare you disparage a war hero who was a POW -- POW -- POW -- POW -- POW -- POW -- POW --

Posted by: T-Rex on September 18, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

CNN had it in its headlines this morning (linking to the Time website) but they have dropped it.... suspicious..... anyway, pretty embarrassing...once again....

Posted by: Monica on September 18, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy. So, why the double-standard?

Baby steps. First the villagers have to wrap their minds around the fact that McCain is a lying hack rather than the principled maverick they thought they knew and loved. Once they have that down they can move on to realizing he's getting confused and may be displaying early symptoms of dementia.

What may eventually do in McCain is the plutocracy's dawning awareness that McCain is losing it, and the meltdown on Wall Street may be concentrating some minds about why that is dangerous even to those who aren't in the great unwashed masses.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Let's keep the focus on the scary part here. When he didn't understand what the interviewer was saying, he didn't admit that and ask for clarification- he just kept spouting his canned talking points. Whether that's senility or just Bush-style bullshittery, it's a very bad trait in a President.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on September 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

When was the last time a Democratic nominee made such a factual blunder? Obama hasn't. Kerry never did. Gore never did. Clinton never did. Neither did Dukakis or Mondale. Whatever their faults, the Democrats consistently nominate intelligent, well-informed, competent people.

It's always the Republicans who are the boneheads. Before him, there was GWB, Dan Quayle, Reagan, Gerald Ford ("no Soviet domination of Poland").

Posted by: captcrisis on September 18, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Forgetting-Spain-is-in-Europe flap is on Drudge. That surprised the sh*t outta me.

Posted by: Walt on September 18, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

It's official: McCain is senile.

The GOP needs to get the big hook, NOW.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on September 18, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"So, why the double-standard?"


Oh, come on. The answers are obvious.

1. There's a clear unwritten rule to look the other way when politicians get old and start to lose it. Anybody really think Robert Byrd is at the top of this game now, or Strom Thurmond during his last term in office.

2. Once someone has been branded an expert by the media establishment, they remain an expert no matter how unbelievably wrong they may end up being (see also, Friedman, Thomas).

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on September 18, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Steve says ...
"Let's also not lose sight of the broader pattern. All of this incoherence on his signature issue."

Steve, have you thought about adding a McCain Flummoxed list along with your McCain Flip-Flop list? What you have here looks like a darn good beginning.

Posted by: scott_m on September 18, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

That is painful and sad to listen to. No reasonable explanation for this is a good one for McCain.

I don't want McCain to win, but I don't want to pity him, either.

Posted by: John B. on September 18, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Since Palin is the part of the ticket generating excitement and McCain is becoming a gaffe machine, how soon before he gets dropped from the ticket?
That's not a completely snarky question.
Are we going to start hearing rumors of who Palin is going to pick as her VP when McCain drops out for 'health reasons'?

Posted by: abburdlen on September 18, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

IOKIYAR. Duh.

Posted by: David Bailey on September 18, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

He sounds tired. And stupid.

Posted by: doubtful on September 18, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I know My Fair Lady references are the rage, but the title should be "McCain's Brain Drains over Spain.

Posted by: Gregory on September 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Gee...I hope he's coaching Palin.

Posted by: coral on September 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

It depends on what your definition of "hemisphere" is, and how impactful the verbage is to Zapatatada.

McCain 08!

Posted by: John McCain on September 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

All of these incidents of confusion and you still avoid saying the obvious: McCain is looking really, really cognitively impaired. I don't know if it's drugs or early dementia or what, but there could not possibly be a more important issue to address.

Posted by: karen on September 18, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

The evidence is growing that he is cognitively impaired. No one wants to say it because it is agist, serious, and if wrong, a really awful thing to say, so the threshold for saying it out loud is high. But the evidence is growing. We all knew Reagan was losing it, but no one dared say it. this is the same thing. How to get it into the public discussion without risking backlash?

