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?