The Rain in Spain–news to John McCain

John McCain doesn’t know that Spain is in Europe. Repeat, with variations. Forever.

John McCain doesn’t know that Spain is in Europe.

When asked about Spain, McCain sounded baffled and bloviated on about alliances and Latin America. He didn’t just miss the name of Spain’s leader: he missed the continent. And this wasn’t an ambush question. It was a scheduled interview with Spanish television.

Now, I’m sure that many low-information voters don’t know where Spain is either. It doesn’t matter: here’s a case where we can help them to feel smart&#8212smarter, at any rate, than McCain. And every voter with a college degree (more than you’d think: the median voter now has two years of college) now has an excellent reason to go Blue.

Let’s pass quickly through angry scorn (“I’m tired of hearing about foreign policy from the man who doesn’t know which continent Spain is in”) and go straight to ridicule.

“If you believe that, there’s an igloo in Spain I’d like to sell you.”

“Maybe McCain wants to invade Iran because he thinks it’s an easy march from Spain.”

[at a rally in East Harlem]: “It’s great to be in Spanish Harlem. Just to clear things up for John McCain: that’s different from Spain.”

“John McCain went to see Barcelona. It made him want to smoke a Cuban cigar.”

All right: it’s fortunate that I’m not paid to do this. But I can’t wait to hear from those who are.

Update I don’t speak Spanish (except very badly indeed) and Josh Marshall’s sources now appear to think that the interview is ambiguous. It now seems possible that McCain does know where Spain is&#8212and merely appeared not to know because he didn’t bother to learn the name of its Prime Minister before the interview and couldn’t decide whether members of NATO count as enemies or friends. My bad.

However, I did come up with the lame My Fair Lady joke before Josh did, at the same time as probably 87,000 other people.

Correction: It wasn’t Spanish television. It was a Spanish-language Miami radio station. Since the new McCain line is (as I suggested above sarcastically, not imagining McCain would embrace it), that McCain knows all about Spain and very deliberately refuses to say he’ll meet with its Prime Minister and refuses to call Spain a friend rather than an enemy, it makes little difference. But it was still a mistake, and I posted too quickly. Sorry.

Author: Andrew Sabl

Andrew Sabl, a political theorist, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics and Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, both from Princeton University Press. His research interests include political ethics, liberal and democratic theory, toleration, the work of David Hume, and the realist school of contemporary political thought. He is currently finishing a book for Harvard University Press titled The Uses of Hypocrisy: An Essay on Toleration. He divides his time between Toronto and Brooklyn.