Thursday, September 18, 2008

Zapatero! (or, where the hell is Spain?)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So it seems McCain thinks Spain is in Latin America, or maybe not, and that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero is akin to Chavez and Castro, or maybe not.

Either way, his confusion, or whatever it was, hardly inspires confidence.

McCain said earlier this year that he wanted to "leave behind discrepancies with Spain," and that he wanted to invite Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero "to visit the United States," but in an interview conducted with Radio Caracol WSUA (AM 1260 in Miami) on Tuesday, he refused to count Spain, or Zapatero himself, as a friend. Perhaps because he doesn't know who Zapatero is or where Spain is.

As Josh Marshall puts it, this insane gaffe, or whatever you want to call it (and his people are spinning wildly), is "embarrassing": "John McCain either doesn't know who the Prime Minister of Spain is, thinks Spain is a country in Latin America, or possibly both. (For more from Josh M., see here: "McCain actually has Spain on probation as a potential member of the Axis of Evil 2.0." Or so his advisors seem to be suggesting.)

Perhaps McCain longs for the good old days, when the Falange was in control. Or perhaps it was yet another Sunni-Shiite moment for the ever-clueless, ever-forgetful, ever-senile senator from Arizona.


For more, see Steve Benen at Political Animal and Kyle E. Moore at Comments From Left Field.

Here's Steve B. on McCain's misrememberin' ways:

Forgetting Zapetero's name is almost forgivable, though hard to explain for a candidate who claims to be an expert in foreign policy. But the interviewer kept using the word "Spain." She even gave him a big hint with the word "Europe."

Let's also not lose sight of the broader pattern. McCain thinks the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia was "the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War." He thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. He believes Czechoslovakia is still a country. He's been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia. He's been confused about whether he wants more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more NATO troops in Afghanistan, or both. He's been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq. He's been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. He's been confused about Iran's relationship with al Qaeda. He's been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi'ia. McCain, following a recent trip to Germany, even referred to "President Putin of Germany." All of this incoherence on his signature issue.

All of which, along with his economic incompetence and extremist positions on domestic issues like health care, adds up to this: McCain is a dangerous, dangerous man with anything even resembling the presidency.

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