Posted by: lindiana on September 18, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

The evidence is growing that he is cognitively impaired. No one wants to say it because it is agist, serious, and if wrong, a really awful thing to say, so the threshold for saying it out loud is high. But the evidence is growing. We all knew Reagan was losing it, but no one dared say it. this is the same thing. How to get it into the public discussion without risking backlash?

Posted by: lindiana on September 18, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Spain has troops in Afghanistan, nombre de Dios!

http://www.nato.int/ISAF/structure/regional_command/index.html

Posted by: galoob on September 18, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'll offer a limited defense--it sounded to me as though he was having trouble understanding her. In the audio, when she said "Europe" the second syllable seemed to be dropped--so I can understand that he thought she said "what about you?"

On the other hand, I suspect the gaffe stemmed from a combination of poor hearing (age, age, age), a lack of patience with having to do an interview that's "beneath" him, and a lack of interest in focusing and engaging.

None of them good qualities for a president...

Posted by: itsmekaren on September 18, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy.

Well, yeah, of course, but we're dealing with Republicans here. "Intellectual honesty" isn't a trait of movement conservatism, as its representatives here in comments -- represented most recently by McAristotle -- have been busily demonstrating for years.

Posted by: Gregory on September 18, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

What would reporters, pundits, and Republicans have to say...

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy. So, why the double-standard?

Just a guess here but is it because reporters, pundits, and Republicans are NOT intellectually honest persons?

Posted by: ckelly on September 18, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

If no one else has mentioned it, please check out this article on Alternet which I am afraid explains the double standard quite well.

http://www.alternet.org/rights/98915/what_privileges_do_mccain_and_palin_receive_because_they%27re_white/

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Richard Greenslade on September 18, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

>"It's official: McCain is senile."

I'm afraid evidence strongly suggests that analysis is correct...

Questions of the hour:

1) Can the repubs keep this hidden from the public?

2) Is the electorate stupid enough to elect another second-term Reagan?

3) Can you imagine Palin running the country?

Posted by: Buford on September 18, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

The pain of Spain to McCain falls mainly on the Plain. Oops! Switch the second two letters of the last word! We have our new President!

Posted by: Mark on September 18, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody really think Robert Byrd is at the top of this game now

If you have any evidence at all of a disability on Byrd's part, feel free to present it.

Posted by: Gregory on September 18, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Playing the what-if-Obama-did-this game with the press is a pointless and ultimately frustrating exercise. The press corpse is playing by Jordan Rules and until you come to grips, you just sound like sad broken record. The field is tilted against Obama so get over it and come up with new ways to get a message out. The press was played like the marks they are and they'll continue until Obama is president.

Then, they'll discover their spines and teeth again...

Posted by: yam on September 18, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Could it be that the Republican establishment is planning a cold coup d'etat? McCain is sworn in as president, then resigns on health reasons and Palin (they hope) will be the puppet on their strings.J

Posted by: Jörgen in Germany on September 18, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Oops again! Switch the second and third letters of the last word!

Posted by: Mark on September 18, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

My Fair McCain:

Can McCain explain/His Ignorance/On Spain?

By Jove, He's Lost It!

Posted by: Andrew on September 18, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Honestly do I have to keep explaining this.

McCain = POW
POW = Foreign Policy Expert
Critizing McCain's FP Expertise = Insulting every American POW and dishonoring America

Therefore anything McCain says on Foreign Policy is true. Period. End of discussion.

This is a well established fact.

Posted by: on September 18, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, when you're a maverick, you don't need to know anything.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 18, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

As Lerner and Loewe might say, I think he hasn't got it.

Posted by: Vincent on September 18, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not jump to conclusions about senility/dementia. He could just be dumber than a box of rocks. If I were the GOP, I'd go with that explanation.

Posted by: shortstop on September 18, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy.

And conversely, if Obama did such an interview and showed he actually recognized the name Zapatero -- perhaps even talking intelligently about US-Spain relations post-Franco -- that would show him to be elitist because he knows more than most voters. So the McCain campaign could prepare an attack ad for each outcome and run the one that applies.

