Senator McCain has famously said, "Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war."
How, then, should we describe a clearly unbalanced presidential candidate who jokes about killing innocent civilians as part of a larger war-mongering foreign policy? "A fool or a fraud" barely cracks the surface. There are a few other f-words that might suffice, but in lieu of those, might I suggest "unhinged maniac" or "tasteless hack" or "creepy, twitchy, psychotic hoople without any internal monologue who shouldn't be allowed within a hundred square miles of the nuclear launch codes"?
Yesterday, Senator McCain was asked about an AP story in which it was revealed that during the Bush years there has been a significant increase in American exports -- including cigarettes -- to Iran. First, Senator McExperience admitted that he hadn't heard about this news story. That's bad. But not bad enough for the corporate media to wet-nap the barbeque sauce off their fingers so as to successfully pen a news item about it. But it doesn't matter because Senator McShecky followed his ignorance with this reaction to the cigarettes exports:
"Maybe that's a way of killing them."
Then the uncomfortable, jittery, bottled-rage laughter and, "That was a joke!"
I sincerely hope so. I hope the Iranian government gets the correct tone-of-voice in the translation, especially if what Senator Jackie McJokeman and his neocon wack pack are saying about Iran's impending nuclear arsenal is true. I can only imagine how the Cheney-ish warhawks would react if Ahmedinejad cracked a similarly unfunny zinger about killing our citizens -- or the citizens of Israel.
But it wasn't just a joke about killing Iranian citizens -- a people who thirst for American-style democracy; a people who held spontaneous candlelight vigils in Tehran following September 11; and, most importantly, a people who have little or nothing to do with Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. It wasn't just that. It was also a joke about, of all things, lung cancer. And not just regular, horrible lung cancer, but weaponized lung cancer. Which, as we all know, is always funny, especially in the larger context of a wisecrack about murdering civilians.
And that's the problem. If he doesn't have the judgment to discern between appropriate, tasteful jokes and indiscriminate, Tourette's outbursts then why should anyone trust him to be the commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military?
No-one should. Because, if nothing else, this episode goes a long way towards underscoring that the presumptive Republican nominee has lost his shpadoinkel.
He's finally proved himself to be a crackpot who has somehow bought off the very serious corporate media with his awesome recipe for dry-rub in exchange for wide-berth latitude -- so much so that too many of his otherwise self-destructive remarks are simply laughed off. Oh look -- HOO-HOO! -- Pappy is going on and on about Iran again. Pass the cole slaw, Stretch. It's a remarkable level of ambivalence considering how the corporate media has been excoriated for its narcolepsy during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Meanwhile, Senator Obama's various remarks, as witnessed during the recent frenzy about the senator's Iraq policy, are parsed, masticated and purple-nurpled by everyone with a very serious haircut. I can only imagine the breathless, hyperkinetic why-oh-why-oh-why reactions from the commentariat had Senator Obama -- or worse, Reverend Wright -- said such a thing about Iran, especially on a day when we've learned that Iran has successfully tested long-rage missiles. But naturally, the Democratic candidate is always the experimental group and never the control group.
Even still, the question being presently discussed on the cable news shows is, Which candidate is better suited to confront the issue of Iran? Is it the candidate who has pledged aggressive diplomacy? Of course not. Aggressive diplomacy never works -- too girlish and effete... except during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the entire American-Soviet Cold War when aggressive diplomacy worked and when a shooting war would have escalated into Armageddon. Nope, the presidential candidate who the pundit-bots have canonized as the man best suited to balance upon the razor's edge between war and peace happens to be the fidgety lunatic suffering from involuntary giggle fits and who just last night joked about killing Iranian civilians with, of all things, weaponized cancer. Very serious! And people allow this crazy person to operate a propane grill?
Speaking of crazy people, President Bush's inappropriate smirking while discussing serious affairs has been an on-going yard stick with which to measure his utter lack of sanity. But I submit to you that Senator McCain is far worse. Irrespective of how awful the content of this so-called joke happened to be, the fact the he has repeatedly blurted out such ridiculousness (see also "bomb-bomb-Iran" and, well, you know, calling his wife the c-word) ought to raise serious doubt about both his mental capacity as well as his morality -- his sense of right and wrong.
Because even the most gifted comedians know where to draw the line, and when they do "go there" they do so with precision and extreme care. Not everyone is George Carlin or Bill Hicks or David Cross or Louis CK. But the notion that Senator McCain believes that he possesses not just similar comedic skills but, more importantly, similar moral latitude makes him patently unqualified to be president. After eight years of a president who laughs whilst talking about Iraq casualties, we don't need another fool, fraud or doof who's incapable of seeing the threshold between where dignity ends and crazy begins.