The Klingon Candidate

by dday

The latest from John McCain today, where he inadvertently admits that he doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shi'a, isn't an isolated incident. In fact, he said the exact same thing on Hugh "I'm going to close my eyes and pretend you're Mitt Romney" Hewitt's show yesterday. It's somewhat amusing that he was called on it by his own Senate delegation, but that won't stop him from saying this zombie lie over and over.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

By the way, Holy Joe corrected one lie with another lie, so let's not consider him some voice of reason, either.

The AP's story on this conveniently removed the "Al Qaeda" reference in McCain's remarks, so this won't be as teachable a moment as you could hope. But let's make it clear: John McCain doesn't know a whole lot about foreign policy, just like he doesn't know anything about energy policy or health care policy or economic policy. I was at a panel discussion with Ezra Klein over the weekend, and he answered a question about John McCain's health care plan by saying that "McCain doesn't care about health care because there's no honor in it. You can't storm the hospitals or vanquish the doctors."

But this is true of every aspect of McCain policy. It's entirely based on "honor," like a Klingon, with nothing behind it. We can't leave Iraq because it would be dishonorable to do so. There's no nuance or strategy behind that, beyond something like this:

“One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, ‘Stop the bullshit,’” said Mr. McCain, according to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, an invitee, and two other guests.

In the previous link on McCain's economic plan (which is basically, "Cut spending!" except for that magic defense spending which doesn't cut any hole in the budget because it's so honorable), Jared Bernstein talks about how he makes a lot of basic mistakes when talking about the economy. But that's true in foreign policy as well. He says things like "Anybody who believes the surge has not succeeded, militarily, politically and in most other ways, frankly, does not know the facts on the ground," when the commander of forces in Iraq has said the exact opposite. He has no overriding views on foreign policy from a historical perspective, engaging in the same method of taking any position that suited him at the time that has characterized his inconsistency on a host of other issues. And his war cabinet is a group of muddled thinkers who have been historically wrong about Iraq and foreign policy generally, people who say things like "Iraq has sponsored the 9/11 attacks" and that there's no evidence that the Shi'a won't get along with the Sunni and 100 other misstatements. They have no fealty to the truth and will continue to bungle around and trying to unify the whole mishigoss under the heading of "honor."

Worf '08. There is no honor in losing among suburban white women in Missouri.