Republican John McCain pushed back on Wednesday against Democratic criticism that he misstated when the troop buildup ordered by President Bush began, saying elements were put in place before Bush announced the strategy in early 2007.
He told reporters during an unscheduled stop in a super market that, what the Bush administration calls “the surge” was actually “made up of a number of components,” some of which began before the president’s order for more troops.
It’s all a matter of semantics, he suggested.***
Democrats jumped on his comments. They said McCain’s remarks showed he was out of touch, because the rebellion of U.S.-backed Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq’s Anbar province was under way well before Bush announced in January 2007 his decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.
McCain asserted he knew that and didn’t commit a gaffe. “A surge is really a counterinsurgency made up of a number of components. … I’m not sure people understand that `surge’ is part of a counterinsurgency.”
Using these rules, why don’t we just retroactively define anything positive as the surge and credit the McMaverick. Got a raise at work? Thank the surge and John McCain. Hit the lottery- John McCain can tell you how it is related to the surge.
*** Update ***
Feh. Hilzoy was there first and did it better.
*** Update #2 ***
Best title for a blog post this year.
Obligatory “definition of is” post.
Hilzoy puts it succinctly:
You should embed the video she has up. You can almost see the smoke coming out of McCain’s ears as he tries to explain the MC Escher picture in his head. It’s fitting that McCain practices this sort of verbal gymnastics as we approach the Olympics.
By the same logic, it inescapably follows that anything bad is due to Barack Obama’s inability to understand the surge. Baseball game was rained out last night? Obama’s fault. Your souffle failed to rise? That’s because Barack Obama isn’t surgey enough.
It should also be noted that we should all pray to the deities of our choice that McCain picks Rudy! as running mate. Then we’ll all get to hear nonstop about how the surge could have prevented 9/11.
McCain is trying to say that “surge” is short for “counterinsurgency”? So he’s stating that the Republican administration, with his support, didn’t start counterinsurgency efforts until FOUR YEARS after the invasion? Is that REALLY the tack he wants to take?
McCain just needed to clarify. Perhaps he can remind us what the definition of “is” is, because… omgwftbbq, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! This is the biggest, steamiest pile of horseshit I’ve seen since Mitt Romney dropped out.
like I said last night, while people don’t want to bring up age this reminds me of when my grandmother started losing her memory she would do things like this swearing she was right when she wasn’t and making stuff up and getting mad about it when everyone said “Uh no”.
Wait a minute, I’ve got it! The perfect running mate for John McCain is …Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Their campaign motto will be
It’s a sure-fire win for the GOP!
After watching his interview at the cheese counter, I got really confused. Exactly who is the ‘surger’ and who is the ‘surgee?’
I wonder if McCain is following a sort of “Clever Hans” method of public speaking. By that I mean, when he fails to know for himself what the full story is as a matter of historical fact, he just makes up it according to the sense of the room.
To a certain degree all politicians (of all parties) do this. But where most just work the tone and nuance, it seems like McCain is finding himself needing to pull out near total fabrications to patch the holes in the narrative.
Something tells me that had a Democratic candidate — say, Barack Obama — suggest the U.S. start paying off Sunni insurgents to stop killing our boys and start working with us, John McCain would not be raving about the awesome SURGE which cured every problem ever in the Middle East.
Instead, McCain and the entire right wing would be denouncing anyone who backed paying off Sunni militias as treasonous cowardly troop haters.
and ‘lie’ is a part of Lieberman
and ‘old’ is a part of You’re Fucking Old
and ‘win’ is a part of You Aint Gunna Win
Of course, the media dares not question the geezer. He’s talking military stuff, and since he continuously flew military planes into the ground, he cannot be questioned about anything he says. Evah!
The Thinking Man's Mel Torme
OT: Michelle Obama visits my home town, and the leading lights roll out the red carpet. Come back here for ipecac and eye wash after you read the comments.
You can never satisfy some people, though:
Q. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
A. John McCain.
I read some of the comments and I know what their problem is, they’re ‘tarded.
Dennis - SGMM
McCain has discovered that once you throw out fact, history and chronology, things look much better for him. Thus, though the Iraqi government is saying that it wants us out by 2010, McCain alone knows what they really want. In the same way, he alone knows what the surge really was and when it really began.
The way the surge story is metamorphosing in McCain’s mind I look for him to shortly claim that he developed the strategy for it and for the Anbar Awakening. He’ll tell us all how he came up with it while shuttling between the Iraq-Pakistan border, Czechoslovakia and Willoughby.
The Thinking Man's Mel Torme
Ho ho, it’s even better (9:57 update)!
So, real PUMA or opposition ju-jitsu?
What’s this really mean, anyway? Can she open up any random Starbucks after hours? Does the city lock its gates at 10pm, and only Michelle can get in without the password?
The Moar You Know
The surge is in my pants.
Honey, draw the blinds and disconnect the phone, you’re about to get the surge!
Pretty soon we’ll be able to bid for used surges on E-Bay. “A Surge For Every Household” will become the MCcain campaign slogan. All the young people will want one – the latest version will come with free cell minutes and a poster for little Johnie to hand on his closet door. Songs will be sung and new mothers will name their first child Surge.
