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Don’t listen to McCain

Of all the inexplicable Beltway media fetishes, none is more bizarre than the undying love affair with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

So there he was, yet again, on a Sunday morning talk show, pretending to be relevant in a world that has long since passed him by.

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And how could any right-thinking (in the most nonpartisan sense) person take him seriously? The topic this Sunday, on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, was Libya, and specifically, how imperative it was for the U.S. to more forcefully engage in yet another expensive war. “If we have a stalemate, I think it’s very possible al Qaeda may take advantage,” he said. He’d just returned from Libya, where he met with the rebel leadership and decided, after a few hours, that they were true and pure and wanted nothing more than a Western-style democracy. 

Trust his instincts! Remember, this is the same guy who claimed — by putting her on his presidential ticket — that Sarah Palin was qualified to be president.

Granted, McCain is never happier than when putting our troops in harm’s way. After all, he ran on leaving our troops in Iraq for 10,000 years. But that’s not what made his latest warmongering so patently ridiculous. Rather, it was a little bit of history that glowing media accounts of his Libya trip have curiously omitted. 

Less than two years ago — in mid-August of 2009 — McCain led a delegation of U.S. senators to Libya and met with Moammar Gadhafi. As he Twittered at the time, it was all fantastic: “Late evening with Col. Qadhafi at his ‘ranch’ in Libya — interesting meeting with an interesting man.” Video of the meeting shows McCain actually bowing to Gadhafi. 

Libya state media treated the visit as a propaganda coup, “reporting” at the time: “Sen. McCain and the delegation with him expressed their deep happiness to meet the leader and praised him for his wisdom and strategic vision to tackle issues of concern to the world and his efforts to sustain peace and stability in Africa.” 

But worst of all was the content of the meeting, with McCain offering Gadhafi’s regime military aid.

Yes. Military aid. 

Now, asked about Gadhafi on CBS’s “Early Show,” McCain replied, “This is a man with American blood on his hands who has committed acts of terror in the past. And our policy, the United States’s policy, as articulated by the president of the United States, is that he should go — he should not stay in power.”

Asked by a Fox News anchor what would happen after Gadhafi was ousted, McCain dismissively replied, “Well, I don’t think we worried too much when we wanted to get rid of Hitler as to who would take his place.”

Would McCain have offered Hitler military aid? Would McCain have bowed to Hitler? Why did he bow to this terrorist? Would McCain have waxed poetic on Twitter about how interesting Hitler was?

And given Gadhafi’s assumed ties to terrorism, why did McCain visit with promises of U.S. military aid? Why did he bow to someone with American blood on his hands?

Fact is, his 2009 visit to Libya was a gimmick, and his soiree there last week was as well. His entire shtick is nothing but gimmick after gimmick, devoid of any serious thought or expression of fundamental values. He’s irrelevant in his own party, a dinosaur in the era of Tea Party Republicans. 

The out-of-touch Beltway media just never got the memo.

Moulitsas is the founder of Daily Kos.