McCain Cheated! Who Cares?

A lot of noise on the blogs – I think DailyKos popped the weasel – about the possibility that McCain knew the questions in advance of his interview with Rick Warren.  Gentleman, this is a trap.
Quick factual review: 

  • Both candidates were asked the exact same questions – Obama went first decided by a coin toss. 
  • McCain was supposed to be in the “cone of silence” – a room with no television or cellphones. 
  • Warren made repeated mention, as the program began, of the cone of silence and that McCain was unable to hear the questions. 
  • McCain was not at the venue (much less in the cone of silence) for the first half hour of Obama’s segment – he was in a motorcade travelling to the church. 
  • This clearly raises the possibility that McCain did, indeed, have advance knowledge of the questions.
  • Certain segments of the interview appear to confirm that McCain either knew the material in advance or is psychic. 
  • McCain has assured Warren that he did not hear any of the questions. 
  • Warren accepts this statement as true. 
  • The Obama campaign is not pursuing the matter.

Let’s assume McCain did, in fact, gain advance knowledge of some questions.  If this came about through some direct effort to game the process – a decision was taken by McCain or his advisers to be late in order to listen to Obama – and there is solid proof of this ‘cheating with malice aforethought’, there is then something worth pursuing. 
However, what possible evidence is likely to present which might confirm that it was intentional cheating?  I doubt that anyone travelling in the vehicle with McCain is likely to come forward and say, “Yeah…we were scribbling notes the entire time and brainstorming answers for John.”
Absent such evidence it’s merely an allegation spawned by circumstance, easily painted as a baseless and therefore desperate attack on the character of a war hero.   Further, it flies in the face of a personal assurance from the candidate that he did not hear any of the questions.  He’s probably lying about that – McCain doesn’t have more than a passing relationship with being honest and then only when it’s helpful – but you can’t call him a liar unless you can prove it.

There are plenty of soft targets on McCain – character flaws, policy weaknesses, ties to Bush.  There’s no need to get worked up over the mere appearance of sneakiness, especially when doing so carries such heavy risk of backscatter.  If it looks sneaky, let it look sneaky.  Calling him on it only allows McCain to express indignation and makes the accusers seem petty and grasping. 

More importantly, there’s another side to the coin.  McCain often appears to be (and in my opinion is) rather befuddled by the facts.  He doesn’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, he thinks Iran is training AQ, he considers the Russia-Georgia conflict the first great security issue of the 21st century, he doesn’t understand geography, he doesn’t know how many troops are in Iraq, he doesn’t know who the leader of Iran is… Whether this is the result of senility, an extension of the fact that he was a lousy student and has never found ignorance to be an obstacle, or some combination thereof is beside the point.  The suggestion that McCain cheated by obtaining advance knowledge of the questions at Saddleback presumes that, in the time it took to interview Obama, McCain and his advisers were able to develop a strategy based on that information, and that McCain was (a) able to remember it, and (b) deliver it appropriately.  I’m not sure I want to credit McCain with that degree of mental agility or ability.

In the absence of a smoking gun, alleging that McCain and his gang of neocon hucksters gamed Pastor Warren looks like a baseless character attack, credits McBush with being sharper than he is, and perhaps worst of all, distracts from the plethora of real reasons why John S. McAchronism ought never be elected POTUS. 
McCain’s singular strength as a cadidate is his folksy charm in one-on-one conversations.  That’s why the press rats love him – and that’s pretty much what we saw at Saddleback.  McGrandad, doing his folksy schtick.  And if the senile old bastard feels the need to cheat a little bit, well…he’s desperate and he’s old.  There’s no need to embarrass him by pointing out that he needs bifocals and crib notes.

Disclosure:  I believe that the GOP will take any opportunity to cheat, lie, distort, game, gain advantage, smear or otherwise engage in illegal, immoral, unfair and/or dirty tactics if they think it will work.  I have no problem believing that in this particular case, they did so.  There’s just no way to prove it, and that’s more important.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow, there never really is an end to your liberal smear is there? There is no proof that McCain indeed cheated and/or heard the questions in advance. The conspiracy theorists (like you) are just mad that McCain can actually answer a question with “specificity” without endlessly babbling and, in the end, saying nothing. If it was so crystal clear that McCain cheated, O’bama would be raising hell. As far as Republicans taking any opportunity to cheat, lie, and do a number of many other false things, I would like to point out the “sniper fire” in Bosnia, Clinton saying he “did not have relations” with Monica, and a host of other PROVABLE schemes by democrats (like not doing ANYTHING since gaining control of Congress)(did Pelosi just “forget” to have a vote on drilling?)

  2. Yeah…he didn’t hear nuthin’. He’s psychic. He can answer three questions that haven’t even been asked yet.
    It’s really IS like you take pride in being ignorant.

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