John McCain’s Jimmy Carter ‘Flip Flop’
The HuffPo PR department sent me an email entitled “McCain flip-flops on Jimmy Carter” touting a Seth Colter Walls post noting that John McCain has said nice things about Jimmy Carter in the past but is now saying mean things.
He points to a recent quip by McCain that, “Sen. Obama says that I’m running for Bush’s third term. It seems to me he’s running for Jimmy Carter’s second.” But back in 1999, McCain said that Carter had “the greatest, the noblest and loftiest intentions of any president, but he never really understood how to use the institution to obtain his goals.”
Not only are these thoughts not contradictory, they’re complementary. McCain isn’t running on a platform that Obama is a bad mean who wishes harm to his country but rather that he’s an inexperienced man who doesn’t understand practical realities.
Stretching things even further, Walls notes that some people who are McCain supporters are writing unkind things about former Carter Natoinal Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to “stoke fears among voters for whom Israel’s security is a top concern” and yet McCain was “honored” to have Brzezinski on his team in 2000. That Beltway insiders respect Brzezinski and yet some operatives are trying to leverage some aspects of his legacy to their advantage is decidedly less than surprising.
The idea that candidates are supposed to see the world in black and white, with no nuance whatsoever, is a puzzling one, indeed.
Let me go on a limb now and predict the following:
- McCain will simultaneously seek to distance himself from President Bush’s failures while embracing his successes
- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will say much nicer things about each other henceforth than they have during the foregoing year and a half
For the most part, they won’t be lying or “flip-flopping” when so doing.
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