I think the Zapatista/Zapatero and "What about Europe?"/"What about you?" explanations are most convincing but hardly exculpatory. I don't want a President who insults heads of government because he can't understand what non-native-English-speaking media is asking and can't be bothered to wait for a clarification.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 18, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not jump to conclusions about senility/dementia. He could just be dumber than a box of rocks.

I'm compelled to point out that, as with the question of movement conservative ignorance and dishonesty, the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Gregory on September 18, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I figured McCain was remembering something about Franco and Spain being under a fascist regime. He figured that he might be set up if he said the wrong thing; Obama's campaign would paint him as being friendly to fascists...

Yes, Franco is practically ancient history. We all know that. But Czechoslovakia is practically ancient history as well.

Posted by: Wapiti on September 18, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I know, Gregory. And I actually think he does show signs of developing dementia. I just don't want people to forget that before he was senile, he was stupid.

Posted by: shortstop on September 18, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Back in 2000 a Canadian comedian asked George W. what he thought of the endorsement from Canadian Prime Minister Jean Poutine. Poutine of course is a delicious combination of fries, gravy, and cheese curds, and not the name of our then PM (which was Jean Chretien).

Dubya sounded ecstatic about the endorsement, and all Canadians had a good chuckle at the expense of the frat-boy. Imagine all of our surprise when the dunderhead actually won!!

This is kind of in a similar vein, but probably worse for McCain b/c while there is not a significant ex-pat Canadian voting bloc he needs to woo, there IS a significant hispanic voting bloc (and seeming like you can't understand spanish accents is kind of a bad thing)

Posted by: neilt on September 18, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I do have Military exp. and I honor and respect McCain for his Military Service for this great country. On the other hand, This does not mean he has the ability or knowledge to run this country.

The policies that have been failing for years is what he stands for. I do not know even why the Media are even playing into S. Palin's fame. I respect her a women accomplishing her dreams. It's to soon for her, not women. I'm sure they are alot of educated women out there that have more credentials and exp. then her. Also, questioning her exp. is not attacking her.

Posted by: Flex on September 18, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

It's not just this .. i.e what if obama had done these things ... he wouldn't even be a candidate anymore if he did ......... IT'S THE WHOLE FUCKING CAMPAIGN THAT McEvil has run ..all of it .. from all the lies, the deceptions, the smears, the racism, the picking of a person who is utterly unqualified to be the vp let alone the president, WHAT IF OBAMA HAD RUN THE CAMPAIGN THAT McEvil has ? Can any of us even imagine what the Corporate Media would have done ?

Posted by: stormskies on September 18, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Because McCain did not blink. His readiness to answer the question in the absence of a full understanding of the question demonstrates his maverickness. Oh and POW bitches!

Posted by: Keith on September 18, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Shortstop.

Dude is sharp as a marble.
His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.
He's empty between the ears.

Posted by: amy on September 18, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody really think Robert Byrd is at the top of this game now

If you have any evidence at all of a disability on Byrd's part, feel free to present it.

I'm not qualified to diagnose this, but my Senator (Byrd) has a pattern lately of completely forgetting what he is talking about. I saw him at a campaign event in '04 where he wanted to cite a biblical quote and he couldn't remember it, so he said it would come back to him. A while later, he just switched from a totally different subject, started quoting biblical scripture (I assume it was what he had wanted to talk about earler), but when he finished, he just stared at the crowd as though he didn't know where he was. That said, at least he's not President. And when he is sharp, he is still very sharp.

Posted by: Danp on September 18, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Steve says ...
"Let's also not lose sight of the broader pattern. All of this incoherence on his signature issue."

I misread this as 'All of this incoherence IS his signature issue.' Which would have been an equally valid statement.

Posted by: EcoNerd on September 18, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Jorgen,

That was my assumption from the moment I saw Palin onstage the day she was announced.

It's been the reason I have been most fearful of a McCain win the last few weeks.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 18, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

By Jove, He's Lost It!

Thanks a fucking lot for that. Now, I've got "The Rain in Spain" segueing into the mournful French horn motif from "Young Frankenstein."

