McCain's bomb

Stupid and offensive becomes obnoxious and hypocritical.

Published April 20, 2007 3:48PM (EDT)

Maybe our outrage thermometer is worn out from overuse, but we've had a hard time getting ourselves too hot and bothered over John McCain's "Bomb Iran" gaffe.

Yes, it was both stupid and offensive for a man who would be president to sing about the possibility of raining down nuclear weapons on the people of another country. But while George Allen's "macaca" moment told us something we may not have known about the man -- something that was confirmed by subsequent reporting -- we're not so sure that McCain's decision to sing a bit of "Bomb Iran" during a question-and-answer session with supporters tells us anything we don't already know about him: Even if there's some sort of direct line between the decision to sing about bombing Iran and a desire to bomb Iran, we already know of McCain's hawkish inclinations and his talk-before-thinking style. We're far more troubled by the senator's refusal to acknowledge the reality of the war we're already in and his rather dictatorial disregard of the judgment the American people -- his would-be constituents -- have reached about it.

That said, McCain's response to criticism of his song choice is quickly moving the matter from stupid and offensive to obnoxious and hypocritical. Asked about it Thursday night in Las Vegas, McCain pulled a Scalia: "Please, I was talking to some of my old veterans friends," he said. "My response is, 'Lighten up and get a life.'"

So it's just F-'em if they can't take joke? Well, not always. As Think Progress remembers it, McCain demanded that John Kerry apologize for the "botched joke" he told about Iraq back in November. Maybe McCain thinks there's a difference between jokes about an existing war and jokes about one that's still on the drawing boards. Or is it that he considers himself such a straight-talking maverick that he's entitled to be held to a different standard than anyone else?

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Iran John Mccain R-ariz. Middle East