PSA for Team McCain: Czechoslovakia no longer exists

posted at 6:33 pm on July 15, 2008 by Allahpundit

Normally I’d leave this sort of thing to the nutroots but this makes twice in two days and four times since last October and, well, people are starting to talk. Or, in Jake Tapper’s case, nearly squeal with schadenfreudean glee:

In early 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush told Roger Simon, then with U.S. News & World Report, that he was befuddled by how soft the media was on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“I don’t think there is any plot; I hope there isn’t,” Bush said. “But it’s an amazing phenomenon, I’ll tell you that. It’s like the flap over the foreign-leader deal. A guy gets up and quizzes me — it’s my fault for trying to answer — but John McCain says something about the ‘ambassador to Czechoslovakia.’ Well, I know there is no Czechoslovakia (there’s a Czech Republic and a Slovakia), but yet it didn’t make the nightly national news. I’m not going to gripe about it, but the media question is starting to pop up.”…

The issue is bubbling up quite a bit on liberal blogs with the argument that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, (as with Bush before him) could never get away with such an error. The idea being that McCain claims great foreign policy experience and knowledge, so why does he keep urging action on a missile shield for a country that hasn’t existed since George H.W. Bush was president?

Herein we offer a helpful list of other countries that no longer exist…

McCain gets away with it for the same reason Hillary got away with bungling Medvedev’s name at the debate with Obama. They’ve been around for years, so absent compelling evidence to the contrary, everyone assumes they know what they’re talking about. Bush and Obama were neophytes so they didn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Leave it to the nutroots, in an election where the fresh/young/new/change message helps them in all sorts of ways, to whine about one of the most trivial in which it doesn’t.

None of which is to suggest that they really care about a double standard here. They’re pushing this because it’s a none-too-subtle dig at McCain’s age, either weak form (he’s stuck in the past) or strong form (he’s senile) depending on how bad you think their bad faith is. Tapper even winks at that by naming Pangaea as one of the countries that no longer exists. Note to Michael Goldfarb or Patrick Hynes or Liz Mair or whoever: Take our boy aside and run through the atlas with him before this ends up as a running joke on The Daily Show. Please?


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The issue is bubbling up quite a bit on liberal blogs with the argument that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, (as with Bush before him) could never get away with such an error.

In what alternate reality? Obama claimed 10,000 peopled died in a tornado, said he’s visited 57 states, said he’d meet with the “president of Canada”, and claimed he was born as a result of a civil rights event that occurred years after he was born. That’s not even factoring in the fact that unless conservative blogs had made such a stink, the media didn’t intend to check his “My uncle liberated Auschwitz” bull.

amerpundit on July 15, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Isn’t Check0…Shezko…Czechoslovakia, umm, ah, that umm, country with 57 states?

kirkill on July 15, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Obama didn’t know how many states there were…so I guess the nutroots criticized him for that, or for wanting to meet with the president of Canada?

right2bright on July 15, 2008 at 6:39 PM

So did Russia cut off oil to the Check Republic or Slovakia. If both, I say big deal. It’s like short hand for the two countries combined.

tommylotto on July 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Uh-oh. Next thing we know he’s going to start referring to East Pakistan and Rhodesia.

MB007 on July 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Obama thinks the Iraq war has created a shortage of Arabic-speaking interpreters in Slovakia.

Cicero43 on July 15, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Do you mean Barack HUSSEIN Obama (PBUH)(SAW)(SWT)?????

Dale in Atlanta on July 15, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Maybe McCain is planning ahead!! ;>)

kanda on July 15, 2008 at 6:51 PM

This is important news and no coverage of the little (Canadian) teenager scamp in Guantanamo who was on video today crying during his (Canadian) interrogation?
“Lil’ Al Queda” did nothing more than throw a grenade killing a troop, but the usual suspects on Capital Hill and the left-wing blogs are crying hot wet tears for him. Saw it on Brit’s show.

Marcus on July 15, 2008 at 6:54 PM

Obama’s camp is just punching blindly now, to see what sticks…

trailortrash on July 15, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Brain fart, dementia, lack of vitamin D, or plain ol 50 years of Czechoslovakia stamped into your brain?

Limerick on July 15, 2008 at 7:03 PM

Pangaea a country?! It’s our 57th State!!!

Maquis on July 15, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Curse you,

amerpundit on July 15, 2008 at 6:37 PM

, that’s what I was gonna say!

IMO, he can call it a banana if he wants to.

MrScribbler on July 15, 2008 at 7:09 PM

“C’mon, It’s Czechoslovakia… it’s like going into Wisconsin.”

