As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Revenge Of The Neocons

Following up on this bizarre story about John McCain seemingly not knowing the name of the Spanish Prime Minister, the damage control artist Randy Scheunemann has stepped away from his lobbying gigs long enough to offer an explanation, and it's worse than the initial assumption that McCain was just confused:

Zapatero is a center-left politician, but McCain has suggested that as president he would seek to repair relations that have been badly frayed in Europe during Bush's tenure. In an early-April interview with a reporter from Spanish newspaper El Pais, McCain said, "This is the moment to leave behind discrepancies with Spain."

He added: "I would like for [President Zapatero] to visit the United States. I am very interested not only in normalizing relations with Spain but in obtaining good and productive relations with the goal of addressing many issues and challenges that we have to confront together." [...]

McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann (sic) said McCain's answer was intentional.

"The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he said in an e-mail [...]

Asked to explain McCain's apparent shift in tone and position since April, Scheunemann gave almost no ground.

"In this week's interview, Senator McCain did not rule in or rule out a White House meeting with President Zapatero, a NATO ally," he said in an e-mail. "If elected, he will meet with a wide range of allies in a wide variety of venues but is not going to spell out scheduling and meeting location specifics in advance. He also is not going to make reckless promises to meet America's adversaries. It's called keeping your options open, unlike Senator Obama, who has publicly committed to meeting some of the world's worst dictators unconditionally in his first year in office."

(That's Prime Minister Zapatero, genius)

The female interviewer basically backs this up, believing that McCain "ducked the question" because the Bush Administration doesn't have good relations with Zapatero.

Wow. I knew the neocons were belligerent, but this explanation makes them sound suicidal. Spain is a NATO ally. We would be obligated to go to war on their behalf if they were attacked. McCain wants to refuse to meet with their leaders?

This is part of a pattern of the McCain campaign trying to cover up a bad moment with an even worse explanation. But it's also worth noting that the neocons are far more invested in McCain than they ever were in Bush, if that's possible. He's a very willing parrot for all of their petty grudges and magical thinking. And they're scheming to indoctrinate the other half of the ticket.

Comments by the governor of Alaska in her first television interview, in which she said Nato may have to go to war with Russia and took a tough line on Iran's nuclear programme, were the result of two weeks of briefings by neoconservatives.

Sources in the McCain camp, the Republican Party and Washington think tanks say Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause in June 2007. That was when the annual summer cruise organised by the right-of-centre Weekly Standard magazine docked in Juneau, the Alaskan state capital, and the pundits on board took tea with Governor Palin.

Her case as John McCain's running mate was later advanced vociferously by William Kristol, the magazine's editor, who is widely seen as one of the founding fathers of American neoconservative thought - including the robust approach to foreign policy which spurred American intervention in Iraq.

In 1988, Mr Kristol became a leading adviser of another inexperienced Republican vice presidential pick, Dan Quayle, tutoring him in foreign affairs. Last week he praised Mrs Palin as "a spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism" that "is haunting the liberal elites".

Now many believe that the "neocons", whose standard bearer in government, Vice President Dick Cheney, lost out in Washington power struggles to the more moderate defence secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, last year are seeking to mould Mrs Palin to renew their influence.

They go after everyone. Some of them work out, some of them don't. In the end, they stay in charge. This "twilight of the neocons" idea was vastly overrated.

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