... over and over ...
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on September 18, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one support the McCain Doctrine to reconquer Spain from the Moorish Caliphate. Goddamn Islamofascist appeasers the whole lot of you....

Posted by: Stefan on September 18, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

2. Once someone has been branded an expert by the media establishment, they remain an expert no matter how unbelievably wrong they may end up being (see also, Friedman, Thomas).Posted by: MBunge

Friedman is an idiot, but he has been all over the globe. Where the hell has John McCain really spent any time outside of the U.S., other than Vietnam 40 years ago?

They only began to try to sell McCain a foreign policy expert, though he has no experience, only after he started running for president this time. Prior to 9/11 during the 2000 campaign, foreign policy was way down the list of issues.

This fuck-up is worse than Shrub not knowing who the president of Pakistan was in 2000 because Bush wasn't running as a supposed foreign policy specialists.

Posted by: Jeff II on September 18, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Did I actually read some reference to "the President of Spain", or am I going crazy? Maybe Spain has a Prime Minister, an odd concept I know, but even Germany who has a Chancellor has a parliamentary democracy. And that was said by the "master" McCain right?

Posted by: wmmbb on September 18, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't listen to the whole thing. I got up to the talk about Cuba. It was painful. He sounds old and tired and, frankly, just stupid. Sad. And scary.

Posted by: eRobin on September 18, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's just another senior moment from gramps. At least he had the judgment to choose someone with serious foreign policy chops for back up.

All snark aside, it's these 'senior moments' that make the prospect of a President Palin a grave concern.

Posted by: JoeW on September 18, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Did I actually read some reference to "the President of Spain", or am I going crazy? Maybe Spain has a Prime Minister, an odd concept I know, but even Germany who has a Chancellor has a parliamentary democracy.

Actually, although Spain is a parliamentary democracy and hence Zapatero is technically a prime minister, it is Spanish custom to refer to the PM as the "presidente" of the government (the Spanish constitution also uses that term). Just a colorful litle idiosyncracy of our Spanish cousins....

Posted by: Stefan on September 18, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

"I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy. So, why the double-standard?"

Because a new meme is developing, and that new meme is that John McCain really has lost a step (started going senile), so we shouldn't pick on him too much.

No, I'm not joking.

Look around the blogosphere (on both sides). Look at the questions people are asking about McCain's decision making, and how erratic it seems to be. No one can find a coherent narrative that explains it all.

Which is why this new meme is starting to gel....

Poor John McCain. He used to be such a great guy. I guess age has caught up with him. But you know, in his day, he was really something. A maverick! Straight talk! From a politician no less! Poor John McCain....

It's happening, and it's happening because voters and the press actually liked the old image McCain built up. They don't want to get rid of it, so they're going to excuse it.

So in answer to your question, it's not a double standard. People just don't think McCain has it together to know this stuff. And that should tell you everything you need to know about how he's going to do with indendents in swing states.

Posted by: The Phantom on September 18, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

As an Obama for President guy since December 2006, let me just say:
1) The double standard is not entirely artificial -- due to the experience gap Obama does have to be held to a higher standard and should not be as easily forgiven. Not saying the double standard should be extreme, just that there is a rational explanation.
2) The McCain camp is in crisis: a) some months ago mcCain said he would meet with the PM of Spain. b) Today, the McCain camp claims Johnny understood the question and refuses to commit to meeting. c) This is one of a number of examples of where McCain does not seem to have all of his faculties.

Posted by: Ross Smith on September 18, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm solidly for Obama, but I think much of McCain's confusion came out of hearing problems. The biggest clue was that the interviewer says I'm talking about Europe, and McCain answers you what? The combination of problems with the interviewer's accent and possibly hearing difficulties led to a problem. McCain seems to have missed the sudden jump in the interview from the Hemisphere to Spain. He should have said something like, I'm sorry. I didn't quite catch your questions. But of course candidates, and especially deaf candidates are hard pressed to confess such a confusion.

Posted by: ebbolles on September 18, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

He's OLD.

