During the Rick Warren/Saddleback event over the weekend — in which Obama and McCain were both asked exactly the same questions, and Obama went first — Warren, the questioner, told the audience repeatedly that McCain was “in a cone of silence” so he wouldn’t gain unfair advantage by hearing the questions in advance. It appears that McCain was in fact in his car being driven to the event, and who knows what he was listening to.
Now, this little Get Smart reference isn’t the world’s most earthshattering issue. McCain is getting “graded on a curve” (as Josh Marshall puts it) all the time anyway. But in the McCain campaign’s reaction you can get an indication of just how hypersensitive and defense it is to being criticized by the media: McCain’s people demanded an apology from NBC for even suggesting that there was anything to the “no cone of silence” story. They also insisted that it was a terrible thing to ask whether McCain might have done something wrong because he is, you know, a former POW.
So is there anything to the story? Ultimately it’s a tiny issue, but the way it is surfacing in the media certainly leaves readers scratching their heads. Take today’s New York Times: on the op-ed page,
Times columnist William Kristol writes “There’s no evidence that McCain had any such advantage.” (That’s on the Web edition of the article; my print paper this morning read: “There seems to be absolutely no basis for this charge.” I guess Kristol is now editing his text for the Web without making any note of the revision.)
Meanwhile, an article in the very same edition of the very same newspaper — one featured with a teaser on the paper’s front page — is headlined, “Despite Assurances, McCain Wasn’t in a ‘Cone of Silence.'”
Let’s see if or when the paper attempts to resolve this.
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All it takes is two cell phones. For the stake involved, the current Rovian methodolgy tells me there’s more to this.
Maybe if Obama can stop lying like he’s done recently on his abortion votes, he’d win. In the “debate”, he also lied about his toughest decision. He said it was the Iraq war, but he wasn’t even in the US Senate at the time. It wasn’t his decision to make disqualifying this from being a decision. Even if McCain hadn’t shown up, Obama would still have lost the event because he cannot give answers of substance without lying.
Really, these stories about a “cone of silence” make the authors look like paranoid fools. No, it couldn’t be Obama’s own doing that he sucks at debates and answering questions in a public setting. Heck, Obama was even given prior notice of certain questions that McCain did not. You can’t complain about others when your guy can’t even resist the urge to lie.
Scott, leave the political commentating to others. This is getting beyond sad on your part. Every time I think you can’t possibly get any worse, you prove me wrong. You really need to let go of this burning hatred and start thinking in a more positive manner. Again, this article is against McCain, not FOR Obama. I’m starting to think you cannot present any good argument FOR Obama because there is none unless lies are inserted.
Scott, really! What’s up with the hatred? How many articles now have you flipped out for no reason against Obama’s opponent for no real reason? I bet you that it’s impossible to support Obama without either denigrating his opponent(s) or inserting lies. BTW, I don’t like McCain at all. If only the topic were not so trite.
“Ultimately it’s a tiny issue”
Understatement of the millennium.
Stop the hate. And again nothing to support Obama. Give up on the racist candidate called Obama. It’s not worth your time.
This past weekend we had the sham of a “debate” during Rick Warren’s evangelical presidential Q&A. Rick’s Q&A was a fresh spin on the tired, stump speech-making, so-called debate formats of the past. Then it was revealed that McCain was in a shifting “cone of silence” while enroute to the event. This unfortunate staging of the “cone of silence” gambit was just another signal that we are losing our way as a nation. We can’t even properly sequester a presidential candidate for an hour. We do this sort of thing pretty well at Gitmo, on a more permanent basis of course, all the time …. and McCain is rather proud of his stay at the Hanoi Hilton years ago. It was a natural or so I thought.
When you come to think of it the whole cone of silence illusion is not so alarming. If given the opportunity to gain an edge most ordinary people will seize the moment. Operative word — ordinary people. That’s what we have here — John McCain & his handlers are ordinary people. If given the window of opportunity, ordinary people would blackberry the questions while Johnnie Mac was limoing to the event, aka by Rick Warren as the so-called “cone of silence.” (I guess not all cones of silence are created equal). Let’s all ‘get smart’ here (sorry, I had to do it). This thing does not pass the eyeball exam. Doesn’t it look too tiddy that all the answers were wrapped in short, familiar McCain soundbites (eg, the classic “I will follow Osama to the gates of hell, etc.” — i’ve heard all this before .. for a minute there McCain was channeling the old speech-making debate format, aka Catchphrases are Us; how the name of John Lewis spontaneously came out of McCain’s mouth as one of his guiding lights was magical). Typically in a quick back-and-forth Q&A session you don’t have the time to instantaneously call up your precise, patented soundbites and neatly tie them into their suppossed extemporaneous answers. In an impromptu session of quick back-and-forth exchanges it just doesn’t happen. Take a look at Obama’s exchanges with Warren — they were conversational and stream of consciousness; he didn’t know the questions in advance and therefore had to formulate his thinking around it. McCain’s answers were short, bullet points of previous proven verbiage that has been red-lighted by Republican wordsmithing consultants as the appropriate taking points that will score with the audience. I have only one answer to the question of how McCain was able to summon a rather calculating answering style: it was an “ABC” moment, asin Always Blackberry Connected .. he knew ahead of time precisely what was coming. As Al Davis would exhort his Raiders football players: “Just win, baby!” Machiavelli would be very proud of his recent convert, John McCain. “Win at all cost” is a driving Republican family value; it has become a cornerstone of American life. In that regard, as his TV commercials proclaim: John McCain is a true American.
You can fault McCain for succumbing to temptation to cheat but the real culprit here is Rick Warren. His debate required that he ensure that a real cone of silence be established and maintained. Obviously, no precautions were taken to have the 2nd candidate in the Q&A securely sequestered. As a religious type Rick Warren is by nature a trusting soul. In American political life, blind trust is a character flaw. Rick was duped by someone seeking the highest office in the land; as a consequence, we are all duped.
It is troubling that as McCain was introduced to the Q&A both Warren and McCain gave the audience the illusion that a “cone of silence” was enforced. At the time they both knew that was not true yet they fed us that line. They were complicit in the charade. We all thought that this was a true level playing field. Unfortunately for Obama (and for the rest of us) that was not the case. It is troubling that Warren and McCain are not being held up to more scrutiny.
Imagine if it was Barack Obama who had cheated. If you take the uproar over the flag pin, multiply that by a billion. If you take the uproar over the bitter comment, multiply that by a billion. If you take the uproar over Jeremiah Wright, multiply that by a 100 million. We would never hear the end of it. Pre-schoolers would be asking their parents why Barack is such a bad man, a very bad man because he lied. How come for McCain there is no backlash? The silence is deafening … and alarming.