ScottMcC on July 15, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Mybe he should get a straw hat and sing:
Istanbul (not Constantinople)

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on July 15, 2008 at 7:17 PM

So when does he start talking about American-Prussian relations?

doubleplusundead on July 15, 2008 at 7:19 PM

I referred to the Czech Republic as Czechoslovakia just the other day — and I’m several decades younger than McCain.

And didn’t Obama refer to Iraq as Mesopotamia a few days ago? IIRC, Iraq has not been called Mesopotamia for a lot longer than the Czech Republic has not been called Czechoslovakia.

AZCoyote on July 15, 2008 at 7:21 PM

… 50 years of Czechoslovakia stamped into your brain? – Limey

Correct. I still call it that sometimes, force of habit. And sometimes I catch myself saying Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, East Germany, no biggie, but at least McCain knows how many states there are.

Tony737 on July 15, 2008 at 7:30 PM

McCain will make a campaign stop in the state of Puerto Rico before heading east to attend a business conference in Bombay and the opening ceremonies in Peking for this year’s Olympics!

ScottMcC on July 15, 2008 at 7:36 PM

So, are we America? or the USA?

Is England England? or still just part of the commonwealth?

East Germany was not really East Germany either, but thats what we all called it…

They are looking for gaffs… even when the “gaff” is just common usage.

Romeo13 on July 15, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Czechoslovakia no longer exists

Ouch!

baldilocks on July 15, 2008 at 7:43 PM

And, in fairness to Hillary, I haven’t heard a non-Russian speaker who didn’t stumble over Medvedev’s name.

baldilocks on July 15, 2008 at 7:47 PM

I hear Obama said that after Iraq, he’s going to visit Atlantis.

flipflop on July 15, 2008 at 7:48 PM

Just because the Slovaks wanted to have a country nobody can remember the name of isn’t McCain’s problem, but theirs.

Tahni do prdele, as the Czechs say.

profitsbeard on July 15, 2008 at 8:19 PM

I’m not a fan of McCain but I can’t fault him when there was so much interchangeability between “Burma” and “Myranmar” in the recent press stories about the humanitarian crisis. Until the majority of Americans can correctly point to either the Czech Republic or Slovakia on the map do we really have room to criticize?

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 8:22 PM

Now if only he could tell the difference between Texas and Mexico!

ronsfi on July 15, 2008 at 8:27 PM

What? No Czechoslovakia doesn’t exist anymore??? I gotta dump that globe circa 1962. Next thing I know, people will be telling me that there’s a country called Isreal and Burma is no longer Burma. Sheesh.

robblefarian on July 15, 2008 at 8:27 PM

Part of the problem is that the Czech part of Czechslovakia doesn’t have a handy name like Slovakia, or Slovenia, or Poland. The Czechs are promoting Czechia or something like that, but it sound craptacular in my opinion. I personally call it Czechland, since it’s the land of the Czechs. Like Poland is the land of the Poles or England is the land of the Engls.

TABoLK on July 15, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Soon both will be part of the Caliphate.

infidel on July 15, 2008 at 8:33 PM

Uh-oh. Next thing we know he’s going to start referring to East Pakistan and Rhodesia.

MB007 on July 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Not to mention Tanganyika (sp?), Dahomey (!), Western Sahara, the Central African Empire – ah, the good old days…

RD on July 15, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Part of the problem is that the Czech part of Czechslovakia doesn’t have a handy name like Slovakia, or Slovenia, or Poland. The Czechs are promoting Czechia or something like that, but it sound craptacular in my opinion. I personally call it Czechland, since it’s the land of the Czechs. Like Poland is the land of the Poles or England is the land of the Engls.

TABoLK on July 15, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Definitely better in German IMHO – entweder “Tschechien” oder “die Tschechei”. (Oder?)

RD on July 15, 2008 at 8:39 PM

I personally call it Czechland, since it’s the land of the Czechs…

TABoLK on July 15, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Well, there’s always “Czechistan”… ;-)

RD on July 15, 2008 at 8:42 PM

or plain ol 50 years of Czechoslovakia stamped into your brain?

Limerick on July 15, 2008 at 7:03 PM

I would say that, I have been to Slovakia and the Czech Republic about 6 times each and I still screw it up.

Just like when I almost called a bunch of Montenegran officers visiting my ship Serbs.

Squid Shark on July 15, 2008 at 8:43 PM

TABoLK on July 15, 2008 at 8:32 PM

How about “The Greater Reich”, a few Germans would probably agree with that one.

Squid Shark on July 15, 2008 at 8:44 PM

Just like when I almost called a bunch of Montenegran officers visiting my ship Serbs.