Posted by: Brian on September 18, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Senile, stroke, Alzheimer's...any are possible.

But I think the reality is that we're getting a very strong, concentrated look at John McCain, and its becoming pretty clear that he probably had no business ever being in the Senate. He might be mentally compromised by age, but he's most likely just dumb as a box of rocks.

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 18, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I listened to the interview, and the summaries given are quite accurate. However, I have a slightly different interpretation.

Only a few months ago, McCain was responding to questions clearly and as truthfully as he could. This was the attitude that had made the press love him. Then Obama took control of the news cycle and McCain only got coverage when he made a gaffe (as one is bound to do at some point when being that talkative about so many subjects). This lead the McCain campaign to clamp down on their candidate.

McCain has quite clearly been told to stick to a script. All of the questions he answers are ones that he has been prepped for. When he is not prepared for a question, he moves to some boilerplate answer (that has also presumably been very well prepared beforehand). This interview method is perhaps most clear in the TIME interview he gave. In response to a lot of questions he gave boilerplate responses that often had little to do with the question. It came off as weird.

In the interview with the Spanish press, something very similar occurred. He'd been given question about Latin America, which he was prepared for. Then suddenly the interviewer switched to Spain. Note that she was very clear about the fact that she was talking about Spain. In each of the questions about Zapatero, she said some version of the "Spanish President, Zapatero." McCain absolutely knew she was talking about Spain. Equally clearly, he didn't have an answer prepared about Spain. So he gave the boilerplate response he'd be prepped with... about Latin America. It was all that he had prepared. He gave basically the same response each time she rephrased the question. Even when she said she was talking about Europe, not Latin America.

Oddly enough, an article that Josh Marshall linked to noted that in April McCain had said that he would like it if Zapatero came to visit the White House.

Now, the fact that he wasn't confident enough to talk about Spain is weird and disturbing. But it's part of a broader trend of McCain not answering questions he's not completely prepared for.

Posted by: MFM on September 18, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I figured McCain was remembering something about Franco and Spain being under a fascist regime.

You may be on to something there. John McCain is an expert on foreign policy, just not current foreign policy.

(And I don't think forgetting Zapatero's name is forgivable at all. This isn't just about foreign policy in general, it also ties in with another of McCain's favorite issues, Iraq. Zapatero, after all, is the guy who pulled out the Spanish troops after all the wingnuts said the Spanish voters caved in to the Madrid bombings and voted him into office. Shouldn't someone who's committed to "victory" in Iraq remember that?)

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on September 18, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Where are all the wingnuts?

Posted by: goethean on September 18, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where are all the wing-nuts?

Havent received their talking points yet. Expect them to all come out this afternoon saying that Spain is an enemy of freedom.

Posted by: goethean on September 18, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's obviously age and maybe fatigue at this point, but painfully obvious that McCain is a bit swimmy-headed. In this case, he's concentrating hard on the tough line against Chavez, then because the Spanish Prime Minister happens to have an hispanic last name, McCain expresses disdain for him too, exactly not the kind of action without thought that we need or want in a President.

But worse and more laughable is Scheunemann jumping into the fray to explain McCain without so much as checking the facts of the matter. America is this the kind of action/reaction we really want during a world crisis or international incident?

Posted by: Capt Kirk on September 18, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"it's becoming pretty clear that he probably had no business ever being in the Senate."

Good gosh, if we start firing Senators for being dumber than boiled gravel, we'd lose half the contingent. Including most of the Republicans.

I don't see how McCain is going to get through the debate without tripping over his multiple past positions and without making a series of hideous gaffes that people can't overlook or forgive.

Still, I was pretty sure that Kerry and Gore (and for that matter Mondale, Dukakis, and Carter) handily won their respective debates, so I should be wary of the ability of the commentariat and the voters to transform manure into manna.

Posted by: N.Wells on September 18, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Since we've mentioned Reagan, let's mention something else as well. Everyone assumes that if McCain wins he won't run for a second term. That's the same assumption everyone was making about Reagan in 1980, an assumption that the GOP conveniently forgot in 1984. If McCain is showing early dementia now (and I'm no neurologist, I don't know) consider what 8 years, as opposed to 4, might do.

