Sunday, June 01, 2008

Joe Klein: Pointing Out McCain's Ignorance Is Just So Unsporting

Okay, so John McCain has no idea how many troops we have in Iraq. He says we have reduced our presence to "pre-surge levels" when in fact we have more than 20,000 soldiers in Iraq today than we did before the surge. And even when the current draw-down is completed in July, we will still have 10,000 additional soldiers in Iraq. So, despite what the McCain campaign is saying, this is not "nitpicking" over "verb tenses"; it's about the military realities and what they mean.

Ridiculously--but unsurprisingly--some in the mainstream media are leaping to McCain's defense. Joe Klein in Time magazine:
It is simply ridiculous for journalists--and political operatives--to expect perfect speech from candidates at all times. So I'm not going to jump on John McCain for his gaffery du jour. We are drawing down in Iraq, but not to a lower level than existed before the surge. So the old fellah was a month--and a brigade--or so off. Big deal.
There are plenty of times when the media latches onto petty slips of the tongue and declares them serious gaffes. But this latest goof by McCain is not an example. We're not talking about McCain forgetting someone's name or mistaking what town he was in during a campaign swing. We're talking about a fundamental error regarding the central theme of McCain's campaign. Remember, McCain's "expertise" on Iraq is supposed to be the main rationale for his candidacy:
Accusing Sen. Barack Obama of having "a profound misunderstanding" for the situation on the ground in Iraq, Sen. John McCain repeated his call Wednesday for his Democratic rival to join him for a trip to the war zone.

"To say that we failed in Iraq and we are not succeeding does not comport with the facts on the ground so we have got to show him the facts [on] the ground," McCain told a group for more than 700 supporters at a town hall meeting in the Silver State. . . .

The GOPer has taken on a more patronizing tone when discussing Obama of late--asking him to "listen and learn" five times during remarks today, just days after he rhetorically patted him on the head at a California rally, stating that, "for [a] young man with very little experience, he's done very well."
It's difficult to imagine a more pathetic display than this--for McCain to condescendingly sneer at Obama's ignorance of "the facts on the ground" in Iraq while unwittingly displaying his own ignorance.

Joe Klein may consider this "petty politics" on a par with Obama erroneously saying Auschwitz rather than Buchenwald in a reference to his uncle's WWII service. And I suppose it is, if--like so much of the MSM--you're personally invested in the myth of the wisdom and loveability of John McCain ("the old fellah," as Klein fondly calls him). It's going to be a long, frustrating march from here to November.

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