He Didn't Mean What He Meant

by digby

I was going to write something about this but Jamison Foser saved me the trouble. The media's triple backflips and double axels explaining away McCain's "100 years in Iraq" comment this week are nearly Onion parodies, they are so ridiculous. (I wondered if poor Bob Somerby was going to have an aneurysm reading them considering the distortions and lies about Al Gore that the media gleefully spread in 2000.)

Foser points out that with all the rending of garments about the horror of Obama using McCain's words against him, nobody has bothered to ask what McCain actually did mean when he said it --- or why he flipped flopped like a dying carp saying at one time or another completely different things on the subject.

On the best of days, John McCain's fanboys rival 12 year old girls screaming themselves faint in the front row of a Jonas Brothers concert, but this rush to ensure that that mean Barack Obama didn't "get away" with using McCain's own words against him on the stump was a profile in Xtreme Flyboy-love. Once again, McCain is excused for saying something completely shocking because his scribbling sycophants are sure he "didn't really mean it." One can only imagine what it would be like if all candidates were given the benefit of the doubt on such matters.(I'm sorry Jay, but this proves once again that they have not learned any lessons from their irresponsible behavior of the past few years.)

I wrotelast week that I think this is a very dangerous theme. If the press helps McCain reposition the Iraq issue from one of invasion and occupation to one of long term "peacekeeping" (pay no attention to all the death and carnage) then they will once again have blood on their hands because they fail to tell the whole story. Not that they seem to care.

It is very tempting for Americans, in this time of economic turbulence and personal stress, to simply accept what the media and the Republicans are telling them about Iraq. Our latter day Eisenhower, The Man Called Petraeus, has led us to victory and all we are doing now is mopping up and keeping the peace. If you don't follow the story closely, you could easily believe that. So when you hear McCain say that he thinks Iraq will be like Germany or Korea, where American servicemen have been stationed for half a`century now, marrying little blond frauleins and passing out Hershey bars to the local kids, well, what could be wrong with that? That's perfectly normal.

By going out of their way to feverishly explain away McCain's comments, without adding any necessary context, they are actually helping him frame his campaign argument that America needs to stay in Iraq indefinitely. And I expect that when we next have a visitation from TMCP The Great, they will work very hard to ensure that no one says anything that could be construed as a "General Betrayus" type of gaffe. Everyone will be properly respectful, no matter what crazy stuff he comes up with. (That is the happy result of a successful Hissy Fit --- it's all about the next time.)

The press is still enabling the Republicans on the issue of Iraq, this time in service of their anointed candidate McCain. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised about this stuff anymore. It's as predictable as the dawn. But it's hard to believe they didn't develop even the slightest amount of self-awareness over their part in the last few years of death and destruction and are going to do it again without a second thought. McCain's the guy they want to sit in the back of the bus and have a beer with. That's all that matters.