On Anderson Cooper 360, guest host John King asks Bay Buchanan whether John McCain's "gaffes" confusing the connection between Iran and al Qaeda was going to hurt McCain. Buchanan thinks that the mistake is one anybody could make and ultimately won't affect McCain's chances in the general election.
KING: Bay, you heard McCain. He messed up the Shia thing, the Shia/Sunni, Iran training Sunni al Qaeda, which is not true. A successful trip? A gaffe that hurts him?
BUCHANAN: I don't think the gaffe hurts him at all in the long run. It was something that -- you know, you can almost see anyone could make that mistake. He's very, very knowledgeable, John, as you know, in foreign policy. He's got a reputation. And so I don't think he's hurt on that.
I'll tell you, though, he is going to have to come back to this country. He had a good week, thanks to the Democrats, I must say. But he's had a really good week, and I think he comes back but he's got to start focusing on the economy. If he doesn't shore himself up on that, he could be in trouble in November.
*Sigh* First of all, stop with the "gaffe" framing. Once is a gaffe. Three times in two days AFTER being corrected either means you are congenitally stupid or intentionally deceptive. Either way, it's far more malevolent than a mere "gaffe."
And sadly, Bay, I have to agree that the average American would probably make the same mistake McCain did (at least, the first time). After three decades of working towards the Republican goal of systematically dumbing down of the electorate by cutting funding towards education, turning news into infotainment and continually muddying up the national dialogue with factoids that bear little relationship to truth, most Americans can't even point to Iraq on a map, much less understand the difference between Sunnis and Shi'a.
However, the office of the President should not be occupied by someone that falls on the low end of the bell curve of understanding. For someone who has built his entire campaign around claiming to be the only one who understands the radical Islamic threat, it seriously detracts from your credibility when you DON'T understand the Islamic threat. (Hello? Media? It's your job to point that out. I don't think there are BBQ ribs delicious enough to sell your credibility for too.) It's bad enough that Bush didn't understand the difference between Sunni and Shi'a before launching the invasion, does McSame really have to embrace ALL of Bush's policies (and complete willful ignorance) too?
Full transcripts available through CNN.com
Bay Buchanan spoke of John McCain needing to get a handle on the economy (yet another low end of the bell curve for Grampa McC), and the Campaign for America's Future put together this little video to show how well McCain was received in France at the end of his trip: