Yowzer! John McCain is an idiot. No, he's not your garden variety idiot. I'm sure he's smarter than the average bear and all that. But when it comes to working at the presidential level, he's not even Senator material. Football coach. That's what I see McCain being good at. Working at the high school or even college level, I betcha McCain could have made a fairly mediocre football coach. But president? Of the United States?? Never.
Is it really any wonder he had to surround himself with lobbyists and journalists? His power came directly from the only users and abusers in the political world who were less knowledgeable than he is. I'm sure the GOP is really starting to kick themselves for not trying to get the religious right more accepting of Mormons. Mitt might have been an empty suit, but at least he knew he was an empty suit. Bush also knew how to follow his talking points rather well, and while he sounded like an idiot when he said them, you could at least respect the source material he was working from. But McCain...McCain's whole campaign just sounds like he's making it all up on the spot and says whatever he needs to say to get to the next question, and that's no way to run a campaign. This is just going to get worse for him.
As for his latest screw-up, I'll confess that my knowledge of Iran's system of government is more than just a little sketchy, but even I knew that the president of Iran isn't the real leader of the country; and this isn't even my field of expertise. But McCain? He's such an idiot on this stuff that he not only didn't know the right answer, he imagined the question didn't even make sense and was laughably dumb. He was as confident as he was wrong. I suppose it's no real wonder he doesn't think we can engage in diplomacy with Iran. He doesn't even know who the hell they are!
And just to be a hip video blogger, I'll show the clip here:
And the funniest part is how he first tries to laugh off the whole question and thinks it's entirely stupid. But then...then he definitely starts to get a little upset. Or more than a little. Sure, he doesn't blow his cool, but it's obvious it took him some effort to keep from getting mad. But all the same, I don't think McCain was getting upset because he was wrong, but merely because he was being challenged about it at all. He's so accustomed to getting a freeride from the media that the idea of anyone confronting him directly and not accepting his sage wisdom as given is enough to anger him. Yeah, and this is the guy we want to send to the Whitehouse.
And I just wanted to make my prediction official: McCain's Achilles heel is the media. Whether or not they smell blood and eventually tear him to pieces, as long as he imagines that they'll carry his water for him, he'll continue to spout off without giving any thought to what he's saying. But that's totally old school. The media's gatekeeper function has been greatly diminished by the internet, and people will learn of McCain's idiocies whether the media tells us about them or not.
And all the same, I think Mr. McCain's got a fierce pecking party coming his way. Pack animals hate weakness and the deeper McCain sinks in the polls, the less chummy the media will be with him. That's my prediction, anyway.
Don't Know Much
And we're seeing the same thing we saw with talkshow loon Kevin James. In both cases, we have corporate media whores finally doing their job by actually questioning the basis for the rightwing's whackjob policies, and not only can the person questioned not explain how their policy makes sense, but they end up showing they're entirely ignorant of even the most basic facts of what they're talking about.
I mean, there was no way Chris Matthews could have guessed that his guest didn't know what Chamberlain did wrong, and it was obvious Matthews was originally working from the idea that James DID know what Chamberlain did, and was using that as a starting point. And again with McCain, Joe Klein couldn't have guessed that McCain was so ignorant of Iran's system of government. He was just using that as the starting point, but clearly hit paydirt when McCain not only admitted he didn't understand Iran's system, but laughed at the idea that he might have been mistaken.
And in both cases, we have rightwingers who remain so convinced that they are foreign policy experts that they never bothered learning the truth. They have their empty phrases and their political sloganeering and they imagine that this makes them experts. And in the conservative world, it does. But it's obvious that these doofs don't understand the basis for their positions, or why they might be wrong.
Wrong in Hindsight Too
And even when they have time to research this stuff and think about the answers, wingnuts still can't get this stuff right. They're so ingrained with their toughguy fantasies that they simply refuse to bother checking to see if they know what they're talking about. For a good laugh, you can read the comments section of my Kevin James post, and see two such conservatives showing off their knowledge of Chamberlain as a way to show how I was wrong for writing about Kevin James.
But the first one completely screwed-up the history of WWII, including erasing the Invasion of Poland, thinking the war started later than it did, and he didn't even seem to know that England and France declared war on Germany before Hitler invaded France. And again, this guy had clearly researched this, and this was the best he could do. And while the second commenter at least seemed to have the basic history correct (maybe), he still couldn't explain the original point Bush was trying to make on how diplomacy somehow amounts to appeasement.
And what's odd is that both guys seemed to be arguing from the position that liberals not only are appeasers, but that we supported Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy. I'm not sure if that was their point, but that's the only point I could decipher from the odd ramblings they were tossing my way. While liberals were busy trying to explain how Obama's policy is nothing like Chamberlain's blunder, these guys actually imagined we thought the appeasement of Hitler was a good policy. But I guess we don't call them wingnuts for nothing, huh?
The Stupid Barrier
But so it always is with this stuff. These people don't know who we are. They don't know what we stand for. Instead, they're spoonfed these strawmen liberals that don't represent anyone and get increasingly angry when we don't fess up to agreeing with the absurdist positions they've been told we have. And rather than just asking us what we believe, they tell us what we believe and insist we're liars for not admitting to it.
And the big problem here is that they're top-down oriented authoritarians who take their marching orders from above and never think to question the conclusions they've been handed. To them, it feels as if they have some intuitive understand of how all this works, which they attribute to commonsense that they all share. All the conservative talkshow hosts, columnists, pundits, and bloggers seem to be in agreement on almost everything, and they simply fail to understand how that happened. The top of the conservative foodchain shouted something into the echo chamber, which these dopes use as confirmation. How could so many smart guys be in agreement unless they were right, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a liberal. How convenient.
But the problem is that only the end results end up getting repeated, and they're never really handed the underlying facts. Or if they get some facts, they're cherrypicked in a way that a knowledgeable person can easily expose. And this just doesn't compute for these guys, so they imagine that some trickery must be going on, or something. But it doesn't matter, because they'll just be so rude and unable to debate that you're unlikely to ever penetrate their barrier of stupid.
And so it all just makes sense to them, even if they can't explain how it makes any sense. It's simply intuitive that we need to stay in Iraq forever or how Iran is empowered by diplomacy. It just makes sense. And they're so convinced of this that they can't even comprehend any argument suggesting that our troops in Iraq might be making the place less stable, or how toppling Iran's biggest enemy and handing it to pro-Iranian Shiites might have empowered Iran far more than letting them sit at a table with us.
But again, it's all conclusions with these people. Obama is an appeaser. Ahmadinejad is the leader of Iran. End of story. They know these things. And the idea that things might be more complicated than they were led to believe just doesn't occur to them. Why bother learning about Chamberlain or Iran if you already know all you need to know about them, right? And these people wonder why everything they touch turns to shit. Big surprise.