THE BLOG
04/26/2007 01:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The McCain Mutiny

It's gotten to the point that when John McCain opens his mouth, you expect to hear him complain about missing strawberries and nervously roll steel ball bearings in his hand.

Certainly, McCain hasn't yet gone over the deep end like Captain Queeg on the S.S. Caine. But you have to think that crew members on the McCain Express must feel like they're in the middle of their own storm, similarly tossing their ship all over the place with a skipper whose ability to get them to dry land is equally in question.

First, there he is on David Letterman, stating how America is wasting young peoples' lives in Iraq - and having to explain the next day that he misspoke and didn't really mean it. Then, he pronounced how safe it was to stroll in the (Marine-protected) market places of Baghdad - which required his having to explain that he misspoke and didn't really mean it either, sort of. This was followed by the news that his fundraising had him in a distant third place, far behind a rodent-hunting, little-known governor, and a flamboyant New York mayor whose experience in foreign affairs is non-existent.

And now comes his vaudeville act, singing away about bomb-bomb-bombing the nation of Iran - followed by the obligatory, post-mess explanation of his beleaguered staff, who by now have purchased copies of the book, "How to Make Excuses for Your Boss" in bulk.

It's clear that they and Sen. McCain (R-AZ) himself are running out of ways to explain his gaffs, because they've gotten to the point where they're not even trying much anymore.

A New York Times article pointed out that when asked if he thought his comments about bombing Iran were insensitive, he didn't even have the decency to answer, "Yeah, sure, but it was obviously a light-hearted moment that went too far." Instead, he replied, "Insensitive to who? Iranians?"

Well...yes, for starters. After all, certainly not every private Iranian citizen feels the same as their leaders, just as not all Americans agree with their 31%-approved president. And McCain's singing about bombing Iran is also insensitive to Americans who would prefer not to have a third, concurrent war. Or who would rather not prompt Iran to make their own "pre-emptive attack" against a country that has a major contender for president saying they should be bombed, bombed, bombed. Just because our present-Administration believes it's okay to pre-emptively attack other countries doesn't mean we should encourage others to - most especially if we'd be on the receiving end.

So, yes, it's insensitive. And really stupid, too.

McCain also told those criticizing his "bomb, bomb, bomb" song to "Get a life." This ignored the fact that those complaining were doing so because they hoped to keep the life they had.

(The Senator has apparently warmed to this "Get a life" explanation, using it again only yesterday to defend his latest knee-slapping joke, this to Jon Stewart about putting IED bombs under the host's desk.)

But the "Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran" mess gets worse, because when the initial explanation shockingly didn't placate anyone, the McCain committee sank to the ever-popular "Attack the messenger" gambit and went after one of the many complaining.

"It comes as no surprise," said a staff that has been facing candidate-induced surprises almost round-the-clock, "that America's most liberal interest group would attack John McCain's belief that we cannot allow Iran to destroy Israel."

Even the most out-of-touch dullards understand that MoveOn.org was complaining about something utterly different: a presidential candidate suggesting we bomb, bomb, bomb another nation without direct provocation.

I will also bet cash money that MoveOn.org is not the only people in America, let alone the world who think John McCain's thoughtless singing of "Bomb, bomb, bomb" Iran was mind-numbingly irresponsible. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet this includes a great many people in Israel.

And so the S.S. McCain continues to flounder, as its water-drenched, campaign-scarred staff struggles alone to keep the directionless rudder on course .

Of course John McCain was making a joke. But that doesn't mean he doesn't believe what he was joking about. Nor does it mean the nation on the receiving end of his quip would have got the joke. Since neither John McCain nor his overwhelmed committee has explained that the Senator doesn't believe what he was joking about, we can only assume he does, until it's explained (yet again...) otherwise.

Until then, John McCain's singing performance has to be judged in terms all show business musical entertainments are: with a review.

He bombed.