At this point, when it comes to the political controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack, I no longer know what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is complaining about. He’s raised questions, which have been answered. He’s raised theories, which have been debunked. He’s smeared Susan Rice, but he knows her only crime is sharing credible intelligence on a Sunday show.
And yesterday, the Republican senator’s descent into incoherence reached new depths.
For those who can’t watch clips online, McCain appeared on Fox News to raise a series of strange complaints, and roll out a truly bizarre new analogy.
“[W]ho changed the talking points that was used by Ambassador Rice? And why? And on what circumstances? Why was reference to Al Qaeda left out? There are so many things that have happened. And the interesting thing is, finally, Neil, we knew within hours of all the details when we got bin Laden in the raid there, every bitty one of them. They are making a movie out of it.
“And here we are 10 weeks later, and finally our ambassador to the United Nations who appeared on every national Sunday show has now said that she gave false information concerning how this tragedy happened as far as the spontaneity of a demonstration triggered by a hateful video.”
But comparing this to the raid on bin Laden’s compound is a special kind of dumb. I realize national security and foreign policy are issues McCain struggles with, but this isn’t complicated: the bin Laden raid was our idea. It was our mission. We planned it and we executed it. We knew the details “within hours” because, unlike the terrorists’ attack on Benghazi, the raid in Abbottabad was carried out by our guys, not their guys.
Honestly, I’m not sure whether to be annoyed by the senator’s nonsense or feel sorry for him.
I’m reminded of this recent piece from Time’s Joe Klein, who remembers when McCain used to be “an honorable public servant,” before he became the politician we see today.
[H]e’s now a political caricature, severely debilitated by anger and envy. His trigger-happy foreign policy beliefs have always been questionable, but this Benghazi crusade has put in the weird circle inhabited by nutcases and conspiracy theorists like Michele Bachmann and Allen West. He should honor the memory of those who lost their lives that terrible night by putting a cork in his disgraceful behavior immediately.
We can speculate as to why McCain has become so unhinged, but the fact remains he’s now impossible to take seriously.
Don’t worry, though, I’m sure he’ll be able to explain himself in more detail on a Sunday show very soon.