Watching John McCain the past few days, I think he's just plain falling apart. It was bad enough that recently he and his campaign had slipped into a pattern of habitual lying as noted in a bunch of recent major newspaper editorials. (Never mind his impulsive choice of a very pretty but inappropriate running mate already embroiled in scandals in her home state.)
In the past few days, there was his twisting in the wind about whether the economy was strong or at risk and whether he was for or against the AIG bailout (read nationalization).
But now there are his remarks about Spain: At the point where he's EITHER saying he might decline to receive José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, at the White House because of the need to "stand up to those who want to harm the United States," OR forgetting where and what Spain is, he crosses the line into a national disgrace.
As a US citizen, I am deeply embarrassed to have John McCain in serious contention for the US Presidency.
Is McCain suffering some form of personality disintegration? Is the sensory overload of campaigning simply too much for him? Or are there undisclosed medical issues that would explain all this?
UPDATE: From the Washington Post:
McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said McCain's answer was intentional.Um. Really? (I find that explanation even less believable than McCain's claim that when he'd said previously that the fundamentals of our economy were strong, what he was talking about was the strength of the American Worker.
"The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he said in an e-mail.
Let's put it this way: the McCain campaign would rather damage US relations with Spain than admit that their staggering candidate screwed up. How about McCain put Country ahead of Vanity and fess up?
Josh Marshall responds to Randy Sheunemann proposed alibi:
. . . nice try, Randy. I don't doubt that Scheunemann and his neocon pals still have it in for Zapatero for pulling his troops out of Iraq. I admit it is difficult to believe that McCain either doesn't know who Zapatero is or doesn't know which continent Spain is currently a part of. And we can question the wisdom of a major party presidential candidate suggesting that a major NATO ally might be part of his Axis of Evil -- along with Hugo Chavez. But Randy's attempted save here does not add up. If McCain knew who Zapatero was, why did he repeatedly refer to him as a Latin American leader? Spain is not in Latin America. I'm certain of it.
Who is Scheunemann? He's the McCain foreign policy adviser who back in June who accused Obama of a "policy of delusion" toward terrorism. It would seem that the shoe is on the other foot: Scheunemann is justifying McCain's policy of delusion.
Josh Marshall's transcribed it:
After the interviewer presses him a couple times on the point and tries to focus him on the fact that Prime Minister Zapatero isn't from Mexico and isn't a drug lord either McCain comes back at her saying, "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region."
Then there's a moment of awkward pause before she says. "But what about Europe? I'm talking about the President of Spain."
McCain: "What about me, what?
Interviewer: "Are you willing to meet with him if you're elected president?"
McCain: "I am wiling to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for humans rights, democracy and freedom. And I will stand up to those who do not."
At this point, the interviewer gets tongue-tied presumably because she can't get over McCain not knowing what Spain is.
My best guess is that McCain was recycling material from his May 20th Miami appearance of the anniversary of Cuban independence from Spain and that he is so much on autopilot these days, that he was unable to respond spontaneously or think clearly.
McCain should apologize and correct himself or drop out of the election.