Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 22, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... There's quite a bit about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that I find annoying, but at the top of the list is the fact he doesn't seem to have any idea what he's talking about.

Take this morning, for example, when the senator talked to CBS's "The Early Show" about his vision of U.S. policy in Libya. McCain endorsed the notion of regime change -- a position the Obama administration has not taken -- and then drew a fascinating parallel about arming rebels.

Asked about Moammar Gadhafi:

"This is a man with American blood on his hands who has committed acts of terror in the past. And our policy, the United States policy, as articulated by the President of the United States, is that he should go -- he should not stay in power."

And asked siding with Libyan rebels with unknown agendas:

"[I]t does take time -- it did during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan -- but we were able to provide them with some weapons and wherewithal to cause the Russians to leave Afghanistan. So we can do it."

On the first point, McCain has an odd memory of recent events. As Justin Elliott explained, Republicans weren't at all concerned about the American blood on Gadhafi's hands -- the Bush administration removed Libya from the official list of state sponsors of terrorism and engaged in direct talks with Gadhafi. More to the point, John McCain personally visited with Gadhafi in August 2009 to discuss delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan dictator.

Maybe this has slipped the senator's mind?

As for the second point, it's true that we provided aid to Afghan rebels that fought the Soviets, and it's also true that Russia gave up and left Afghanistan, but is this really the example McCain wants to use? Those rebels, after all, were the mujahedeen, which included a guy named Osama bin Laden.

Does McCain realize this, or does he simply not care?

Steve Benen 4:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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so i once read an interview with augustus owsley stanley iii, the master of sound and acid who recently was killed in an auto accident.

he explained that the way his mind worked is that once he had a new insight or idea about something, it wiped out the old memories.

perhaps this explains mccain's inability to keep anything consistent over time!

Posted by: howard on March 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Does McCain realize this, or does he simply not care?

After all your years of watching John Sidney McCain III, you can ask that question? Hell, after watching the 2008 campaign, you can ask that question?

McCain speaks, reporters eat it up, film at 11. Just like death and tax cuts for the rich, it's a certainty.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on March 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Does McCain realize this, or does he simply not care?"

Or maybe, he simply doesn't remember.

He may have more in common with Reagan than party affiliation.

Posted by: bdop4 on March 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

He was on CBS too? WTF I saw him on the Today Show first thing and the minute I saw his puffy visog on my teevee screen I turned it off knowing he would spout idiocy .With all the people on the planet who I am sure have a better idea of history and currnt situations in Lybia, these two major Teevee networks pick that doddering old fool for commentary? The mind boggles. He must have dashed up the street on his Hoveround to make both dates.

Posted by: John R on March 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

He doesn't care.
His brain is simply not wired to handle two conflicting ideas at the same time, so the ideas that his "peers" (read - other authoritarians) share, will take priority, everything else, like decency, empathy, morals and law, will get shelved, until he needs them to gain approval of those same "peers".

You gotta appreciate how the Authoritarian mind functions.


Posted by: Al B Tross on March 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe this has slipped the senator's mind?

John McCain exhibits shameless flip-flopping hypocrisy? Color me unsurprised. (I rarely disagree with howard, but in this case I think McCain being a liar and an ass is a simpler and truer explanation.)

Colorm e also unsurprised that the pack of craven stenographers that make up the DC press corpse let him get away with it.

Protip: When you have a guest on with the track record of lying that this guy has, and you know what the conversation will likely touch on, you have an intern pull clips of his previous statements. It can't be that hard, yet it takes a frackin' comedian to show thse so-called "journalists" tat They're Doing It Wrong.

Posted by: Gregory on March 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

It would be in OUR republican interests to create another Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda!

Another 9/11 (as long as we have a republican president at the time) would provide another stimulus to republicans and our defense industry!

And yet Steve Benen keeps insisting that we republicans do not have a stimulus program in mind!

If only we had a President McCain, we could be stimulating our economy with at least 2 or 3 more wars! Remember, WWII got us out of the Great Depression! We just need another really big war to get us out of the Obama's recession.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on March 22, 2011 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

bdop4 pwns teh thread. This man is literally demented and yet the LameStream Media (thanks Sarah Palin, you remember your running mate here, right??) continues to allow him a massive audience for his insane ranting! Somebody please re-medicate Grandpa and get him off of the television! I recommend Haldol and Ativan, intravenous.

Posted by: Trollop on March 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I'm off-base here, but I thought regime change is precisely the position that the Obama administration has taken... not as a military objective but as an overall policy objective.

