Bomb, Bombs Away! - Did Fox's Britt Hume Just Imply McCain Has Early Alzheimer's ?
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 11:53:28 AM EST
America has already passed through the perilous straights of a US President, Ronald Reagan, now widely acknowledged to have been suffering from Alzheimer's and Britt Hume, in downplaying John McCain's claim that Iran was training Al-Qaeda as [merely?] "a senior moment" (hat tip to Think Progress) has raised the specter that the America presidency might again be in the hands of a man with declining mental capacity. This is troubling because last April 2, 2006 McCain told Tim Russert, on Meet The press, that a US war with Iran "could be Armageddon" and then, about a year later,  McCain was courting Pastor John Hagee, an politicized evangelical leader who had formed a lobbying group to precipitate Armageddon. In 2003, in fact, Hagee's ministry was marketing a 3-volume videotape series, of three Hagee sermons, which declared that a US invasion of Iraq would destabilize the Middle East and bring on the "final conflict". Hagee has now moved on to advocating a US attack on Iran which, per Hagee, will advance the pastor's Armageddon-based foreign policy goals.  
John McCain's now infamous singing of "Bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' hit "Barbara Anne" has pickled up an even more ominous cast given the Arizona Senator has repeatedly displayed confusion about the most basic sectarian division in Islam, the Sunni-Shiite split. As I've recently written at Talk To Action:
In his 2008 presidential bid, John McCain has been running, in essence, on a 'religious war vs. Islam' platform but Senator McCain, in a comment the Senator made in Jordan during his Mideast tour, appears to be unclear on the distinction between Sunni & Shia Muslims, reports the Washington Post's campaign blog.
As Cameron W. Barr and Michael D. Shear report,

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.

He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda...

...McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

The mistake threatened to undermine McCain's argument that his decades of foreign policy experience make him the natural choice to lead a country at war with terrorists.

Apparently, reports (story has audio clip of McCain's blunder), Mr McCain repeated the same mistake, last night, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show - thus indicating his statements in Jordan were probably not a fluke. John McCain seems uncertain about the most basic sectarian division among Muslims, the Sunni-Shiite split. It's analogous, roughly, to the Catholic/Protestant split and McCain's confusion is, frankly, bizarre given his claims to foreign policy expertise. In addition, John McCain's basic premise, that the primary cause of world terrorism is "militant Islam" has been challenged by Department of Defense-funded research, from a University of Chicago academic, whose work suggests a the most important factor driving suicide terrorism is nationalism.

Senator McCain has also been endorsed by a Christian leader, Pastor John Hagee, whose organization "Christians United For Israel" has been charged with choosing, as its original organizational logo, an image of Jerusalem's Temple Mount from which the 3rd holiest structure to Muslims worldwide, the Dome of The Rock, had been airbrushed out - thus symbolically depicting what the state of Israel would consider to be a major and disastrous act of terrorism.

Related Talk2Action/Bruce Wilson videos:

"John McCain's Father Rolls Over In The grave"

John McCain Chooses The 16th Century"

"Dr. StrangeRedPhone"

There are a lot of reasons why John McCain should not be the next president of the USA, but I think it's a little below the belt to start trying to pin the Alzheimer's label on him.

His age is an issue, sure, and his future health would be a valid concern if he is elected, but there is a big difference between "senior moments" and clinical Alzheimer's and mentioning the latter smacks of deliberately attempting to play on the fears that we all have of that awful disease.  There is nothing about McCain's behavior at this point that comes close to showing he might be developing Alzheimer's at this point.

In any case, your post ends by detouring back to the Hagee connection yet again and doesn't say anything new, so I am left wondering what the whole point of the piece is (except perhaps beat up on McCain a little more).

And you actually missed one salient point I've seen others make.  McCain's team have actually refused to put the Al Qaida/Iran gaffes down to a senior moment (no matter what Brit Hume said) and claim that it was simply the result of abbreviating a more lengthy talking point.  That does seem to indicate how sensitive McCain's campaign is to the issue of "senior moments" given their candidate's age, and they understand how much it could hurt them.

But anyway, I would hate to see this site even beginning to head down the same kind of paths right-wing talk show hosts walk in their sleep.  McCain's age is a valid issue, sure, but without significantly more evidence of any failing mental capacity, continued whispers of Alzheimer's are just examples of what Senator Obama calls "old style politics".

by tacitus on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 01:05:00 PM EST

There are two horns of a dilemma here - either McCain has had repeated "senior moments" about the Iran/Al Qaeda canard or he's intentionally misleading the American public, and that's certainly a possibility.

But, what do you think McCain meant by saying that a US attack on Iran could be "Armageddon" ? And, especially, what are we to make of that given that McCain was aggressively courting Hagee a year later ?

I do think it's legitimate to questions McCain's capacity given that his positions seem to , apparently at least, shift so rapidly - and to questionable political effect. My personal view is to split the difference and assume that a) McCain is in fact pushing inaccurate claims on Iran/Al Qaeda but that b) his mental abilities are somewhat in decline.

Now, historian Douglas Brinkley reportedly has come to view Ronald Reagan as a great president of the 20th Century, and Brinkley is a Democrat - so mental decline may not in itself prevent a successful presidency. But it's certainly not desirable.


by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 02:06:52 PM EST

McCain may not be in a mood to obey his campaign handlers. As for changing positions - he's grabbing for the gold ring, and has shown that he's as much a whore as the rest of the politicians. The switch on torture is his nadir.

As this is Easter Day,

Who Would Jesus Torture?

by NancyP on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 02:16:11 PM EST

In the end, these different takes are about equally unflattering.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 02:36:48 PM EST

about electing an older man as president, and the press would do well to analyze family history, health status, and so on.

I had assumed that McCain was intentionally stating "Iran" to justify invasion. I had given him credit for knowing, and disregarding, the truth. It is hard to say what is scarier, an out of it president controlled by neo-cons, or a fully functional president with neo-con dreams of war.

by NancyP on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 02:13:02 PM EST

It made me wonder.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 02:37:30 PM EST

...I can tell you now that this NOT the same John McCain that I supported in 2000. I am a "Paleoconservative Republican" and in 2000, Senator McCain was our standard bearer. He reached out to the Gay Community. He believed that the Republican Party should welcome all who wished to join its' ranks. He represented a Libertarian strain within the GOP ranks. A lot of us Vietnam Vets supported him and cheered when he denounced Falwell and Robertson.  We were looking forward to a McCain-Powell ticket. Instead, we got Bush-Cheney. Even so, I still retained my membership in the Senators political organization even after his post 9/11 comments tying Iraq to Al-Queda. It seemed like a lot of senators on both sides of the aisle were doing it.
I remained a McCain supporter in 2004 when John McCain denounced The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He called them "dishonest and dishonorable". BTW, I voted for John Kerry.  
These last few years have, however, just almost been inexplicable. The whole bomb Iran, America is a Christian Nation, and John Hagee endorsement incidents have driven me from the ranks of McCain supporters. This is Not the man that I supported. Something has changed him over the years. We have every right to be concerned.
In 2000, my ideal ticked was McCain-Powell now it is Obama-Edwards.

by Frank Frey on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 09:29:47 AM EST
Your position changes are remarkable, only in that they and you are a rarity in today's political climate. I was in the window seat on the same boat as you, though I was on the Dem. side.

by trog69 on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 06:36:03 AM EST

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