Late last night (technically early this morning) I wrote that McCain doesn’t even know who runs Iran. The point I was trying to make was that he (and Bush, for that matter) are trying to scare Americans into a Cold War-type fear of Iran using their eccentric (and crazy) President, Mahmoud Ahmanidejad. Of course, Ahmanidejad doesn’t actually run the country; he doesn’t even have control over the country’s nuclear or foreign policy. Iran’s Supreme Leader, currently Ayatolla Ali Khamenei, is named by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the highest ranking official, and dictates the country’s policies in these two areas. To be honest, I didn’t actually think McCain was unaware that President Ahmanidejad held a mostly ceremonial post, but was using a high-visibility official most Americans thoroughly despise as a way to garner support for his viewpoint. Pretty bad, that one would lie about such things in order to slant public opinion. And since he made the claim, I thought the tongue in cheek comment of “how can we expect McCain to appropriately deal with the leadership of Iran when he doesn’t even know whom the leadership is?” was legitimate.
Well, it turns out that I was wrong. Not that it was a low blow, but that McCain apparently doesn’t know who Iran’s real leader is. In fact, when confronted with this information, he not only admitted he was unaware that Ahmanidejad was not the de facto leader of the country, but even denied that Ayatolla Khamenei held that post.
Now, lest you think John McCain might be better informed on such matters than I, you don’t have to take my word for it. The CIA lists the “Chief of State” as Khamenei. According to, you know, our own government, evidently he is appointed to a life term by the “Assembly of Experts,” has control over the appointment of “more sensitive ministries” in the Cabinet, and appoints many of the members of the Executive Branches’ three oversight committee. Oh, and he also determines the country’s foreign and military policy (did I mention that?)
Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations (so what would he know, anyway?), broached the subject to McCain because it turns out, in contrast to the Senator’s statements, Barack Obama didn’t actually ever say he was going to engage in formal discussions with Ahmanidejad. McCain objected to this correction, at which time Klein promptly informed him that he had said meeting with the leaders of the country may be appropriate, but not necessarily Ahmanidejad himself. McCain laughed, and alerted us to the (incorrect) fact that Ahmanidejad is the leader. And when Klein said that he “might be mistaken,” McCain’s response was “he’s the person that comes to the United Nations and declares his country’s policy . . .”
Of course, the President of the United States very seldomly goes to the United Nations to declare our policies. Currently, the person who does that job is Zalmay Mamozy Khalizad. So by McCain’s logic, Mr. Khalizad, and not George W. Bush, is the leader of the United States. (Boy, if the people who don’t like Obama because they think he’s Muslim ever find out about that . . .)
But the fact that he speaks in front of the U.N. was not the only evidence McCain brought out to support his position. He reinforce the accuracy of his claim by stating “I think if you asked any average American who the leader of Iran is, I think they’d know.” So evidently countries half way around the world determine who their leader is based upon public opinion in the United States. Now, six out of ten 18-24 year olds in the United States can’t even find Iraq on the map, so these countries may want to think twice before picking their leaders based upon what Joe Sixpack in Biloxi thinks.
Of course, 68% of Americans think that the war in Iraq was a bad idea, and the same margin thinks we should either withdraw all or some of our troops in Iraq, so I’m guessing a McCain speech detailing a shift in policy regarding the war will be forthcoming very shortly.
Senators are weighing in on the feud between Obama and McCain. Take these two partisan comments, one by a Republican Senator and one by a former Democrat Senator, and try to guess which one made which.
First: “I’m very upset with John with some of the things he’s been saying. And I can’t get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he’s been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things.”
Second: “There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as President, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.”
I’ll give you a hint – you’re wrong. The first statement was made by the Senator of Nebraska Chuck Hagel, a Republican. The second was made by the Senator from Connecticut and former Democrat Vice President candidate Joe Lieberman. Lieberman, in case you forgot, was the one who clued McCain in that Iran wasn’t providing weapons to al Qaeda because, to put it bluntly, Iran hates them. (Also, his claim that Obama has “a blanket policy of meeting personally as President” is incorrect. He stated that the Obama White House would meet with leaders, not necessarily Obama personally. I’m quite certain that’s not even logistically possible.) The good news for Democrats is Lieberman might end up being on the McCain ticket.
Finally, an interesting story came across the wire today that two superdelegates were bribed into endorsing Clinton with a one million dollar contribution to their organization, Young Democrats. They declined the, um, “offer.” Man, she can’t even buy votes these days.