Posted by: George Colombo on March 22, 2011 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I had to have a little chuckle when I read this morning about McCain's buddy Palin, she is in Israel (showing how much she knows about foreign countries) apparently she & her followers decided to take a drive to Bethlehem. They were stopped at the border and asked to go back, she did not know Bethlehem was not in Israeli territory!
I guess she forgot to do her homework.

Posted by: j on March 22, 2011 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Call me cynical, but my guess is that he's betting that the majority of Americans don't know that the freedom fighters in Afghanistan were Al Qaida. And given you post yesterday on the Newsweek article "How Dumb are We?", he's probably right.

Posted by: Kris on March 22, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Pre production meeting, 5:30 AM, CBS: "We've got 90 seconds to fill between the Depends commercial the Charlie Sheen update. Who has McCain on their speed dial?"

Posted by: DAY on March 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"he doesn't seem to have any what he's talking about"

Subliminal omission of 'idea' entirely appropriate.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on March 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Does McCain realize this, or does he simply not care?"

No, and yes. This is a simple answers to stupid questions, right?

Posted by: Tom Allen on March 22, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me or does anyone else see the irony in McNumbNut's being asked to comment about the plane that crashed in Libya?

For all the exposure he's been getting on the news shows, it seems like the media has finally struck upon his only true area of expertise . . . crashing USAP planes.

Posted by: Bo on March 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Whether McCain knows what he's talking about is besides the point. The purpose of his existence is to defend his ignorant, incompetent, bitter, crappy self.
I suspect he had an encounter long ago with Sarah Palin's mother.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 22, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

...is this really the example McCain wants to use?

The analogy also fails because driving out the Soviets is entirely different from ousting a home-grown dictator.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 22, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I recall a report during the 2008 campaign that his handlers were trying to take his blackberry away. It seems McCain would say whatever he had last read on his blackberry, regardless of inconsistancies and conflicts with statements made days earlier.

It looks like the problem persists. He probably picked up these talking points in a text from one of his Regent University interns and did not have the sense to remember his recent visit with Ghaddafi or the connection between the mujahadeen and Osama bin Laden.

Bomb bomb bomb bomb Barbara and Iran!

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 22, 2011 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

gregory, ol' buddy, sorry our paths don't get to cross enough any more, as i just don't have enough time (or, sometimes, heart) to keep up in the comments wars.

yes, i was being a little puckish - i have to admit, i like the idea of john mccain and owsley sharing an attribute! - but i think you're half right.

that is, he's an ass for sure, but to say that he's a liar is to assume that he knows what he's saying.

in fact, my true belief about mccain is that he's a very emotional, hierachical, authoritarian dope. he believes whatever he's saying at the moment he says it, but that's essentially a kind of tourette's syndrome of the mouth, where stuff just pops out of his mouth based on his emotions and the hierarchical/authoritarian components of his personality.

in short, to call him a liar gives him too much credit: he's just the noisy guy down at the end of the bar who doesn't know what he's talking about but is sure that he's right whatever he has to say, whatever he said today, whatever he may say tomorrow.

Posted by: howard on March 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

And when Wesley Clark said that getting shot down in a jet didn't make McCain a military expert, it was Clark who got the flak (pun intended).

America dumb? No way baby!

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on March 22, 2011 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

"McCain endorsed the notion of regime change -- a position the Obama administration has not taken"

I'm with George Colombo here - I'm pretty sure that the Obama administration, including, IIRC, Obama himself, has taken the position that "Gadhafi must go." And I think Colombo's explanation of the apparent confusion on this issue nails it: the U.N. resolution does not speak to regime change, so the military objective is not regime change. OTOH, the U.S.'s own policy and diplomatic objective is regime change.

It seems inconsistent, but it's not necessarily so. Where it gets problematic is if the U.S. targets Gadhafi with a Predator missile . . .

Posted by: retr2327 on March 22, 2011 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

So, where is CNN to evisserate CBS for failing to follow up on the lies spoken by McCain? One person on CNN takes down FOX, but where is the rest of their crack news team?

Posted by: st john on March 22, 2011 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

McCain typifies the caliber of politician that the democratic party's leadership tolerates and (by tolerating) succors. No falsehood is too egregious, no transparent deceit ever seriously challenged. They stupidly, insultingly, maintain the charade that the GOP is an "honorable if misguided opposition". McCain is simply the end result of that political dereliction.

Posted by: JW on March 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Simply put,McCain is an idiot, and I thank my lucky stars that after the cowboy president, he and Palin weren't elected.

Posted by: sparrow on March 22, 2011 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK



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