Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain never means what you think he means

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Courtesty of IMDB)

John McCain, the senior senator "from" Arizona, had this to say about an 86 year old water compact between states within the Colorado River Basin, which includes his "home" state.
"I don’t think there’s any doubt the major, major issue is water and can be as important as oil. So the compact that is in effect, obviously, needs to be renegotiated over time amongst the interested parties," McCain said while on his way to the Aspen Institute. "I think that there’s a movement amongst the governors to try, if not, quote, renegotiate, certainly adjust to the new realities of high growth, of greater demands on a scarcer resource."
Democrats and Republicans from Colorado (as well as the Denver Post) read this to mean Arizona wants to get more water from the river basin, at the expense of Coloradans.

Lucky for McCain, Mitt Romney and Jon Hunstman came to his rescue, saying essentially the old man didn't mean what you think he means. First here's the former Massachusetts Governor, who is openly pleading to be on McCain's ticket.
“Senator McCain has no interest in reopening the compact,” Romney said. “Senator McCain believes as I do that a compact that’s been worked out between the governors and between the states is the right way to go. States are the ones who build these kinds of understandings. The federal government shouldn’t meddle in that compact."
That explanation clearly doesn't square with what McCain said. Let's try that again. Current Utah Governor Huntsman, the only prominent Utahn to endorse McCain?
"We're going to know over the next year whether [the Colorado Compact] is an interest for the governors," Huntsman said.
"It can't be Washington that says the time is right to open the compact," he said. "It's got to be we in the region saying, 'We're having trouble with this or that and, therefore, it's time to re-evaluate the mechanics of the compact.'"
So I guess it will be "reevaluted," just not on "Washington's" terms. Except John McCain is not a governor or a state legislator, he is a U.S. Senator, and is running for President.

Funny how that inane Romney quote never made it into the Salt Lake Tribune's version of the story.

Kind of reminds me of something:
I strongly disagree. Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.
And yet...
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic adviser, [....] disputes the way the study takes suggestions McCain has made on the stump out of context. “This is parsing words out of campaign appearances to an unreasonable degree,” Holtz-Eakin said. “He has certainly I’m sure said things in town halls” that don’t jibe perfectly with his written plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s official.
So who is the authority for what John McCain means? It seems it isn't John McCain, or surrogates that say politically tone-deaf things, but only surrogates that clean up after McCain's "gaffes." Glad we cleared that all up.

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