Conservatives — especially Arizona Senator John McCain — have been flailing about helplessly over a small point, dredged up from one of the Democratic primary debates, involving potential diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran.
Lately, it's come to involve Henry Kissinger, thanks to a September 15 conference among five former Secretaries of State, all of whom contradicted several foreign policy observations emanating from McCain and his painfully addled running soulmate, Sarah Palin.
While McCain should know better, Palin has only given evidence that she's never even thought about international relations before and her pronouncements would be irrelevant but for her placement in line for the U.S. presidency, a questionable judgment made by John McCain.
Since Barack Obama indicated that he would be open to diplomatic talks with a number of America's "enemies," he was criticized by Hillary Clinton and more recently by McCain and his supporters.
Other than for a cheap but unsupportable political shot, it isn't clear why, especially given the opinions of the former Secretaries of State. As for Kissinger, he attempted to backpedal away from his own remarks for the benefit of his "friend, John McCain," but to no avail.
The long and short of it is that the McCainiacs are very mistaken, if not in their own attitude toward engaging hostile states, which is a matter of perspective, but most certainly in their vain attempts to tar Barack Obama as lacking understanding and/or being naive.
Marc Ambinder has pulled together all of the relevant Kissinger remarks here. So has Christopher Hitchens — and then some — who wonders why either candidate is appealing to an "old blunderer and war criminal" in the first place.
But at least Senator Obama got it right, while McCain has the condescending gall to accuse Obama of "not understanding."