Thursday, February 04, 2010

The contortions of Brooke Buchanan

I would not like to be John McCain's spokesperson Brooke Buchanan these days.  Between her boss's disregard for facts and his complete reversals of past positions, the poor woman's got a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Here's Brooke (via TPM) after McCain insisted on TV last night that Christmas bomber Umar Abdulmutallab bought a one-way ticket to Detroit -- two weeks after being corrected on air for making the same mistake:
McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan tells us that the senator is "aware now" that Abdulmutallab was not on a one-way ticket.

"The initial reports are where Senator McCain was taking the information was from," she says. "He's actually focused on bigger things, like making sure this doesn't happen again."
 That is, he's too focused on the problem to bother with facts.

Brooke also had to go into action after McCain declared himself "disappointed" that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen both stated unequivocally that they supported repeal of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy for gays in the military.
In response to their testimony, McCain insisted that "we should not be seeking to overturn" the policy."  When confronted with McCain's 2006 declaration to students at Iowa State, "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it," Buchanan got creative. The Washington Post reports:
She noted that Mullen said repeatedly that he was speaking for himself and not for the military, and she dismissed Gates's testimony because he was expressing the Obama administration's line.

"There has to be a determination from our military leaders that they think it is a good idea to change the policy; then, of course, Senator McCain will listen to them."
There is a beautiful symmetry to this Catch-22 reasoning. Mullen's opinion doesn't count because it's personal, and Gates' doesn't count because it's in support of the policy determined by the commander-in-chief (who's been known to consult with Gates on occasion in formulating policy).  Apparently McCain will accept the military leadership's determination when they decide it among themselves and dictate it to the President.

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