July 22, 2008

Wow. There is so much hackery in this short clip that it's hard to know where to begin. While reporting on McCain's Anbar gaffe, the "Morning Joe" squad not only fails to acknowledge how serious and unprofessional it was for CBS to selectively edit the gaffe out of the interview, they completely buy into the McCain campaign's damage control spin. And as if it that weren't bad enough, Joe Scarborough makes it a point to go out of his way and call the arm-waving host that ran with the story (an obvious allusion to his colleague Keith Olbermann) "ignorant" and "too stupid to be on TV."

icon Download icon Download (h/t Heather for vids and transcript)

"Look let me tell you....and I know a couple of hosts ran this last night and made a huge deal because some liberal blogger picked it up. I will guarantee you the host that ran it, were waving their arms, had no idea whether the Sunni Awakening, or, or or, the surge began at the same time. They also, anybody that would argue that the Sunni Awakening would have survived in Al Anbar Province, without the surge, anybody that would make that argument is so ignorant of the facts on the ground in Western Iraq, in Al Anbar Province, and what the Sunni sheiks were doing throughout 2007, that they are too stupid to be on TV. And I hope they don't carry that argument much longer because it is laughable."

Let me try and break this down for the slow among us. This is what McCain said:

"Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history."

Actually, no, it's not a "matter of history." Whether or not the surge helped strengthen the al-qaeda-routing awakening is not the issue; the issue is McCain crediting the surge with creating the awakening in the first place. That is, as a matter of fact, UNTRUE. Now, if McCain had said the surge "strengthened the awakening," it would be different. But by saying it "began the awakening," he is deliberately distorting the time line in order to give the surge more credit than it's due, and thus give himself more credit than he's due. It's that simple.

When confronted by Senator Obama with the prospect that the surge isn't entirely responsible for the security improvements, McCain is forced to play the only card he has left in his deck and attribute everything to the surge, even though the greatest gains began before it. It's not hard to understand.

I wonder if the McCain campaign realizes how foolish they look right now. While Barack Obama is overseas looking presidential and having his foreign policy ratified by the Iraqi government, John McCain is home undermining his own foreign policy "expertise," undercutting his main argument for the surge, and looking childish as he stomps his feet and blames the press. All I can say is...keep it up!

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