Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain on Spain

In case you didn't hear this one... It is in many ways worse than referring to the non-existent "Czechoslovakia" or the "Iran-Pakistan border". It's not realizing that Spain is not in "our hemisphere" and is our ally in NATO.

This has lead to three major actions in the interwebs news media:
  1. The creation of witty headlines
  2. Statements in support of McCain
  3. Statements against McCain.
The first point presents quotes that usually riff on the song from My Fair Lady, "The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plains", however, one makes reference to that Monty Python sketch...

TIME Magazine: "The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on McCain."
AOL News: "The Rain in Spain..."
The American Prospect: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Okay, so these are funny news headlines. But what about the content and context of the story. What exactly was the gaffe? According to The American Prospect, apparently, there was an "exchange between John McCain and a pool of Spanish-language reporters that has the Spanish press a bit confused, as McCain seemed to suggest that might not be willing to meet with Spanish Prime Minster José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, as though he might be a potential enemy."
Late Wednesday night, news made its way from the other side of the Atlantic that John McCain, in an interview with a Spanish outlet, had made a series of bizarre responses to a question regarding that country's prime minister. "Would you be willing to meet the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?" the questioner asked, in an exchange now being reported by several Spanish outlets. McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America--not Spain--pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America. (via AOL News)
The American Prospect article cites two stances held by the Spanish media: that McCain just plain didn't know how Zapatero - the PM of the country from whom all the reporters asking him questions were from - which is the majority opinion and the minority feel that McCain has an anti-Spain agenda. Imho, if it is the former, then McCain has to bone up more on his foreign policy experience creds, since Spain is one of our allies in NATO, and after stating that he has a good working knowledge of Latin American leaders, mixing up Spain for a country in Latin America is a pretty big foot-in-mouth gaffe.
However, if it is the latter, then does it mean that we are in for some more of the same anti-European policies made so infamous by this current president?

There is one idea that I didn't see in the stories: the McCain was fatigued and wasn't really thinking straight. Of course, that idea opens up a can of worms that may be a difficult one to close: is he physically fit to be president of the United States - a position that is likely to be much more rigorous than the current campaigning he is doing - for a full four-year term (let alone two of them)? We have had three presidents die of "natural causes" in our history: William Henry Harrison (one month in office, died at 68), Zachary Taylor (sixteen months in office, died at 65), and Franklin Delanore Roosevelt (twelve years and one month, died at 63). True, medical science has improved since the 18th, 19th, and mid-20th centuries, but McCain will be 72 years old if he takes the office of the presidency in January. Statistically speaking (not taking into account his health history or the stresses of the office of the president), he apprently has a 14% chance of dying in office. If you look only at survival statistics for people who have had the types of melanoma McCain has had, then the chance dying is 40% (see from 1:43) and a 66% chance of re-occurring (see from 2:34 in previously linked video), which will put him out-of-commission for the period of treatment...

Okay... that's a bit of a tangent from Spain and McCain. However, my thinking is that if McCain is getting physcially ragged, thus causing to forget the leader of one of the EU's largest countries and one of the US's NATO allies, then I think that McCain's Spain gaffe and his health are related issues. However, you are free to disagree with me on that one. (Sometimes the connections aren't there.)

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