God save us from the stoopid, puhlease!
From CNN. The channel of champions. And gud spelars.
Is that confused old fart trying to tell me I’m stupid?
Really? Maybe it’s part of this one, but then the counterinsurgency began with, yes, the insurgency and the surge only came later; it was intended to provide street security in Baghdad, this after most of the city was depopulated – which is definitely a counterinsurgency tactic.
It’s true, Uncle Junior just pulls things out of this ass. It’s been kissed for so long he doesn’t know how to react when challenged.
McCain appears to be making mistakes at multiple levels now.
When GWB got into message troubles, he surrounded reporters with mouthpieces to blather the problems away. Think Karen Hughes. Hughes could talk any reporter into submission through sheer force of will and with volume, volume, volume.
McCain seems to stubbornly think that he can jawbone his way out of these situations himself. To say that he isn’t the best spokesman for himself right now would be an understatement. A good example of how not to run a campaign under these conditions.
Having it both ways? Bama was against the surge only if the surge means what everyone considers it mean. If the surge is what McCain argues it is, then Bama is for it, and McCain’s attack on him is mooted.
The other Cole has a good article on the surge.
For me “Surge” will always be a laundry detergent. We can make it a powder and put it in a red, white, and blue box.
From having balls to being well…a doormat.
for me it will always be one of the best soda’s coke ever made.
A surge is really a counterinsurgency made up of a number of components
And yet the word “surge” has never before been used in such a manner. Funny.
O/T: my local paper has an AP story out today with the headline “Obama’s eloquence might work against him” (!)
The subhead is even better:
“Scholars suggest McCain’s struggles seem more honest” (!!)
I can haz liberal media back, please??
KO on Countdown made note of the fact that McCain’s explanation of the validity of his surge claims was made in front of the supermarket’s cheese case.
The Thinking Man's Mel Torme
1. Ft. Myers is particularly hard-hit by the Starbucks reverse-surge, in that all three of the stores within its city limits are closing, so that normally attendant benefit is absent.
2. Given the city’s history of race relations, and that Mayor Jim is a cracker (albeit one of the “polite” ones), he probably expects her to wear it around her neck in typical negro fashion, e.g. Flavor Flav style on a thick gold chain. This will make her easier to spot if she persists in being uppity and is found west of the old ACL tracks after dark.
As with the matters of the laws of economics, the radical left seen here at the Balloon Juice is unable to see the forest from the trees and realize that McCain is right. The Surge has been a resounding success and has kept the Islamists on their backs of their heels. You have to wonder why lefists want us to lose in Iraq, and why they’re so willing to talk about it here. Obama’s acceptance of losing is why he will lose in November. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that the people who talk the most about change and solutions are the ones making the problems that need solutions.
Better: Actual CNN headline: “Black and single: Is marriage really for white people?”
And now John McCain is Jonah Goldberg: Never before has the word “surge” been used in such a very serious, thoughtful, argument, one which has never been made in such detail or with such care.
That’s just stupid. You’re stupid. Never mind the rest of your ‘this is what I think but I give no reasons why’ post.
Even better. McCain is suggesting that his military experience gives him a special understanding of military strategy and tactics that a young, inexeperienced, untested, non-military guy like Obama could never grasp.
Consequently, as he said earlier, he is right about everything and Obama is wrong about everything.
That you and I are also stupid and should just shut up and let McCain tell us what should be done is certainly implied, but here we are only collateral damage.
Usually, it is the political kiss of death when a politician declares that voters are too stupid for the room, but McCain seems — so far — to be immune to this.
Here’s your sign….
Whose idea was this? Did they just suddenly need some cheese? My God it was terrible. McCain looked exactly like an old man whose granddaughter had taken him out of the nursing home for a little while just to see some of the rest of the great outdoors.
It is true. Age never needs to be mentioned. That bitter and humiliating truth washes over you like a river every time you see the guy.
Better trolls, please.
Tell that to his slowly sinking approval rating. Seriously, if he doesn’t pull his foot out of his mouth and his head out of his ass soon, he’ll be skipping straight past Dukakis and going deep into Mondale territory.
Wow, that is downright Trollalicious! AMIRITE HOMIES?
But anyway, CNN has the video feed of the Obama speech venue up on their website, and if the long shots are any indication, there is a sea of people gathering there to hear him speak in less than an hour.
It’s time for the campaign to add the McCain Shovel(tm) to the store. Perfect for when you’re digging a hole under yourself.
As I grow older, I’ve come to realize that the people who have fucked things up so royally are the ones we call REPUBLICANS.
And the McCain ’08 tombstone.
Deja vu all over again. Seems like only yesterday he was just making shit up.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
OMFG. Look at that crowd in Berlin.
It looks like a mass of humanity from the memorial all the way to Brandenburg and through the gate.
Davis X. Machina
The Jewish activist group Shalom International plans to protest Obama’s visit because they question Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security.
Let me guess — Shalom International wants Obama to a.)keep US forces in Iraq till the heat-death of the sun, b.) commit to some kind of belligerence against Iran, and c.) make the Palestinians ‘go away’.
