John McCain just gave Hillary Clinton a good excuse for taking back her comment that he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Will she take it?

Given McCain’s buffoonish performance in Jordan, wouldn’t this be a good time for Hillary Clinton to say, “Gee, I thought he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief, but it sure doesn’t sound like it. The least we should expect from the President is some basic knowledge about who our enemies are.”

That statement would have three advantages for HRC, and one for the country:

1. It would be true, or as close to true as you’d expect in a campaign. (If she really thought that John “Bomb Iran” McCain was fit to be President, she must be operating on different standards than the rest of us. On the other hand, perhaps she merely meant that he was perceived as being above the bar for the CinC role.)

2. It would help her in the remaining primaries by reassuring Democrats of her party loyalty, which several of her recent statements have brought into question.

3. By giving McCain’s blunder another day of news coverage, it would help her win the general election should Barack Obama be hit by a meteor or caught up the Rapture or discovered in a compromising position with a goat, which are the only three circumstances under which she winds up as the nominee.

4. For the same reason, it would also help Barack Obama beat McCain in the much more likely event that he becomes the nominee.

The only reason I can see for HRC’s not making such a statement is that she regards #4 as a bug rather than a feature: that she’d like to see Obama lose so she could run in 2012, or that she’d like to make it seem as if Obama would lose to make the party elders give her the nomination this year, even at the expense of making the continuation of Republican rule more likely. But she isn’t really that cynical.

Is she?

Footnote Jonathan Kulick notes below that alliances across the Shi’a-Sunni gulf aren’t inconceivable. Fair enough.

But since McCain took it back as soon as Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear, and since his campaign is trying to pass it off (falsely) as a mere slip of the tongue, he doesn’t come out looking Presidential even if, by accident, he said something that might be true.

If it were true it would be surprising, and would call for an explanation of the kind Jonathan attempts. But it’s clear that McCain didn’t even know that an Iranian/al-Qaeda alliance would represent something out of the ordinary. Hilzoy is right: “clueless.”

How clueless is John McCain?

1. He doesn’t have a clue.

2. He’s never had a clue.

3. He couldn’t get a clue
even if he waited for the clue mating season,
found a group of horny female clues,
stripped himself naked,
rubbed himself all over with clue pheromones, and
did the clue mating dance.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: