John McCain has been saying a lot of downright nutty things lately. You've probably come across some of them, such as his admitted lack of knowledge about economics or his excitement at the prospect of remaining in Greater Mesopotamia for the next ten decades. Yet, alas, much of his craziness has been lost in the fog of the ongoing battle between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. So here's a recap of some nuggets of wisdom you may have missed -- from McCain's mouth to Bellevue's Ears.
10. Responding to a student who criticized his remark about our staying in Iraq for 100 years, McCain quipped, "No American argues against our military presence in Korea or Japan or Germany or Kuwait or other places, or Turkey, because America is not receiving casualties."
I guess Ron Paul isn't American. Or Dennis Kucinich. Or many others who have questioned the mindset behind keeping our troops abroad forever, which is what an empire does, not a republic. Although, perhaps more people don't argue "against our military presence" in the other spots he named, because, you know, those wars weren't based on 100 percent fabricated evidence and didn't make us less safe after they were done. Just a thought.
9. John McCain is "very proud to have Pastor John Hagee's support."
Just FYI, John Hagee makes Jeremiah Wright seem like Richard Simmons. Hagee has called the Catholic Church the "Great Whore," an "apostate church," the "Antichrist," and a "false cult system." And let's not even get into what he has said about Jews.
8. "In the shorter term," said McCain, "if you somehow told American businesses and families, 'Look, you're not going to experience a tax increase in 2010,' I think that's a pretty good short-term measure."
This is McCain's statement in suport of making permanent the tax cuts he voted and railed against in 2001 and 2003. Back then they were only a giveaway to the rich and "budget-busters." Now that we are much further along in borrowing our economy from the Chinese, and the rich have become even richer, they are a way to stimulate the economy by putting money in the hands of working Americans.
7. "This is a Catholic Voter Alert. Governor George Bush has campaigned against Senator John McCain by seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists who have expressed anti-Catholic views. Several weeks ago, Governor Bush spoke at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones has made strong anti-Catholic statements, including calling the Pope the anti-Christ, the Catholic Church a satanic cult! John McCain, a pro-life senator, has strongly criticized this anti-Catholic bigotry, while Governor Bush has stayed silent while seeking the support of Bob Jones University. Because of this, one Catholic pro-life congressman has switched his support from Bush to McCain, and many Michigan Catholics support John McCain for president."
This was a John McCain for president campaign robo-call in 2000. Today, as we pointed out, he hangs with the Rev. Hagee who thinks Catholicism is a "cult" and the "Antichrist." How romantic.
6. "Everybody says that they're against the special interests. I'm the only one the special interests don't give any money to."
Here are some examples of Sen. McCain's epic battle with special-interest money: According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McCain has taken nearly $1.2 million in campaign contributions from the telephone utility and telecom service industries, more than any other senator. McCain sides with the telecom companies on retroactive immunity.
McCain is also the single largest recipient of campaign contributions from Ion Media Networks -- formerly Paxson Communication -- receiving $36,000 from the company and employees from 1997 to mid-year 2006.
5. McCain listened intently, pausing a second before delivering what could be a defining answer. "The other one will do just fine."
For what important reason was Sen. McCain interrupting an explanation to the press of his positions on Iraq and national security to take a cell phone from an aide? Why his wife needed to buy them a new barbecue grill.
4. During a Nov. 28, 2007, Republican debate Sen. McCain angrily denounced torture and offered unmitigated support of the Army field manual's restrictions, saying they "are working, and working effectively."
So naturally and quite logically, he voted against applying these same standards to the CIA. Apparently these rules won't work effectively for spooks, just the men and women on the front lines.
3. McCain, while speaking at a town hall meeting in a suburb of Philadelphia, was asked if he had concerns that anti-American insurgents in Iraq might commit increased acts of violence in September or October with a plan in mind to tip the November election to the Democrats. "Yes, I worry about it," McCain said.
How did he figure out what the insurgents -- which his policies in Iraq have helped create -- are up to? When they attacked us on 9/11, and the warning signs were all ignored by President Bush and his then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, he was punished with winning a second term. So, of course, militants, who follow john McCain's campaign like Republicans do the signs of the Rapture, are closely planning their events because they know the exact opposite will be the result this time.
2. Let's go back to the videotape: "I'm the only one the special interests don't give any money to."
Not only have we proven this false, but perhaps many can't give money because they all work on his campaign. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, lobbyist. Top advisor, Charlie Black, lobbyist. The operative currently running his Senate office, Mark Buse, former lobbyist. And so it goes. Here is what one observer had to say. "It's an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, he's presenting himself as the crusader against special interests and yet, on the other hand, he's surrounded himself with senior advisers that are lobbyists," said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, non-profit research group focused on money in politics.
1. And finally, McCain's craziest, coolest, most unstoppable McCain Moment: The senator said, while in Jordan, that 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, admiringly gazing at McCain until that moment, stepped up and whispered something in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then blurted out: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
Phew. Glad trusty Joe Lieberman was there to explain to the man of "experience," a man who wants to lead the free world, that Sunnis (Al Qaeda) and Shia (Iran) not only don't work together but are in direct conflict. We have only been at war there for five years, so I wouldn't expect Sen. McCain to concern himself with such trivial matters.
Cliff Schecter is the author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't.