Which is why they’re called ‘Shalom International.
It’s like naming your new cologne ‘Fetid’.
Nice try, sparky. It’s tough to get mileage out of the whole “radical left” now that it means someone who’s opposed to reckless military adventures, gay bashing, and religion in science education.
The biggest irony of all this is the fact that the “Surge” was a response to the fact that voters were so tired of “stay the course” that they rejected the Republicans in 2006. If it were not for the threat of an even bigger Dem majority in congress, and a Dem in the White House, the Republican strategy for winning the war in Iraq would still consist exclusively of talking points.
So the “Surge” worked. Dandy – we’re now closer to where we started in 2003, minus a few thousand soldiers and a couple of trillion taxpayer dollars.
See you in November.
Yes, because who could better understand the intricacies of counterinsurgency (you know hearts and minds stuff, focused on the local people): a guy who’s entire military career consisted of dropping high explosives out of the air onto people too far away to really see (much less talk to), or a community organizer.
I’m sure those community organizer dudes know nuthin’ about talking to people and changing their minds about stuff & all. I can’t think of anybody worse to be supervising a military which is occupied with COIN operations, peacekeeping operations, you know, all that stuff which is best done using JDAMs.
Better: Actual CNN headline: “Black and single: Is marriage really for white people?”
Correction CNN: Do marriage be white shit?
The solution to your problem (as you get older) is to stop breathing.
McCain’s military experience includes sitting in a plane that was shot on the deck as well as one that was shot doen from the sky! Plus he knows his surges and cheeses.
Someday that supermarket will have a plaque that reads:
John McCain stopped here for whine, cheese and counter- insurgages.
Oh you poor, uneducated moonbats. The Surge(tm) is a quantum paradox; it improves conditions both after its creation and before. Easy as that! I expect The Surge(tm) to cause my home faucets to flow with Dogfishhead 60 min. IPA any minute now. Gotta go- Ana Beatriz Barros is ringing my doorbell.
Not intentionally, that’s a bit of a slip of the tongue. He just assumes you are just as stupid as he is, aka the Dunning-Kruger effect. He’s so stupid he is mentally incapable of understanding that people could be smarter than him.
Yep, after he loses the election McCain will be blamed for the entire meltdown of the Republican party. Bush’s bitch to the end.
Just like Hitler.
The Massa race?
I’ve had enough of this surge
But that’s just it. I don’t understand why McCain’s support is not dropping like a rock. Well, yeah, I partially understand it because a compliant media still seem to be in love with him. But still….
And the latest news stories suggest, implausibly, amazingly, that McCain’s support is starting to solidify among some groups (Poll: McCain closes in on Obama in some states):
It will be interesting to see whether the next polls show McCain slipping or hanging tough.
The race or the horse he was born from?
Corrected for accuracy.
So how’s that political compromise that was the goal of the *surge* going?
You did remember that goals were set, right?
Oh please do continue to tell me more about me. I find me facinating.
I had to go here to find out what Yglesias’s title “Beetle in a box” meant.
Okay, now I get it. It’s good. Yglesias, that is.
True. But they rarely if ever got caught in the act.
For generations their words did not get captured by cellphone video and shared immediately with the world. In the good old days, a politician could always claim he was misquoted, or depend on the likelihood that what he said would be limited to the local media market, or in any case not reach enough skeptical ears to be challenged.
McCain has been working those rooms for a long time and is campaigning the only way he knows how.
slippy hussein toad
Your party’s ideas are a failure. The Iraq occupation is a failure. The Surge is a failure. Bush’s economic plan — a failure. No Child Left Behind is a failure. Social Security reform failed. The Permanent Republican Majority is a failure.
The people who orchestrated this shipment of fail are Republicans, who proceeded from the assumption that government was bad unless wealthy people controlled it. The Iraq war, 4,000+ lives and hundreds of billions of dollars later, is a failure.
If you think people are just imagining these problems, strap a fucking helmet on, get over there, and PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, BITCH.
OK, with that I discounted this guy 100%. Radical left? Here?
What a fucking idiot.
Or a typical gooper.
What McSame knows is just how fucking dumb his base is, and how tolerant they are of cognitive dissonance. And how much they love simplification, even if by simplifying it no longer makes sense or makes a sham of the original thing in the first place.
Obviously, “counterinsurgency” contains too many syllables. And “counterinsurgency strategy” is just too too complicated a thing. True Murkins like food they can eat with their hands, and don’t like to think too much.
Therefore, “surge” is now a nice, handy, easy-to-mouth synecdoche for the whole counterinsurgency strategy, and is now conveniently understood by McCain’s bobble heads (convenient for both him and them) to mean “kicking their ass”, and even if the real surge logically can’t take credit for any successes prior to itself, McSame now can.
If logic or common sense had any part to play, McSame wouldn’t have a base to bullshit to.
I think he’s really more of a Sgt. Schultz, who sees nothing and knows nothing, except that McCain undoubtedly sees something, but honestly knows nothing.
Just Some Fuckhead
The North Vietnamese broke John McCain’s internal clock, my friends.