The Politico Links McCain's Gaffes And His Age
by Todd Beeton, Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:15:09 PM EDT
Over the course of the primary battle, the Obama campaign effectively injected a somewhat subtle meme about Hillary Clinton into the ether, namely that she'll do or say anything to win (which had the benefit of being a pre-existing meme to begin with.) Whether it was a post-Nevada campaign memo accusing the Clinton team of dirty tricks or a pre-California "truth squad" ready to pre-but what were sure to be the Clintons' many forthcoming lies, the Obama campaign never came out and accused Hillary Clinton of being a liar, but instead just hinted at it until her own actions seemed to reinforce the meme and the media picked it up as their own. It was pretty masterful, actually, considering many people to this day still insist that Obama never attacked Hillary Clinton.
As I've written before, team Obama seems to be weaving the same magic with McCain with their "confused" meme. Every time McCain makes a gaffe they say he's "confused," the subtle implication being that "he's too old to be president." John McCain has cooperated wonderfully in reinforcing the meme, not only with his recent insistence that Iraq and Pakistan share a border, but also that Czechoslovakia is still a country. He did it again and this time gave an uncomfortable mea culpa.
But while McCain has played his age for humor, the media has largely considered connecting McCain's gaffes and his age taboo. The sheer volume and frequency of McCain's errors may have rendered that deference obsolete.
Cue The Politico, which in a piece today finally addresses the elephant in the room, as it were, vis a vis McCain's numerous confusions.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said "Iraq" on Monday when he apparently meant "Afghanistan", adding to a string of mixed-up word choices that is giving ammunition to the opposition.
Just in the past three weeks, McCain has also mistaken "Somalia" for "Sudan," and even football's Green Bay Packers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ironically, the errors have been concentrated in what should be his area of expertise: foreign affairs.
And then Mike Allen and Jim Vandehai go there:
McCain will turn 72 the day after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepts his party's nomination for president at the age of 47, calling new attention to the sensitive issue of McCain's advanced age three days before the start of his own convention. [...]
McCain's mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?
As someone who is less than squeamish about using McCain's age against him, I'm glad to see this getting some play in the media.