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McBush Bonus Round: Confused Lies

May 17th, 2008

McCain’s direct statement:

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,’’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. ”I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’

Then, McCain’s policy adviser announced:

SHUSTER: Nancy, does the McCain campaign believe that talking to our enemies is the same as appeasing them?

PFOTENHAUER: We have never used the term appeasement and you know that.

SHUSTER: But the president did. […]

PFOTENHAUER: We have specifically not used the term appeasement.

Um… OK. So, Pfotenhauer either doesn’t know what she’s talking about, or she’s lying. Great.

But here’s my question, relating to McCain’s statement that “it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.”

The hostages came home at the exact moment Reagan was taking office; Reagan was never president at a time when negotiations could have taken place. McCain seems to be suggesting that Reagan’s negotiation policies were so amazingly tough, that the Iranians released the hostages before Reagan had even said a word.

He also seems to forget that when hostages were taken on his watch, Reagan not only talked with Iran, but he in fact directly appeased them, selling them weapons and supplies, in direct violation of his own stated policy, in exchange for hostage releases. Reagan continued his secret policy of appeasement for years, in fact, probably causing more hostages to be taken, while he continued to supply Iran with arms.

So, why isn’t the media challenging McCain’s romanticization of Reagan’s actions? It’s a clear lie–McCain was in Congress during the Iran/Contra hearings, he could not have forgotten about it. But after immediately recognizing this lie, I did a search, and found no media attention to it whatsoever. Only the Democratic party and other blogs picked up on it.

The Liberal Media™ at it again!


Here is Obama’s response to McBush’s “Appeasement” accusation, in which Obama hits on all the high points, all the lies and errors. It’s quite measured, methodical, and comprehensive, and well-delivered… so naturally, McCain called it a “hysterical diatribe.” Presumably McCain used those word because he wanted to engage in civil, high-minded debate like he promised.

  1. Tim Kane
    May 17th, 2008 at 11:17 | #1

    “Ready, Fire, Aim”

    The problem with this debate is that it has to take place in sound bites and pithy statements.

    My response might look like this:

    Republican foreign policy strategy could be describe as “Ready, Fire, Aim”.

    President Bush and John McCain, in there bellicose bravado, want to spread your children’s body parts all over the Middle East and they don’t want to even stop to find out why our would be or alleged adversaries should even be our enemies.

    This is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into Iraq in the first place. The administration ‘kicked’ the weapons inspectors out of Iraq before they finished their job, in order to proceed with the invasion. The administration, in the first year after the Iraq invasion, gave 28 different reasons for Invading Iraq – as a result we still don’t really know why ‘WE’ invaded Iraq.

    What we do know is our children, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers body parts are being blown to bits all over Iraq. We still don’t know why. And that’s not even addressing the other costs to Iraq. ”

    The policy description for our reason for going into Iraq can aptly be described as ‘ready, fire, aim,” and we’ve been trying to aim ever since.

    The burden of the “Ready, Fire, Aim” strategy falls upon the American people.

    The President’s, and now McCain’s “ready, fire, aim” strategy is a disaster to this country. We have shot ourselves in the foot.

    Obama is offering a strategy that takes aim, and take measure, before any firing would ever take place.

    Remember its “Our” body parts and those of our family, our children and our friends that bare the burden of “Ready, Fire, Aim” strategy and its our tax dollars that have to cover the cost. Republicans make is up on war profits, the rest of us are burdened.

  2. Tim Kane
    May 17th, 2008 at 14:29 | #2

    I’ve since watched Obama’s reply. It’s damned good.

    In politics nothing is certain. But this latest dust up serves Obama well. It allows him to show some muscle and paint McCain into the corner of absurdity that he co-occupies with Bush. McCain increasingly looks out of it and anemic.

    That’s a 73 year old McCain with positions that have 28% popularity vs. perhaps the best natural political talent since Roosevelt who is in the prime of his life, physically and intellectually.

    If this keeps up, “the good lord willing, and the river don’t rise”, Obama might get a 50 state sweep.

    Imagine that: the first black president getting the first unanimous electoral college vote since Washington.

    Imagine those coattails.


  3. ykw
    May 18th, 2008 at 02:07 | #3

    I wonder if McCain will select a vp that is young and also an excellent speaker, to try to make up for the vitality differential between him and Obama?

  4. Luis
    May 18th, 2008 at 10:32 | #4

    Ykw: Basic rule about VP candidates: they rarely do any good, and they often do a lot of harm. In the end, they don’t really have nearly as much impact as the top of the ticket. Already right-wingers have been talking about McCain VP choices, and they are all shallow: many want to choose a woman, many a black, many a black woman–which is why you get choices like Condoleeza Rice thrown around seriously. People would react badly to that though, like “Oh, the other candidate’s going to be a black or a woman, so they get a black woman–how clever! NOT!” It’s seen as pretty basic pandering. Kind of like one movie studio coming out with what is expected to be a blockbuster hit film about an asteroid hitting the Earth and a scrappy team of astronauts go out to blow it up, so another studio quickly slaps together a movie about an asteroid hitting the Earth and a scrappy team of astronauts go out to blow it up. The candidate would be hurt by that, and by the impression that the VP was chosen not because of merits but because of surface distinctions.

    The best choice for VP for either candidate would be a talented person who is fit to be president, hopefully one which compliments their abilities, shoring up their weaknesses, and if possible, is a geographic compliment as well–but most important is the able, talented person part, especially when it comes to not saying stupid stuff that’ll sink the campaign.

    Now, true, McCain is seen as being weak because of age, so he might benefit from getting someone young, but remember Bush 41’s choice of Dan Quayle–didn’t work out so well there, did it? Bush did win the first time out, but Quayle wound up hurting him a lot more than helping him–remember the “John F. Kennedy” bit at the debate with Bentsen?

    So McCain will almost have to choose someone younger, or at least seen as physically fit and not so old. But an orator? That would kind of fall into the copycat area, would not be necessary, and would severely limit his options. Better to shore up his actual weaknesses, one of which is seen as weakness with the right-wing base. Someone who is appealing not just in their personality but also in their right-wing credentials; someone like Huckabee (but maybe not him) would help McCain–although then you have to deal with your campaign tipping too far to the right in its appeal to Independents… etc., etc. It’s a major balancing act.

  5. Tim Kane
    May 18th, 2008 at 16:47 | #5

    Also, if an Orator is picked as a V.P. it kind of takes the spot light away from McCain. Republicans might actually like that, but McCain would not. These people all have egos. Most tend not to want someone who might over shadow them. Even Obama is apt to pick someone who has less charisma (but then who has more?).

    Also, if McCain picks a black person, it’s likely to steer votes Obama’s way. Faced with no choice, the bigoted voter might then choose to go ahead and vote for Obama. I think he’ll go with a younger person who has strong right wing credentials to shore up the base, though a better choice would be someone with solid moderate credentials that would attract independents. I don’t know who that would be in either case.

  6. ykw
    May 19th, 2008 at 02:22 | #6

    Las Vegas Betting Parlor, intrade.com:

    Republican Vp:

    Pawlenty – 18%
    Romney – 15%
    Huckabee – 11%

    Democratic Vp:

    Clinton – 16%
    Webb – 15%

  7. Stuart
    May 20th, 2008 at 06:23 | #7

    Yeah the hostages were released the day Reagan was inaugarated. But the papers were signed on the 19th, the day before he became president. Jimmy Carter was still president when the crisis was resolved. It was a member of Carter’s cabinet that handled the negotiations. To even suggest Reagan had anything to do with it is absurd.

    “He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’ — no kidding. He didn’t sit down in negotiation because it was already over.

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