The Wright/Obama story and the Hagee/McCain story are imperfect parallels in several directions, but surely John McCain’s successful efforts to court the endorsement of an anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish preacher who admires McCain’s foreign policy as likely to bring about the apocalypse deserves more than no coverage whatsoever from the country’s major newspapers.
This morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asked NBC political director Chuck Todd if Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) false claim that Iran is training Al-Qaeda — which he has made on at least three occasions — will “hurt” his candidacy for president. Todd said probably not because McCain has “enough” national security credibilty “in the bank with media that he can get away with it”:
RUSSERT: Does that kind of stumble hurt a McCain candidacy? [...]
CHUCK TODD: Even if he gets dinged on the experience stuff, “Oh he says he’s Mr. Experience, doesn’t he know the difference between this stuff?” He’s got enough of that in the bank at least with the media that he can get away with it.
While Todd noted that McCain’s Al-Qaeda-Iran link was a “talking point that he’d been using” for “over a week,” he fell victim to his own prediction, later saying that McCain simply “misspoke.”
Indeed, Fox News’ Brit Hume gave credibility to Todd’s prediction as well on Fox News Sunday this morning, dismissing McCain’s gaffe as “a blip” and a “senior moment” adding that “we all” agree that McCain has understanding and knowledge of world affairs.
McCain has a cozy relationship with the press. After a brief falling out, he hosted a make-up barbecue for reporters covering his campaign and it paid off. One reporter who attended wrote a story shortly there after calling McCain a “man of the people” for traveling by train despite noting that he rode first class.
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A new short film on the death-defying adventures of America’s ex-First Lady:
Funny stuff. Meanwhile, McCain tax proposals are even more regressive than Bush’s.
Daniel Drezner, Republican, reports on the current state of the party:
It all started innocently enough. UCLA’s Burkle Center hosted a conference last week on the best way to deal with rogue states. On a panel proffering advice for the next administration, I disagreed with the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka over policy priorities. Pletka urged the next president to emphasize democracy promotion and the spread of human rights among rogues. I suggested that counterterrorism and counterproliferation merited greater attention.
this point, Pletka accused me of being on the far left. This amused my friends at the conference, since I am a Republican who acted as an informal advisor for the 2000 Bush campaign. When informed of my party status later, Pletka replied, “Well, he’s not like any Republican I know!”
Dan’s obviously got a problem here, as does the country, but if a desire to focus on counterterrorism and nuclear proliferation issues rather than overthrowing foreign governments is not the sign that you’re on the “far left” then I think those of us on the left are in pretty good shape going forward.
The Campaign for America’s Future proudly emailed this attack video against John McCain to me the other day, and frankly it’s disappointing stuff:
There’s just no evidence that McCain did anything wrong here. He was on the side of the angels in helping to investigate some dirty dealings in the contracting process for this tanker back in 2004, and the idea that Boeing should have a permanent monopoly on Air Force contracts because to work with rival firms would be “shipping jobs to France” is absurd. If people don’t want to go after McCain for something real, they should go after his shabby treatment of his first wife or make fun of him for being so damn old or something. Or go after him for something real! But this ignorant and silly.
Earlier this week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he “will be glad to stake my campaign on the fact that [the surge] has succeeded,” effectively shackling himself to President Bush’s Iraq policy. Previously, McCain has insisted that the level of American casualties is the “key” metric by which to measure to the surge’s success:
The surge is succeeding and the key to it is not American presence, it’s American casualties and by any measure, we are succeeding and the political process is succeeding.
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous today, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) bluntly disagreed with McCain’s assessment of the surge’s success, saying it’s wrong to “dismiss” over “900 dead Americans since the surge” began as “success”:
We have lost over 900 dead Americans since the surge. Now if you want to dismiss that as ‘success’ that would be your interpretation.
McCain frequently dismisses questions about his claim that he wouldn’t mind if U.S. troops were in Iraq for “a hundred years” by insisting that “the point is American casualties.” Yet, as Hagel points out, in repeatedly insisting that the surge is a success, McCain downplays the fact that American soldiers are still dying in Iraq on a regular basis.
As of today, the Pentagon has confirmed the deaths of 3,991 U.S. soldiers in Iraq since the start of the war. Four more reported casualties are awaiting confirmation.
This week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeatedly and falsely claimed that Iran was training al Qaeda in Iraq. Ignoring the fact that McCain made the error at least three separate times, Fox News’s Brit Hume dismissed the mistake today as simply “a blip” and “a senior moment.” Hume insisted that “we all” agree that McCain has understanding and knowledge of world affairs. Watch it:
Here’s wishing an enjoyable holiday to the Christians in the audience! I find Peeps sort of bizarre, but I’m hoping to find myself some chocolate in a bunny shape later today.
Item number 4 on Mark Halrpin’s list of painful things Hillary Clinton knows — or should know:
4. Nancy Pelosi and other leading members of Congress don’t think she can win and want her to give up. Same with superdelegate-to-the-stars Donna Brazile.
Pelosi has certainly said and done some things that have “signaled” this, as we say in DC, but I think that insofar as it’s really true that she and “other leading members of Congress” think this, they need to communicate it more clearly.
After all, consider the situation in Pennsylvania. All indications are that a clear majority of Pennsylvania Democrats would prefer for Hillary Clinton to be the nominee than for Barack Obama to be the nominee. But there are few indications that they understand the real structure of the race — that a miracle Obama comeback in PA would mean that Democrats enter May with a nominee and a financial advantage, whereas a sizable Clinton win in PA may mean that Democrats don’t get a nominee until August and that that nominee, who’ll almost certainly be Barack Obama anyway, will have a much tougher time winning in November. I think if voters better-understood the situation, they’d be much more inclined to vote for their second-favorite Democrat in the race, much less eager to do volunteer work for Clinton, much less inclined to donate money to her campaign, etc. But people won’t understand the dynamic unless it’s explained to them by credible party leaders.
Paul Scofield, who won an Academy award playing Sir Thomas More in one of my favorite movies, died this week. Scofield was brilliant as More, “the ultimate man of conscience.” The movie title comes from a 1520 description:
“More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons.”
President Bush is, obviously, no More. He is much, much less. He is a man for no seasons — literally. If we end up with atmospheric CO2 concentrations above 800 ppm, then Bush will deserve a great deal of
blame credit. In such a harsh world, all the seasons will merge into one, or rather none. American Heritage provides the origin of the word “season”:
Well, the planet won’t be doing bloody much planting if Bush and the delayers have their way. As a 2006 Hadley Center study concluded, if we continue unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions: “One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100” and half the planet will experience moderate drought.
Not many seasons in the desert. Thomas More, of course, wrote Utopia — indeed, he coined that term. Bush and the delayers are trying to write a very different story, titled Dystopia. We must not let them succeed.