It is 3 a.m., and the stillness of the White House night is shattered by the ringing of the red phone. President John McCain, rousing himself from a deep sleep, turns on the light and picks up the receiver. A U.S. embassy in a Middle Eastern country, he is told, has been blown up, and al-Qaeda is taking credit.McCain made that claim on several occasions. Slip of the tongue? Once, maybe, but not several times. I think McCain is using a Bush/Cheny trick. He's trying to create an al-Qaeda-Iran association where one doesn't exist. Should he win the election, it's not much of a stretch to imagine him justifying a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
McCain takes a deep breath. "Character counts, my friend," he says. "Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb Iran."
There is a rustling of blankets, and, brushing aside Cindy McCain, a concerned Joe Lieberman rises from the bed. "Not Iran, Mr. President," he says. "They hate al-Qaeda."
"That's right," the president says. "I remember now." He sighs with relief. "Good thing you're here every night, Joe."
But suppose, dear reader, that John McCain becomes president and Joe Lieberman doesn't bunk with the McCains on a nightly basis. How easily should the rest of us sleep? It's anything but an academic question after McCain's bizarre performance in Jordan last week.
There, he told reporters that he was "concerned about Iranian [operatives] taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back" to Iraq. "That's well known," he continued -- at which point Lieberman whispered a correction in his ear. "I'm sorry," McCain then said. "The Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
So, for those of you thinking about voting for McCain in protest, Meyerson has this to say:
If you liked Bush's foreign and military policy, you'll love McCain's.
(Cross-posted at BFM.)