July 23, 2008

McCain: Some Kind of Blunderful

George Stephanopoulos reports that the McCain camp is frustrated that with Obama's recent trip to Iraq. They expected to make hay out of Obama blunders overseas, but instead have been plagued with their own blunders.

I mentioned a few of his bumbles yesterday in a post on Regime Turnover. But they keep on coming.

Worse than the earlier "Iraq-Pakistan Border" gaffe, Ilan Goldberg points out a mistake in which McCain reveals fundamental misunderstandings about the situation in Iraq. In short, while trying to attack Obama on his Iraq policy and claim that any gains in Iraq are his own doing (any failures are someone else's fault, natch) McCain credits the surge as the cause of the "Anbar awakening" (a cooperation between Iraqi sheikhs that put pressure on al Qaeda forces).

The problem is that the "Anbar awakening" began long before the surge was even announced. This is not a matter of parsing words; McCain puts it plainly: "And it began the Anbar awakening."

Agree or disagree with his politics, what is McCain smoking? If he thinks this is the issue he can get elected on, the least he could do would be to get the story right.

For those conspiracy theorists obsessed with supposed liberal media bias, CBS chose to cut McCain's gaffe from the evening news. The video showed up later on-line. Maybe it's not McCain bias; perhaps they can only spend so much time covering McCain's gaffes.

Recently, on Regime Turnover:

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In vaguely-related news, absolutely completely sane Jeff Beatty claims that if Romney is McCain's running mate, Massachusetts will go for McCain in the general election. I kid you not.

"Batty" Jeff Beatty, by the way, is competing for the Republican nod to challenge John Kerry for a senate seat. What are Beatty's supporters running on (other than large doses of hallucinogenics)? Trying to convince you that Kerry is an anti-McCain racist. Good luck with that!

Edited to remove unsupported link between Kerry story and Beatty:

In a related story, Kerry is being criticised for a "tar baby" comment made toward McCain. I was able to find a number of clearly non-racist uses of the term in a quick Google search. The attack seems like a new version of the "niggardly" goofiness. The politically correct blandification of our language. Haven't we had enough of this?

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Posted by James at July 23, 2008 2:22 PM
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See, this is the first thing I've heard that sounds like an actual misunderstanding of fact, rather than a simple misstatement (Iraq when he meant Iran, Sunni when he meant Shia).

I'm not interested in all of the gotcha bullshit, but if the guy really thinks the surge caused the "awakening" then it shows he's either clueless strategically, or he's outright lying in an attempt to defend his pet project at all costs.

By the way, if anyone can tell me why the "awakening" is better or smarter than arming and funding Central American death squads during the cold war, I'd be interested in hearing it.

Posted by: David Grenier at July 23, 2008 3:08 PM

The "gotcha" stuff can get a little crazy, but it's really a matter of interpretation sometimes. Iraq-Pakistani border? Carelessness can be a campaign issue.

But, yes, this is a deeper issue.

Posted by: James at July 23, 2008 3:32 PM

I don't feel he should be making mistakes such as referring to an Iraq-Pakistani border. IMO, that would be like me referring to Fortran as an OO language in the context of discussing writing a program in Fortran. He should know this shit cold, man, if he's running for president at this time. Sure, we thought it was cute when GWB didn't know the names of the presidents of other nations, 'cuz we weren't going to be worrying about any foreign policy for the next eight years, just sitting back and having a beer with the guy, right?

Posted by: Maggie at July 23, 2008 3:51 PM

He's still standing by his statement and saying that people who think he got it wrong don't know what a "surge" is. Really.

Heh. That depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

Posted by: Julie at July 23, 2008 5:31 PM

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