McCain on Spain May Have Waned on a Surname

There are reports today that the current Republigoat presidential candidate was asked by a Spanish-language reporter in Tampa: “Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?”

As Time reports, McCain’s answer and subsequent analysis, is as follows

“Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States.” 

Ouch. The question about Zapatero, clearly framed by the reporter as a question about Spain, came after inquiries on Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba. As a result, much of the Spanish press has decided that the Republican candidate, who hails himself as the experienced foreign policy choice in this election, confused Spain—a NATO member and key ally in the fight against terrorism—with one of those troublesome Latin American states. That was certainly the interviewer’s impression, for she followed up with a gentle reminder that Spain was a country in Europe. As Spanish newspaper El País put it, “In the best-case scenario, [his answer] demonstrates his ignorance with respect to Zapatero. 

McCain is either ignorant about the current government in Spain, or, the Time article continues, he telegraphed his intention as President to establish a chilly stance toward the country—something even the current administration has not done despite the election of the head of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party as PM and despite that nation’s immediate withdrawal thereafter from the occupation of Iraq. Either option is bad.

Sam Stein. So succinct.:

And thus, the Senator finds himself in what appears to be an embarrassing if not potentially damaging proposition: either admit to confusing the name of the Spanish prime minister, a tough pill to swallow even with the built in perception that he is the candidate with foreign policy know-how, or explain away a position on U.S.-Spain relations that appears far outside the mainstream.

Do you suppose, perhaps, that being shot out of the sky 30 years ago might not actually prepare one completely to conduct the foreign policy of the Untied States?

What about the economy? If you refer to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation repeatedly as the “S-P-I-C,” and if it’s in that way in your written prepared remarks, and if you don’t appear to even know what that entity actually is or does but you’re placing the blame of the country’s economic agita on it—is it possible that, maybe, just maybe, you’re not the right man for the job?

Isn’t it too early yet to be wondering if a prospective President is stupid, incompetent, lying, or downright demented?

Is it right that several weeks after his VP announcement, we’re still wondering what the hell this pick says about him? That he selected a politician who, as a small-town mayor hired a city planner and harpooned that municipality into $20 million in debt, who lies more prolifically than Stephen King writes, who appears to make Dan Quayle out to be an Einstein?

Everyone’s focusing on the “Bush doctrine” thing from the Gibson interviews. But it gets worse than that, much worse.

Gibson: So you’d take military off the table, the veterans’ benefits. That’s 20 percent of the budget. Do you talk about entitlement reform? Is there money you can save in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

Palin: I am sure that there are efficiencies that are going to be found in all of these agencies. I’m confident in that.

Gibson: The agencies are not involved in entitlements. Basically, discretionary spending is 18 percent of the budget.

Palin: We have certainly seen excess in agencies, though, and in—when bureaucrats, when bureaucracy just gets kind of comfortable, going with the status-quo and not being challenged to find efficiencies and spend other people’s money wisely…then that’s where we get into the situation that we are into today, and that is a tremendous growth of government, a huge debt, trillions of dollars of debt that we’re passing on to my kids and your kids and your grandkids…It’s unacceptable.

Gibson has nearly redeemed himself from Jackass: The Debate via this interview. He’s been accused of trying to trip up Palin, but this is a trick question in the way that “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” is a trick question. Any politician who says she’s going to cut the federal budget is full of bullshit. Two-thirds of the budget is “mandatory” spending, which is what Gibson is attempting to pin her down on when she starts warbling about “agencies” and “efficiencies.” His questioning has demonstrated that she either is not familiar with the most basic aspects of the federal budget, or that she is as serious about budget-cutting as is the Current President, or that she, like many of her ilk, has a tremendous Ballenger hard-on for slicing and dicing regulatory agencies. (Do we need to review what happens when you slice and dice regulatory agencies?)

Consider this. When challenged on her foreign policy credentials, the woman that the 72-year-old presidential candidate who has suffered recurrent instances of cancer has selected as his understudy said this, regarding her expertise on Russia:

They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

The comparison is unavoidable:

So. What you have on the Republigoat ticket is an elderly man with a chronic, sometimes terminal disease who walks into rakes like Sideshow Bob at least once per day who has made an abysmal vice presidential pick based almost entirely on cynical politics over picking someone who is actually qualified, which is a major M.O. of the current administration, which has stomped this country’s dick in the dirt.

And yet. National polls say this race is, essentially, a dead heat. It should not even be close. But rounding up or down, this country appears to be approximately 50/50 regarding this decision. I know the numbers that actually count are those on the ground in battleground states, and I know that the mainstream media might actually prefer to cover a horse race. I just find it nonplussing that there is even any question at this point. There is a competent, serious candidate with a competent, seasoned running mate, and there is this joke of a candidate. Should be a no-brainer.

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