What's All This Then?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

"What in the hell is he talking bout" was the way I finished my Tuesday, July 22 comments - "he" being John McCain talking about "victory" and "defeat" in Iraq - as though either one could be the outcome of our five year old invasion and current occupation of Iraq. Some people on the right seem or claim to know what he’s talking about - either that or they just don’t care. He may not be their favorite candidate but he’s the Republican candidate and that’s all that matters.

They may have noticed - and perhaps support - the complaints of the McCain camp that he’s being virtually ignored by the media, while they’re all over Barack Obama like a cheap suit. There’s a reason for that of course and it’s not that "the media" have a "liberal bias." It’s that, to the mainstream media, this election is all about Obama. McCain is like a comfortable pair of old shoes. They know all they want to know about him. There’s nothing exciting there to dwell on. Obama is the new boy on the block - and besides which he’s black - or at least half black - so he’s the one considered the most newsworthy. But while the newspapers and television networks are covering his every move and his every word - they’re also waiting, like vultures - to sweep down on any misstep while virtually ignoring McCain’s ongoing missteps. For which the Republican candidate should be eternally grateful.

Let’s face it you Republicans and others who may have bought into the "hero, maverick, straight talk express" hype. The American press has been McCain’s friend for a long time. And they’re continuing in their friendly ways by not covering his movements and utterances on a daily basis. If they did - if they reported on him the way they report - and comment - on Obama, the Republican party might well be looking for a new candidate at their nominating convention.

How would the media react if Obama declared, in somber tones and with a straight face, that we needed to be concerned about the threatening attitude that the Chinese have assumed along their border with Turkey? I don’t have to answer that question. You know how much coverage that would get in the mainstream media. And the Limbaughs and Hannitys and the " autism denier" Wiener Savage would be having weeks of field days.

So McCain should be counting his blessings. Not that there’s a total lack of coverage of McCain’s incredible goofs and flip flops - but you don’t have to go out of your way to miss them. They’re just not there. You would think that a television network going to the extreme of covering up - not just an ordinary misstatement by a presidential candidate, but one in an area in which he claims to have the greatest expertise, would be a major news story. But you’d have to hunt for it to learn that during an interview on CBS-TV, the Senator boasted that the "surge" was responsible for the Sunni sheiks turning against Al Qaida , which in turn was responsible for a significant drop in violence. Except that the so called "Anbar Awakening" began months earlier, in August 2006 - before anyone was even talking about a "surge." You won’t see too many reports of this goof in your morning paper - but you can find it starting here - and or here. CBS decided not to let the American public see the Republican candidate for the presidency making a fool of himself. They simply edited the goof out of the interview.

You may have heard of McCain placing Iraq and Pakistan next door to each other, but probably not on network newscasts or in your local paper. For sure you won’t see it in endless video loops - Jeremiah Wright style.

And neither will you see what could easily lend itself to an endless video loop - the many
flip flops of John McCain. Yes I know - that sounds like a title for a mystery novel. Maybe there’ll be one after the election. Meanwhile the mystery is that the mainstream press isn’t paying that much attention to McCain’s incredible reversals on so many issues - whereas a couple of words by Obama expounding on his plans to withdraw from Iraq, get jumped on by the McCain camp as a "flip flop" and get picked up by the national media as though he’d actually announced a brand new policy.

But obviously McCain is not grateful for the absence of Obama style press coverage because he either doesn’t understand the ridiculous goofs and claims that he has made - or he thinks if he keeps repeating the same untruths, people will begin to believe them. I wonder from whom and what era he got that idea? Even when his error on the Anbar Awakening was pointed out to him, he still insisted that its success was because of the "surge." Never mind that the increase in American troop strength came six months after the Awakening began or that most of those personnel went to Baghdad. McCain knows best. He’s the expert.

I’m reminded of a clash between McCain and Romney during one of the Republican primary debates. McCain accused Romney of calling for a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. Republican heresy!! Romney said he called for no such thing. McCain said you did so. Didn’t. Did so. And the following exchange took place.
ROMNEY: Is it not fair -- is it not fair to have the person who's being accused of having a position he doesn't have be the expert on what his position is?
How is it that you're the expert on my position, when my position has been very clear?

MCCAIN: I'm the expert. I'm the expert on this. When you said...
So there you have it. McCain is the expert - even on someone else’s political positions.

Apparently McCain has no problem with the press covering he has received of recent attacks on Obama and his newest commercial. Remember that McCain had called for a civilized campaign - no personal attacks - just a discussion of issues. So what have we got so far? McCain says Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election. An accusation of treason - or just a joke that nobody gets? Obama uses the obligatory "Never Again" phrase when writing in a guest book at Yas Vashem . McCain attacks that action and those words, claiming that Obama is being disingenuous since he wouldn’t support a troop presence in Iraq to prevent a holocaust. Apart from the fact that it is ridiculous to make such a connection between two totally unconnected things - McCain, who is supposed to be the foreign policy expert, doesn’t seem to know that using the "Never Again" phrase is obligatory at Yad Vashem - that it is a solemn oath to the Jewish people - and to use its utterance as a springboard to attack a political rival is an insult to the country to which McCain has vowed his unconditional support.

Then there’s the commercial claiming that OBAMA is responsible for the run up in gas prices - "I’m John McCain and I approved this message" - and finally his assertion just the other day that oil prices have fallen somewhat because Bush removed the executive order banning some off shore drilling. Not that that traders took profits. Not that there was heavy selling in anticipation of a supply/demand imbalance. Because Bush said we should drill in off shore places where oil companies don’t already have leases that they’re not using.

These are items that the media have covered to some extent - and that doesn’t seem to bother McCain one bit. So maybe my premise is wrong - that he should count his blessings at the skimpy press coverage that he’s receiving. He doesn’t seem to be ashamed or embarrassed by anything he says - no matter how incorrect, no matter how stupid, no matter how venal.

Or maybe even he can’t answer the question that I posed at the end of my Tuesday comments and the beginning of today’s. Having watched and listened to him over the past few weeks - it wouldn’t surprise me one bit!!