Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

McCain’s Gotcha Politics

September 30, 2008

Listening to John and Sarah try to explain how she didn’t contradict McCain on Pakistan is, well, just painful to those of us who are used to honesty and sense.

For the record of Palin’s response in context, read this record of the discussion, which is essentially the same as her response to a Charles Gibson question.

“So we do cross-border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?” Rovito asked.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin said.

The fact is that McCain attacked Obama for a deliberate misreading of his statement last year:

Obama said there was “misreporting” of his comments, that “I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan.” He said rather than a surge in the number of troops in Iraq, there needs to be a “diplomatic surge” and that U.S. troops should be withdrawn within a year.

Further, the U.S. senator from Illinois said, if there were “actionable intelligence reports” showing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. troops as a last resort should enter and try to capture terrorists. That would happen, he added, only if “the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling” to go after the terrorists.

If anything, Obama’s answer was far more mature than Palin’s unqualified plan to cross the Pakistani border because he put a very specific qualification to it: the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling” to pursue the terrorists.

Yet, not so long ago, conservatives criticized Clinton for not attacking bin Laden in foreign countries, even if it meant taking out innocents or non-al Qaeda political leaders with him. [See the Fox interview starting at the 4:00 mark.]

The fact is that Palin says nothing substantively different than what Obama said. Instead, McCain and Palin try to divert us from that inescapable fact with some wildass claim about “gotcha” journalism, which is generally understood as taking advantage of a simple or ambiguous question to highlight some apparent contradiction. That wasn’t what happened with Palin: she was asked a rather clear question and answered it with some specificity.

But I have a question for McCain who criticized Obama for his statement to protect America: what exactly did he mean when he said the following:

If he truly meant what he said, then, without a doubt, countries like Pakistan understand what he’s saying. To that end, he doesn’t differ from what Obama said.

The only “gotcha” here is McCain’s pathetic “gotcha politics” for trying to make Obama sound naive when, in fact, he’s not saying anything different than what an “experienced” senator like McCain himself has said: he will do what is necessary.