So . . . Obama can’t meet with foreign leaders without looking “uppity.” But McCain can send his surrogates to a warring nation as third parties (speaking on behalf of the US?), unilaterally grant all Americans dual citizenship with Georgia and has long threatened to kick Russia out of the G8 Summit?

Is the media calling McCain presumptuous? Has the media held hour-long discussions focusing on McCain’s need to steal the spotlight away from the President in a time of foreign crisis?

McCain’s recent boast of bravado has political implications that are not so subtle . . .

If there was any doubt that the McCain campaign would try to use this week to emphasize McCain’s foreign policy credentials in light of the current conflict in Georgia then today’s town hall put those to bed.

. . . McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus drove into the Toyota Arena here today beneath a large American flag and with the theme from Rocky blaring over the P.A. system. McCain emerged with Sen. Joe Lieberman and former-Governor Tom Ridge by his side. Both introduced the senator and stuck to the campaign’s talking points of the day.

Lieberman kicked things off by saying, “We’ve just seen over the last few days as the Russians invaded a sovereign nation, Georgia, and watch the response of this man, John McCain, to that crisis, right, strong, clear, principled, the kind of president we need in the White House over the next four years, to be there to protect our country, our security and our freedom.”  (MSNBC’s First Read)

If you listen to the media, Senator McCain is merely flexing his muscles as a potential Commander in Chief.

Listen, I don’t claim to be a foreign policy expert. This is not a critique on the merits of the Russian/Georgian conflict or the candidates’ responses. However, I do want to acknowledge a growing double standard in the media.

It is a double standard that trusts McCain to take risks on matters of war and foreign policy that it would never allow Obama. . . a media that laughs at “bomb, bomb Iran,” songs, excuses gaffes confusing Sunnis and Shiites and doesn’t question the ethics of a candidate’s boisterous response to a foreign conflict when that candidate’s own foreign policy advisor (and firm) was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on behalf of that foreign government.

It is a double standard that gives conservative talking heads the benefit of the doubt on foreign policy matters despite 8 years of incompetence, moving goal posts, and changing rationales for military action.

The kid gloves with which the media has handled McCain’s recent rhetoric is disappointing to say the least. The coverage has been nothing like the month long media narratives thrown at Obama. Where are the round-table discussions on John McCain’s hubris? What of his arrogance to speak over, if not for, the President throughout this Russian/Georgian conflict?

I probably wasn’t the only one who worried that McCain’s unchecked chest-thumping might get us involved in a war with Russia this week.

And I’m also probably not alone when I say it’s confusing to hear the media trumpet the following narrative on foreign policy:

Getting cheered by 200,000 Germans waiving American flags=BAD . . . but getting tangled in an escalating foreign conflict when you have no authority to speak on behalf of the President=GOOD???

You’d think the mainstream media might ask whether McCain’s tough talk is a little . . . I don’t know . . . presumptuous?

Instead the media has said very little, allowing McCain to escalate his political rhetoric without asking whether his words might have unanticipated consequences. And, unlike Obama’s trip over seas, few in the media have the audacity to question McCain’s motives or intentions despite the sense of political opportunism at play.

As noted by TPM:

The idea is to showcase himself [McCain] as a man of action during a time of international crisis and to remind people that the world is a dangerous place that’s still filled with aggressive actors, something that the McCain camp presumably thinks will play in his favor.

McCain’s announcement of his key campaign allies’ trip abroad also seems designed to shoulder Bush aside as the primary GOP leadership figure here.

Pushing the President aside? Presumptuous???

Nah! It’s McCain.

See, we call it “strength” when he does it, despite the confusion and danger his tough talk might provoke. . .

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