The rain on McCain

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Another day, another moment of idiocy from the McCain campaign. It seems that McCain either doesn’t know where Spain is, or else doesn’t know who the Spanish prime minister is, or both. While being interviewed by a Spanish journalist, who clearly identified herself as Spanish, as in Spain, the country in Europe, several times, McCain kept responding to her as though she was talking about Latin America, and suggested repeatedly that the Spanish prime minister must be considered an enemy to the US unless and until he proves himself otherwise.

More here and here, with the audio here, for the benefit of my Spanish-speaking readers. Hola!

UPDATE: here is the interview in its original English.


23 Responses to “The rain on McCain”
  1. clayfoot says:

    Mmm… Sounds like a gaffe. Good thing his opponent never makes any of those. I’m beginning to think neither of these men deserves to be president, mostly on the weight of their supporters.

    • Todd says:

      How’s your portfolio doing today?

      • clayfoot says:

        About the same as everyone else’s, but I don’t mistake the president for the commander-in-chief of the economy, presidential campaign pledges notwithstanding. I presume any promises to manage the economy are purely populist rhetoric, because it’s just impossible; the economy is just too big.

        • Todd says:

          So you’re with the folks who say that the current economic slump has absolutely nothing to do with eight years of Republican policies? And you deny that the credit crisis was largely designed by McCain’s own economic guru Phil “whiners” Gramm?

          If you can’t see the difference between a candidate who accidentally misspeaks and a candidate who aggressively repeats mistakes and then covers up his mistakes with lies and belligerence, it just sounds like you’re being willfully obtuse and, frankly, it makes you look desperate to find an argument against a candidate you just don’t like for some reason.

          And by the way, your link there refers to Hillary Clinton, who, the last I checked, is not running for president.

          • clayfoot says:

            Clinton is the source of the quote about the president being the commander-in-chief of the economy, offered up when she was a candidate. The term implies that the president has the power to direct the economy just as the nation’s military. This is just false. With Congress, the president can influence the economy through spending and tax policy, but even that influence is limited or time delayed. Most of the time, government intervention (such as the recent stimulus package) has a short term effect on the economy overall, after which the economy resumes its overall trend. Over the long term, some government policies can have larger (and often unintended) consequences, such as the policy of multiple administrations to increase home ownership. Eventually, this encouraged the financial sector to lend to less and less qualified borrowers, with the results we see now. Because of things like that, I worry about presidential candidates –Democrat or Republican– who expressly say they intend micromanage parts of the economy.

            • brain_auk says:

              Um, just so I’m clear, in your argument for how Obama is worse than McCain, you cite a quote from Hillary Clinton. Got it.

              Now your response to McCain’s Spain gaffe is entirely clear: when faced with a blunder, you double-down and spout irrelevant bullshit. You’re soul-mates.

            • Anonymous says:

              There’s micromanagement and then there are policy decisions that emanate from the White House, backed my legislation that the administration either fosters or vetoes. Oh, yes, and a regulatory climate (or in this administration’s case a deregulatory climate) that has a great deal of influence over the financial sector — the big problem in this crisis. Oh, and please don’t overlook the tremendous role of the war combined with absurd tax cuts, which by creating the biggest budget deficit this country has ever run, has turned what was once (in 2000!) the most powerful state in the world into a debtor nation with a currency worth half what it was 8 years ago. Now tell me again that the U.S. president’s role is not that of a leader of the economy.


        • xbt says:

          Here, let me help Clayfoot out:


    • charlequin says:

      Wow, that link is embarrassing. Referring to “Barack Hussein Obama” in blog posts credited to “John Galt”? Yeez.

      I think anyone who cares seriously about politics-as-important-world-shaping-force (rather than politics-as-idiot-savant-horse-race) can distinguish between the useless media concept of a “gaffe” as a singular misstatement (which includes both the stuff you linked to and things like “Bushisms”) and statements which actually reflect a problematic inability to engage with an element of governance. (Making a mistake about who Zapatero is once would be the former; being unable to answer a question about him even with incredibly specific prompting from the interviewer would have to be the latter.)

