Socialist Until Proven Otherwise

I don’t think John McCain is a transsexual Nazi pedophile. But I really don’t know for sure.

That’s the line of logic McCain followed when asked whether he thinks Barack Obama is a socialist. “I don’t know,” McCain responded . He elaborated: “His voting record … is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”

McCain’s not the first to plead ignorance on a nonsensical claim. Back in March, Hillary Clinton drew heckles from Obama supporters for her less-than-decisive answer to a question about whether Barack Obama was a Muslim. “There’s nothing to base that on … as far as I know,” she said. More recently, both Joe Lieberman and Tom Delay have suggested Obama might be a Marxist.

It’s a tricky move. Some accusations the Muslim charges, for example, or the absurd claims in 2000 that McCain had fathered a black child demand outright denial. But others, like being a socialist, aren’t quite as controversial. Conservative radio hosts like Glenn Beck regularly refer to Obama as a socialist. From McCain’s perspective, why discourage them?