Squid Shark on July 15, 2008 at 8:43 PM

That would have made ya popular! ;-)

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 8:46 PM

McCain was probably corrected for not knowing Czechoslovakia no longer existed each time he committed the gaffe yet he made it 3 more times.

So what’s his problem? Does he not take correction well? Or does he simply not give a shi*? He did the same mistake over and over with Iran and Iraq.

It’s inexcusable. He most certainly deserves criticism for this kind of embarrassing bumbling on the world stage. You all happily danced on Hussein Osama’s face when he messed up the number of states, so let’s have some equal treatment here for a situation that is at LEAST as retarded.

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM

I wish we had a candidate like the president of the Czech Republic

Ropera on July 15, 2008 at 8:52 PM

It’s fine, guys. Really. He only said it four times. It’s all the evil MSM. He really is okay. It’s no big deal. He’s fine. Anyone could mistake that, several times.

57 states!!!

commissar on July 15, 2008 at 8:57 PM

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM

You are clearly an Obama troll. (tip off the irrational flag pin thread and defense of miscounting states by SEVEN). Could Obama even point out Slovakia on the map? I seriously doubt Obama could point out Montana or Nebraska much less foreign nations.

How dare you make me support McCain by your utter ignorance. Troll be gone!!!!!

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 8:58 PM

To be fair Czechoslovakia did in fact exist when McCain was alive.

LevStrauss on July 15, 2008 at 9:28 PM

Highhopes –

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think it’s entirely unacceptable that Obama flubbed how many states there are. He should have known what he was talking about. I NEVER defended him for this gaffe. He looked like an idiot and deserved every joke and all criticism that he got for it.

I am merely pointing out how retarded it is that yahoos around here refuse to apply the same scrutiny to McCain as Obama. It’s inexcusable for McCain with so much supposed foreign affairs experience to not know the names of European countries. That most of America is completely ignorant of the world map is entirely irrelevant. McCain HAS to know better and cannot make fumbles like this. It’s pathetic that you don’t hold him to a higher standard of knowledge.

At least I’m not some double standard fool like you who picks and chooses when a political figure is to be chastised for not having his sh*t together. You think McCain can do no wrong? How sad.

And finally, if my “trolling” is what makes you support McCain then clearly you’re not worthy of having a vote in the first place.

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 9:56 PM

I wish we had a candidate like the president of the Czech Republic

Ropera on July 15, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Hmmm…*SECOND LOOK AT VACLAV KLAUS*

MB007 on July 15, 2008 at 10:56 PM

To be fair Czechoslovakia did in fact exist when McCain was alive.

LevStrauss on July 15, 2008 at 9:28 PM

Did Czechoslovokia in fact exist in your lifetime?

Pretty weak.

hillbillyjim on July 15, 2008 at 11:06 PM

o = a

hillbillyjim on July 15, 2008 at 11:10 PM

Troll be gone!!!!!

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 8:58 PM

is that some new product by Billy Mays??? Can I get it in the “As seen on TV!” section of my local drug store?? ;)

mrfixit on July 15, 2008 at 11:12 PM

clearly you’re not worthy of having a vote in the first place.

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 9:56 PM

Elitist as ever. Now we have unworthy votes to count. Damn this one man/one vote system anyway.

Limerick on July 15, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM

You are clearly an Obama troll. (tip off the irrational flag pin thread and defense of miscounting states by SEVEN). Could Obama even point out Slovakia on the map? I seriously doubt Obama could point out Montana or Nebraska much less foreign nations.

How dare you make me support McCain by your utter ignorance. Troll be gone!!!!!

highhopes on July 15, 2008 at 8:58 PM

In Drywall’s defense, all he did in the Afghanistan thread was type 3 words, and the rest of the commenters allowed themselves to be hijacked.

Of course that was his intent all along, but that is his Standard Operating Trolling Procedure.

Those 3 words easily could (and should) have been ignored.

At least he doesn’t throw bombs and run away like some of the other trolls of late.

hillbillyjim on July 15, 2008 at 11:22 PM

Elitist as ever. Now we have unworthy votes to count. Damn this one man/one vote system anyway.

Limerick on July 15, 2008 at 11:21 PM

.
Silly me, thought there was a change a couple years ago and the ladies could vote too. Wouldn’t that make it a -one person/one vote- system?

News2Use on July 15, 2008 at 11:56 PM

Silly me, thought there was a change a couple years ago and the ladies could vote too. Wouldn’t that make it a -one person/one vote- system?

