When I first saw the tape of McCain's comment on Iran--which he corrected a moment later after Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear--I thought it was a blunder, but not necessarily a consequential one. After all, McCain has made eight visits to Iraq and been involved in foreign policy for 20 years. He's no greenhorn when it comes to this stuff. Brit Hume dismissed it as a "senior moment."
But then I learned that the Arizona senator had made that Iran/Qaeda assertion two or three times before. That's serious business. It means either that McCain really believes the link exists and wants to spread it around--until he got called on it--or he is so forgetful that he keeps saying so even though he knows it is untrue.
And Kevin Drum did sum this up best:
Let's recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. "Man of conviction" cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. Anti-torture cred allows him to get away with supporting torture as long as only the CIA does it.
But the guy can sure grill for the press corps.
Kiss the Cook.