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McGaffe: Oy Vey…er…Oh Mon Dieu…er…Ay Caramba!

September 18th, 2008 | by Daniel DiRito |

Yesterday, Barack Obama accused John McCain of being a member of the old boys club. If reports in the Spanish press are accurate, McCain demonstrated his bona fides as a founding member…at least as far as the “old” part is concerned.

While the details are sketchy, it seems that the senator grouped Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero in with the likes of Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, and other foreign leaders he would not meet with…based upon their country’s rogue status.

From Talking Points Memo:

Our review of the audio suggests the same conclusion. In the interview, McCain is asked about Hugo Chavez, the situation in Bolivia and then about Raul Castro. He responds to each of these with expected answers about standing up to America’s enemies, etc. Then the interviewer switches gears and asks about Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. And McCain replies — very loose translation — that he’ll establish close relations with our friends and stand up to those who want to do us harm. The interviewer has a double take and seems to think McCain might be confused. So she asks it again. But McCain sticks to the same evasive answer.

Obviously, Spain is an American ally and would never be viewed as the equivalent of Cuba or Venezuela. To be fair, it’s clear that anyone can make a mistake or find themselves confused in the heat of an interview. Unfortunately, in this instance, it appears that the reporter reiterated her question multiple times upon hearing the puzzling response from McCain. Undaunted, he reiterates his apparent rebuke each time.

The problem, as I see it, centers on a pattern of the Arizona senator repeating gaffes…seemingly failing to make the cognitive connections and recognitions needed to correct himself. Anecdotal as this may be, it’s a pattern I’ve seen in those elderly folks I encounter on a regular basis. While it certainly doesn’t disqualify their mental capacity, it does raise questions as to their functional fitness…especially in situations of a critical nature with far reaching consequences.

While McCain has been in government for years, I get the sense that there are situations that garner his interest, and there are others that hold little weight in his overall awareness. Granted, we’re all guilty of the same, but it is reminiscent of the casualness that seemed to typify the Bush presidency from time to time. Rather than focus on the factual considerations of each situation, there appears to be a tendency to rely on overarching ideologies. Couple that with an air of unchallenged confidence, a predisposition to neoconservatism, and a suspect temper, and one can quickly become alarmed.

Perhaps I’m simply showing my own bias. On the other hand, under the shadow of eight years of observing the patterns of George Bush’s governance, I still believe McCain’s gaffes, coupled with everything else, should leave us with reason for concern. Needless to say, the interview is drawing ample attention in Spain.

UPDATE:

Here’s the actual untranslated English version of the interview.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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