      • curt_holman says:

        For me, the telling thing about the link is that even Obama’s gaffes are more impressive than McCain’s speeches.

        I don’t like it when people pile on McCain for trivial misstatements — like that assertion about delivering “hot bottled water” to people who needed it. The Zapatero one is worth mentioning because it speaks to his alleged specialty in foreign policy, and his campaign’s tendency to double-down when confronted with mistakes and lies.

      • Anonymous says:

        Referring to “Barack Hussein Obama”

        Hello, that is Obama’s name…whats so embarrassing about that?

    • Anonymous says:

      “a story about a man whose son dies, so he replaces the dead son with a new son, then uses that new son as a sexual tool and ends up in a heap of trouble because of it”

      Are you finally writing about A.I.?


  2. cucumberseed says:

    Well, naturally, anyone who speaks Spanish is the enemy unless they prove otherwise, duh. This is America, speak American!

    [regrettably, the /sarcasm tag is necessary since far too many in this country believe that sincerely]

  3. xbt says:

    This might seem a little off-topic, but I knew you’d appreciate it:


  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m going with the he-mixed-up-Zapatero-with-Zapatista theory. Whatever the explanation, it’s extra scary. And unlikely to have any affect on the campaign.

    • robjmiller says:

      I’d say that’s pretty likely, as he keeps making references to Mexico, Latin America, and “our hemisphere,” none of which have anything to do with Spain. However, his campaign now claims that it wasn’t a gaffe and that McCain is, in fact, antagonistic towards Spain, supposedly because they pulled out of Iraq.

      Good spin Sheunemann, now let’s figure out a way to sell a war with Russia. Maybe you can claim that Georgia is named for George Washington, and that Medvedev called Washington a “pansy.” That’s sure to play in the rust belt.

    • pjamesharvey says:

      Call me old-fashioned, but I expect a potential world-leader to be able to distinguish between such differences with professional ease.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually inclined to believe the McCain campaign’s spin on this — that McCain was being huffy because Spain had withdrawn support for Iraq. I don’t think it makes him look any better to be all sulky and petulant — and rigidly adhering to the Bush party line — about a country that had an honest, polite disagreement with us.

    I also didn’t like his ridicule of Obama for offering to sit down with Chavez without preconditions. Yes, Chavez is a tool. Everyone knows Chavez is a tool. But it does no harm to sit down and talk with someone first, rather than immediately plotting ways to start kicking their ass. If I’m not mistaken, Bush administration-supported meddling in Venezuela’s elections gave Hugo a lot of his potent anti-American ammunition in the first place.

    Also, while I’m entirely willing to believe that Obama makes gaffes — he’s run some fairly inaccurate and disappointing ads lately in response to McCain’s smearathon — I question the validity and trustworthiness of any site on the subject run by Some Random Guy Who Really Cannot Spell.

    — N.A.

    • Todd says:

      But McCain clearly doesn’t know who he’s talking about in the interview — he keeps mentioning that Zapatero runs a Latin-American country, or that he’s a drug-cartel ringleader in Mexico. It’s bizarre, it’s like he’s throwing darts at a board marked “FOREIGN POLICY QUOTES” and hoping one of his pre-prepared answers will make the pesky Spaniard go away.

  6. capthek says:

    Silly man, everyone knows that only Latin American Marxists have Spanish names, right? Now donĀ“t go bringing up the Philipines…

  7. I feel the need to relate a very brief story about something that I overheard while visiting Spain.

    I was walking through the streets of Seville, a town with an overabundance of beauty and history, when I found my self walking towards two male American tourists. The boys were approximately college-aged, and dressed the part.

    Here’s the delightful snippet of conversation I overheard as they passed ~

    BOY #1: Man, this place is a shithole.

    BOY #2: Word.

    Not making this up.

    I think that the potential of having another “ugly American” in the White House is reason #89,003 that I’ll be voting for Obama.