Once again, John "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" McCain went and said something stupid at a campaign stop. And, once again, he got caught on video doing it. This time, he went just slightly overboard in his criticism of the now-infamous MoveOn.org "General Betray-us" ad. Holding a blown-up, laminated copy of the ad, McCain said:
"It's disgraceful, it's got to be retracted and condemned by the Democrats and MoveOn.org ought to be thrown out of this country, my friends."
(And if you don't believe Time Magazine, CBS has the video footage.)
Unlike the "Bomb Iran" incident, this wasn't an off-the-cuff response to a question. The Senator was holding a prop and delivering a message. It's probably not a message that what's left of his campaign staff wanted him to deliver, and it probably has most of them surreptitiously updating their resumes this morning, but it was clearly the message that he meant to convey. That makes the non-denial denial his campaign issued somewhat less than convincing:
"Senator McCain, like most Americans, is appalled by the MoveOn.org ad. Last night he expressed his outrage in words that did not convey his intended meaning. What he meant to say was that MoveOn's smear of General Petraeus' character should have no place in the American political debate."
There's a big difference between saying that a particular statement has no place in the American political debate and saying that those who made the statement have no place in America. McCain's comment runs counter to the fundamental principles that our nation is supposed to cherish. My outrage, though, is tempered a bit by pity. McCain jumped the shark so long ago that he can't see it from where he is now. The man really needs to get out of the campaign - if not politics altogether - while he still has a few remaining shreds of dignity.