Posted by: T-Rex on September 18, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he just confused President Zapetero with Frank Zappa.

Posted by: spyder on September 18, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Why does this whole thing sound like an episode of "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?"

Posted by: MA on September 18, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The more I see McCain, the more he reminds me of my dad, who has dementia (not Alzheimer's). My dad is a smart guy, but now gets very confused about things, even work he spent years and years on. Dementia and Alzheimer's are horrible and rob the afflicted and their families of so much. I hope we can feel at least a little sympathy for McCain if he is suffering from dementia, while still making the strong point that he is not suited for the presidency (on many points).

Thanks.

Posted by: sigh on September 18, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

It depends on what your definition of "hemisphere" is

Actually, I hate to give the wingnuts their talking points, but Madrid *is* in our hemisphere, and that's true whether you're talking north-south or east-west.

Coordinates for Madrid: 40° 24′ N, 3° 41′ W

Doesn't change the fact that McCain adamantly refuses to rule out the possibility of restarting the Spanish-American War, though.

Posted by: cminus on September 18, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

He sounds like he's on drugs -- to keep him awake, or asleep, or something.

Now that I listen, I can hear that he is missing many of her words simply because he can't hear through foreign accents. When she says "Europe", he clearly thinks she is saying "you". Kind of understandable, actually, but what's Randy Shitterman's excuse?

Posted by: Kenji on September 18, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

All the Obamabots seem to be unaware that Latin American countries are republics and have presidents, while Spain is a constitutional monarchy under King Juan Carlos as Head of State, with Prime Minister (not president) Zapatero as head of the government. While the Spaniards themselves refer to their Prime Minister as"President" of the government, that usage is not done here: we refer to the head of government in constitutional monarchies (U.K., Spain, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands) as the Prime Minister. When the Obamabots break down to saying "senile" and using the f-word, you know they are losing it.

Posted by: Laurent on September 18, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Laurent: 0/10 for troll quality. Perhaps if you were actually familiar with this story (rather than reveling in calling Obama supporters 'Obamabots'), you would know that the person conducting the McCain interview was speaking Spanish. Regardless of conventions in the English language, it was natural for the interviewer to call Zapatero 'president'.

Posted by: Troll Critique on September 18, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

While listening to McCain's string of non sequiturs, I found myself wondering whether he might be losing his hearing. It's not an inappropriate question for a man of his age.

Posted by: Katherine on September 18, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

So, about this Zapatero gaffe... It seemed clear to me on listening to the interview that he literally didn't understand the phonemes of the question. The interviewer has a strong accent, and when she said "What about europe" she pronounced it "yoo-rope" and swallowed the "rope" which sounded like

"What about you (something)?"

to which McCain replied,

"What about me, what?"

Where his "me" was in response to the perceived "you" of the hard-to-understand, strong accent, bad phone connection question. Having been thrown by the first part of the question, he didn't follow the rapidly-spoken last part "I'm talking about the President of Spain".

Now, he then did a politician thing and kept going ahead with platitudes, but I don't see this as specifically an "out of touch" moment -- just one where he was tired and literally didn't hear what she was asking.

So, I guess maybe it was an out-of-touch moment after all.

(I see Kenji made the same observation.)

Posted by: Alex C on September 18, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I would suggest that McCain gets a pass because the press a) don't recognize senile dementia when they see it, b) are uncomfortable talking about issues of aging - I mean, we're all doing it, c) they're still in the tank for McCain.

Personally I like "a."

Posted by: on September 19, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Why the double-standard?

Because this is America and McCain is a white republican.

No other explanation comes close to explaining it...

Posted by: Stephen Johnson on September 19, 2008 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Why the double standard?

Because admitting a guy who's spent 28 years in the US Senate can still be clueless on foreign affairs is too scary to contemplate, much less put in print?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on September 19, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly