I think the biggest mistake John McCain made with regard to setting up the debates was to lead with foreign policy. One of the cardinal rules of presidential politics is that voters will vote based on their last major impression of you, which makes it a mistake to lead with your only perceived "strength," which in McCain’s case is foreign policy.
But worse than that little faux pas was the fact that he let Obama beat him on his "strength." At this point, he has nowhere to go, and it’s beginning to show. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that even the candidate himself is starting to sense that he’s losing badly, and things are likely to go downhill from here.
Sam Stein has a piece in the Huffington Post, along with several video clips, detailing a meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board, in which McCain gets quite pissy. This has to be one of my favorite McCain distribes of the campaign so far:
"I have always had 100 percent absolute truth and that’s been my life
of putting my country first. And I’ll match that record against
anyone’s. And I’m proud of it. And an assertion that I have ever done
otherwise I take strong exception n to. And you will have to provide
better proof than a bill that Sen. Obama supported that clearly calls
for the teaching of sex education of young children."
I’m not sure I have ever before heard a presidential candidate claim he never lies, and then support the assertion by lying, in front of people who know better.
The above claim first surfaced in a McCain campaign ad that was roundly debunked by many sources, including the non-partisan FactCheck.org. Want to know what the bill "clearly calls for?" Check this out:
SB99: Course material and instruction shall discuss and provide for the development of positive communication skills to maintain
healthy relationships and avoid unwanted sexual activity. … Course
material and instruction shall teach pupils … how to say no to
unwanted sexual advances … and shall include information about
verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without
limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual
contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and
instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an
acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior
that impairs one’s judgment.
Yes, that’s right, folks. The purpose of the bill was to teach children
how to avoid molestation and sexual assault. Apparently, given his
protestations, McCain is against giving children the tools to be able
to stop sexual assault of children. There is absolutely nothing in that bill that calls for sex education (as the term is usually used, anyway) of young children. Can someone please get a message to Sen. McCain? Assault and rape is not SEX!
But McCain wasn’t just pissy about his penchant for lying about Obama in a vain attempt to score political points with voters. He was also incredibly pissy when the editorial board of the Register challenged Caribou Barbie’s qualifications to take over the presidency, should something happen to McCain, in the unlikely event he won:
"So, with due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she
doesn’t have experience and knowledge and background," the Arizona
Republican said. "And, by the way," McCain said before cutting himself
off and saying, "I’ll stop there. I fundamentally disagree and I’m
proud of her record. But you and I just have a fundamental disagreement
and I’m so happy that the American people seem to be siding with me,"
When they pointed out that the public really wasn’t all that sure of her as Vice President, McCain snapped again:
"Really? I haven’t detected that in the polls, I haven’t detected that
among the base," he said. "If there’s a Georgetown cocktail party
person who, quote, calls himself a conservative who doesn’t like her,
good luck. I don’t dismiss him. I think the American people have
overwhelmingly shown their approval."
Notice how he started off with a hissy fit, and then caught himself, but apparently, his "self-control" didn’t last long. He’s losing it. And since when has McCain missed a Georgetown cocktail party? he’s been a regular at them for years. He especially loves the ones (ironically) that feature celebrities.
Of course, this diatribe points to another lie, unless he’s been under a rock for the past few weeks.
Sarah Palin, who will usually be referred to as "Caribou Barbie" on this blog, is an empty pantsuit. She has no knowledge, no experience, and not nearly enough time to learn anything. That is not to say she’s stupid, or that she can’t be ready at some point in the future, but let’s get real, folks; at this point, she’s got nothing.
And the American people are most certainly NOT "siding" with McCain at all. When she was first nominated, she was given the benefit of the doubt by people who didn’t know anything about her, and she had a mediocre approval rating by a public. It was the voters’ equivalent of saying, "Well, she looks very nice." But since the constant interview debacles, her approval rating is down a little, and her disapprovals have skyrocketed. The last I looked, about a week ago, her approvals were down to 50%, from 52%, and her disapprovals went from 28% to 38%. More people like Tina Fey’s impression of Caribou Barbie than like Caribou Barbie herself.
McCain also got a little pissy with the Board, when it was pointed out that, unlike much of the rest of the country, McCain has largely relied on government-paid health care:
"I was out of the military for a while before I went to Congress,"
McCain said. "But that is an interesting statement. And I have never
been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space," he
said. "And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I
am familiar with. I have always been a free enterprise person who
thinks families make the best choices for themselves.
"I did go a period of time when the health care wasn’t very good," he added, in reference to his time as a POW.
Okay, can we please ask for a moratorium on references to McCain’s time as a POW? We KNOW, okay? There isn’t anyone in this country who has a voter registration card and doesn’t know that John McCain spent time in a POW camp. And we all appreciate his service, and feel bad for his ordeal. That has nothing to do with whether or not most people think he’s qualified to be president.
But about this health care thing…
There’s no reason to get pissy, Sen. McCain. You get good and free health care, just like everyone in Congress gets. The difference is, Barack Obama wants the rest of us to have the same sort of health care you get, that we actually pay for, by the way, while you want to keep the status quo, which means higher premiums, and increasing numbers of people without any coverage at all.
John McCain’s losing it, folks… and it’s fun to watch…