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May 30, 2008

The Condescension of John McCain
Posted by Michael Cohen

John McCain screwed up today - he was wrong about the situation in Mosul and the number of troops currently serving in Iraq. But besides another in a steady litany of misstatements about Iraq, what I found most striking about McCain's response is its amazingly condescending nature. Take a look the statement from McCain about Obama's and John Kerry's response:

Clearly John Kerry and Barack Obama have very little understanding of troop levels, but considering Barack Obama hasn't been to Iraq in 873 days and has never had a one on one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, it isn't a surprise to anyone that he demonstrates weak leadership.

What informed people understand, John McCain included, is that American troops are not even close to surge levels. Three of the five Army 'surge' brigades have been withdrawn and additional Marines that were initially deployed for the 'surge' have come home as well -- the remaining two brigades will be home in July.

Talk about a political stunt, it's sending out campaign surrogates to parse words about a topic Barack Obama has no experience with, and has shown zero interest in learning about.

"Very little understanding," "what informed people understand," Obama has no experience," "has show zero interest in learning about" McCain's statement is just dripping with condescension - and considering that McCain clearly misspoke it is rich indeed to treat his opponent in such a haughty manner.

These words follow on the heels of a statement a few days ago about Obama's criticism of McCain's position on the Webb GI Bill:

Perhaps if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue, he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully.

Now, it's not my place to give advice to John McCain but in any presidential campaign, ideas matter, but so of course does perception - and frankly McCain's spokesman (Tucker Bounds) comes across, with these words, as kind of a jerk. The attitude expressed here is just incredibly demeaning, dismissive and rude.

Now I understand that McCain is trying to demean Obama and his foreign policy experience but the way he's chosen to go about it is really not helpful.  Americans are generally not  supportive of presidential campaigns that are arrogant and condescending, especially when they are expounding a view (about the war in Iraq) not shared by two-thirds of them.


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