McCain Takes A Sarcastic and Contemptuous Tone in Des Moines Register Interview

John McCain was interviewed yesterday by the editorial board of the Des Moines Register. Steve Benen remarks dryly, “It didn’t go well.”

The videos of the discussion between McCain and the editors are worth watching, because the transcripts alone don’t convey just how angry and sarcastic McCain became when challenged. I wouldn’t go so far as to say McCain completely lost his cool, but we did get a glimpse of Angry McCain, and his temper led to some odd responses. The Register’s editors, for example, noted that McCain has taxpayer-backed health care throughout his life. The senator responded, with a sharp tone:

“You know that’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? And I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with.”

I have no idea what this means given the context of the question.

The Register’s editors also noted some of the obviously dishonest ads McCain has run, including the ridiculous and disgusting spot accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergarteners.

“…I have always had 100 percent, absolute truth and that’s been my life of putting my country first. And I’ll match that record against anyone’s. And I’m proud of it. And an assertion that I’ve ever done otherwise, I take strong exception to.”

McCain has lied a lot this year, but he really doesn’t like it when people bring it up.

McCain was probably most annoyed with the editors asked about Sarah Palin’s readiness for national office. “[W]ith due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she doesn’t have experience and knowledge and background,” McCain said, visibly annoyed “I fundamentally disagree and I’m proud of her record.” Sensing he may be pushing the anger envelope a bit, McCain started to launch into another tirade before saying, “I’ll stop there.”

The interview can be seen at the Des Moines Register‘s website, either broken up into separate videos or the entire interview in a single video. I watched the complete interview, and if anything, it’s worse than what Steve said.  McCain made a point of repeating his statement, which he had first made in the debate, that Pakistan was a failed state: “When Musharraf came to power, Pakistan was a failed state. It was a failed state. That’s just a fact.” He insisted on repeating his campaign’s thoroughly debunked claims that Sarah Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, and that Barack Obama, when he was Illinois state senator, supported legislation to teach sex to kindergartners. When the board member questioning him on the Obama slur suggested it was possible to misrepresent someone’s position by taking a specific line or detail out of context, McCain broke in, “We didn’t do that.” The truth is that the provision Obama supported was to teach young children about appropriate and inappropriate touching, and how to protect themselves from sexual predators — and parents had the option to keep their children out of that program.

When asked to say specifically what experience Palin has that qualifies her to be vice-president or president, McCain included, as one such example, “She was a member of the PTA.” When the same board member challenged McCain’s snidely offered “I’m so happy the American people seem to be siding with me” by asking, “Why do you think they’re siding with you, because there seems to be a pretty strong disagreement over whether [indecipherable]. There are people who feel very uncomfortable that she does not have a lot of experience in public office, even among clearly conservative Republicans–” McCain first cut her off after “Why do you think they’re siding with you” — obviously assuming, without bothering to hear her through, that she was asking an entirely different question — and sharply retorted, “Because they like her! They appreciate her! They know leadership when they see it!” Then, after the board member repeated her full question, McCain listened until she got to “clearly conservative Republicans,” then again abruptly interrupted with, “Really? I haven’t detected that. I haven’t detected that in the polls; I haven’t detected that amongst the base; we get 20,000 people that come to our rallies, so again, I fundamentally disagree. Now if there’s a Georgetown cocktail party person who calls themselves, quote, a conservative and doesn’t like her, Good luck, good luck (giving a military salute), fine….”

You really have to see and hear this to get the full flavor, but McCain’s tone of voice, body language, and facial expression all convey over-the-top sarcastic contempt.

Even to consider the possibility — for just an instant — that this individual might become president is about as scary a thought as any I can remember having about political affairs in this country.

One Response to “McCain Takes A Sarcastic and Contemptuous Tone in Des Moines Register Interview”

  1. radical_Moderate says:

    kathy I actually saw parts of this interview on Keith’s show last night and had a laugh out loud moment when McCain was so flummoxed by the Health Insurance question that he managed to pull out the POW Card yet again, I paraphrase, “I had a few years where I didn’t get such great Health Care” (cue snarky voice) It seemed as if he had never considered that he has been supported by the US Tax payer vis a vis Health Care coverage for 72 years. Oh McGrumpy was in fine form during that interview…


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