It gets worse however! Honest Joe Lieberman might have "checked his bearings" yet he's merely one of The Chairborne who avoided Vietnam via deferments and the like to become a neo-conservative Hawk. If you're going to beat the drums of war then you ought to know a little about how it's done Joe!
Maybe the McCain campaign is worried about him being painted as an old coot yet you'd think a campaign built around militarism would get the navigation reference. Certainly Mark Salter, "the Voice of John McCain", ought to also know what "bearings" refers to with a Daddy that was in the Navy in WWII and the Army in the Korean Conflict.
"Losing your bearings" was a way of saying John McCain was losing his way, getting off track, not aware of his position, etc. St. John said he wouldn't campaign that way and then when he did Senator Obama called him on it. I'd have liked to see Obama do so less cerebrally and more assertively. Fighting back and calling BS is the way you must campaign when the GOP pulls their foolishness. This seems like a good chance to practice some jujitsu politics now that the "lost his bearings" dust up has gotten so much attention.
Mark Salter needs to be careful claiming anyone is acting in a "not-particularly-clever way" it seems given his background as the creator of the McCain myth. The Boston Globe's Sasha Issenberg tell us, "Salter grew up playing with toy soldiers and reading Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos comic books. On his honeymoon, Salter visited French-Indian war sites." What an exciting way to begin a marriage!
The bottom line is that the media should be able to supply a little context to what "bearings" surely meant plus also reveal who Mark Salter is. Yet, have they?
In a related theme please look at Paul Waldman's piece in The American Prospect titled How Deep Is Your Love?: Republicans are up to their usual tricks -- questioning the patriotism of their opponents. The media, as usual, is playing along because it lauds political success, not virtue. He writes
Republicans don't raise these attacks every four years because they truly believe that their exists some real relationship between a president's degree of patriotic fervor and the good he'll do for America. Instead, it's one more way of arguing that the Democratic candidate isn't “one of us,” that he stands outside the circle of our tribe. He doesn't share our values, he doesn't speak our language, he doesn't love what we love and hate whom we hate.
This summer and fall we'll once again see the GOP machine in action. They can do little right when the win, or steal, an election but I'll admit they do amazing work when it comes to the campaign. John Gunn
UPDATE ~ Evening of May 10, 2008 - The following suggests John McCain had trouble adjusting to the discipline of Annapolis. Does that explain his trouble understanding navigation>
Here's one telling of his family. Again, there's something about him not grasping certain lessons until later in life. Are they trying to prepare the true believers for bad news to follow?