Mike the Mad Biologist

mccain_bush
Yum. Theological conservative tastes GOOOODDD!

Full disclosure: I have never bought into the belief of the Compulsive Centrists that John McCain is a moderate. A detailed look at his voting record shows that he is often very conservative, with the occasional moment of lucidity (e.g., recognizing that global warming is actually happening). But it is truly pathetic to watch a man who clearly doesn’t agree with the theological conservatives twist himself into a pretzel in an effort to placate them. He’s done it with evolution. Now, he is ‘confused’ about condoms:

The unthinkable has happened. Senator John McCain met a question, while sitting with reporters on his bus as it rumbled through Iowa today, that he couldn’t – or perhaps wouldn’t – answer.

Did he support the distribution of taxpayer-subsidized condoms in Africa to fight the transmission of H.I.V.?

What followed was a long series of awkward pauses, glances up to the ceiling and the image of one of Mr. McCain’s aides, standing off to the back, urgently motioning his press secretary to come to Mr. McCain’s side….

A transcript of the encounter follows. (Weaver is John Weaver, his senior adviser, and Brian is Mr. Jones, his press secretary):

Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”

Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote- that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

This went on for a few more moments until a reporter from the Chicago Tribune broke in and asked Mr. McCain about the weight of a pig that he saw at the Iowa State Fair last year.

Several points:

1) John McCain was in the Navy. Shore leave? How can he possible not know what condoms do?

2) Why on earth would you listen to Coburn about condoms. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about (I don’t care for faith-based medicine, whether it be faith-based neurology or virology).

3) I can understand breaking off the line of questioning to ask another serious question. But to ask questions about a pig? If the mainstream media wonders why there is such disdain for their profession, it is due to questions like that. Not only is it a stupid question in its own right, but it appears the reporter was tossing McCain a lifeline. Your job is not to bail out politicians hoisted on their own stupidity–in either party.

Related posts: Josh has some thoughts on McCain’s idiocy too. So does Amanda. Nick doesn’t like it either.

Comments

  1. #1 bigTom
    March 19, 2007

    Seems to me he really didn’t know. I.E. he hadn’t seen focus group polling results on how to answer the question that would be least damaging politically. He hopes to skate by the primaries with the fewest statements that would be damaging to his prospects among moderates, but still not
    tick of the crucial wing-nuts -and he just didn’t have that strategy worked out.

  2. #2 Ratel
    March 19, 2007

    That is one of the biggest problems with the American media in general, they seem to be afraind of asking hard questions to the subjects of their interviews.
    How can any responsible journalist give a free pass to someone who wants to be president of the United States who is claiming to be ignorant of how condoms work.

  3. #3 J. Fred
    March 19, 2007

    Ummm, I’m no fan of McCain but I have to call BS on this issue. It was a bogus, if unintentional, trick question. Contraceptives, in general, do NOT help stop the spread of HIV. That is not their purpose and never has been. It is just a fortunate coincidence that one form of contraceptive, the condom, does have the added benefit of being very effective at helping stop the spread of HIV.

    But what about the pill, or diaphrams, patches, implants? Never mind such gems as toothpaste and the ever-popular post-sex coca-cola douche. Not only do they not prevent HIV, but if used alone by women in non-committed relationships, may very well increase her likelihood of contracting and spreading HIV.

    So, do “contraceptives” help stop the spread of HIV? I think it would take some serious modeling and number-crunching to say for sure. In the meantime, I, too, am stumped.

  4. #4 Joshua
    March 19, 2007

    Sorry, Fred, you can’t weasel this. Allow me to requote:

    Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

    Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

    McCain is, as the kids say, “Pwnt.”

  5. #5 Chromosome Crawl
    March 19, 2007

    J. Fred-

    I would implore you to take a look at the link Mike so nicely provided to a Guttmacher Institute study. The “number crunching” you refer to has been undertaken, and while the report does state that completely exhaustive studies have not been done, it does give a more defined response on the effectiveness of barrier contraceptive methods:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/1/gr060101.html

    I would suggest that candidates courting the reich-wing vote (aka whoring themselves to get into the WH) will continue to try to deny and obfuscate the data presented in studies like the Guttmacher’s. They will also throw in an anti-HPV vaccine stance for good measure. All the while their children and grandchildren will continue to be infected as a consequence of their head-in-the-sand approach to issues involving Teh Sex.

  6. #6 J. Fred
    March 19, 2007

    Crawl, I’m not talking about “barrier contraceptive methods”. I’m talking about the OTHER contraceptive methods. If you read the actual exchange, you’ll see that the question was: “Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?” and not, “Do you think condoms help stop the spread…” That’s a very big difference. Spermacidal jelly doesn’t stop HIV. Neither does norplant…nor any other form of contraception besides condoms (and abstinence but that’s not gonna happen)

    Assuming women are more likely to put out if they’re “on something”, then if they’re not using condoms AS WELL AS whatever other contraceptive they are on, then the cumulative effects of contraceptives on the spread of AIDS may be positive or negative. I don’t know.

    If you’ve got a link to THAT study, then post it. Otherwise, 2002 called and it wants its “teh” meme back.

  7. #7 stogoe
    March 20, 2007

    Right Said (J) Fred, I think you’re being a facetiously smug dweeb. Even if the reporter said ‘contraceptives’ instead of ‘con-domes’, look and read Snuggles’ reply. What a weaselly wanker. That guy hasn’t met an issue he wouldn’t slither around on.

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