News2Use on July 15, 2008 at 11:56 PM

Silly you. Yes. You’re being silly and petty.
Maybe a new screen name? Silly Petty, perhaps?

hillbillyjim on July 16, 2008 at 12:08 AM

Tahni do prdele, as the Czechs say.

profitsbeard on July 15, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Bad, really bad :)

Entelechy on July 16, 2008 at 2:19 AM

Sillyness, I do it all the time, everyone here says it all the time and there are many czechs here, people often reffered to the soviet union as Russia, that may have made the Ukranians or anyone else in the union unhappy, now there is no soviet union but people call Russia Russia.. this doesn’t mean you don’t know communism fell. Congo is also the Republic of Congo, so what imho..

I say the US, USA, sometimes America even though America is a term of endearment since there is a North America, a South America and despite my love for the US these places are not all named in reference to the USA, but the continent. Do people now have to walk around all day saying the United States of America each time they are speaking of the US, this is nitpicking. I could understand a czech wanting to correct someone whom he thought may be unaware of the political details, but beyond that silly imho another low brow attempt to imply McCain has dementia which is also very silly.

saus on July 16, 2008 at 2:53 AM

As I’ve said before. It’s like both parties were trying to nominate the worst possible candidate. It’s freaking amazing that these are the best people we could round up for the job of President.

Snake307 on July 16, 2008 at 3:06 AM

I’m pretty sure McCain knows there are only 50 states (as opposed to 57).

packsoldier on July 16, 2008 at 7:58 AM

Awwww saus! How charming that you don’t let your typical American ignorance of world affairs get in the way of making yourself look like a fool. It’s clear you don’t have a clue about Czechoslovakia.

Let me give you a hint: in the eary 90′s, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into TWO SEPARATE countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Ever heard of Slovakia? No? Didn’t think so. So, you see, calling the Czech Republic “Chzechoslovakia” is stupid because it’s no longer a country in any shape or form.

I’ll leave you to straighten yourself out on Russia but your brain is probably overloading right now with these complicated facts about the Czech Republic.

Dave Rywall on July 16, 2008 at 8:24 AM

amerpundit on July 15, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Yeah, I’m failing to grasp the argument that Obama can’t get away with statements like that. He largely has. Just because blogs picked it up, that doesn’t mean he was scrutinized over it.

You all happily danced on Hussein Osama’s face when he messed up the number of states, so let’s have some equal treatment here for a situation that is at LEAST as retarded.

Dave Rywall on July 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM

1. No one else mocked Obama over this, so I don’t really feel too bad about McCain getting a pass here just like his opponent.

2. It’s really not at least as retarded. The area split up into two countries with almost identical names. If the US split up into one country called United Republic and another called States, you’d probably forgive people who stilled called it the US.

Or maybe you wouldn’t, but it’s an easy flub that forgetting the number of states in this country. All he’d have to do is look at our flag… oh wait, McCain gets extra help there cause he wears that pin.

Esthier on July 16, 2008 at 10:26 AM

The nickname of US, USA, the States, America, United States has absolutely nothing in common with not knowing that Czechoslovakia has not existed for 15 years or calling Iraq Iran.

Obama deserved a slap for his gaffe, McCain deserves slaps for his. It’s inexcusable at that level for either of them to not be on the ball.

Dave Rywall on July 16, 2008 at 10:33 AM

The nickname of US, USA, the States, America, United States has absolutely nothing in common with not knowing that Czechoslovakia has not existed for 15 years or calling Iraq Iran.

I wasn’t talking about the nickname. I was using a hypothetical.

If the US split up and became the United Republic and States, which is what happened with Czechoslovakia.

It’d be embarrassing, and I hope McCain is thoroughly humiliated. But considering the ridiculous similarities, I don’t see how anyone can care.

Esthier on July 16, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Squid Shark on July 15, 2008 at 8:44 PM

We call it “Resttschechei”. “Czech lands” is fine, too.

GermanAtheist on July 16, 2008 at 5:10 PM

Are we electing the President of the United States or a Jeopardy champion?

I care if a candidate can analyze complex situations, weigh the evidence, and make intelligent decisions.

I care if candidates have a firm grasp of how people interact and economies work.

I care if a candidate loves this country and wants to do everything within his/her power to protect this country, it’s people and it’s foundational philosophies (i.e. Constitution).

I do not care if a candidate always gets every trivial fact about what a country is currently called or who is currently leading which countries correct. And yes, what a country is called is a trivial fact. If McCain understands the complexities of missile defense and why it was needed and what’s going on there now, but he calls the country “that country over there with the funny name”, I’m fine with it.

I’ll goof on both candidates for misspeaking because it’s nice to have a lighthearted moment every now and then, but, at the end of the day, it’s all about how much they understand important issues and which direction they plan to steer the country in the coming years.

JadeNYU on July 16, 2008 at 5:11 PM