Monday, August 18, 2008


Since Saturday's discussion lead by Rick Warren, one of the big stories among Leftists has been that John McCain cheated. Their evidence when taken together certainly leads one to that conclusion on the surface, but to a more thoughtful person, there are some unanswered questions that the "McCain cheated" crowd haven't figured out yet.

1) Is there proof? The speculation is that McCain could have listened to a radio broadcast or had his advisors get the questions using their Blackberries. Then, there's the whole "cone of silence" comment Warren made and the report that McCain wasn't in it, whatever it was. On top of it, there were accusations that McCain knew the questions before they were asked, which lead to a curious moment during his conversation with Warren where he seemed to ask to go back to a question that hadn't been asked. However, these are points of speculation, not proof. Until there's proof, one cannot definitively say McCain cheated, or at least not as definitively as some would have us believe.

2) Why would he do it? This is what is known in police circles as the motive. If McCain did cheat, what motivated him to do it? The Leftists are very quick to jump on McCain's performance in the polls as a motivating factor, but that's not nearly as convincing as one might think. In some polls, McCain is ahead, in others, he is behind by low single digits. If McCain wanted to cheat, he would have risked his standing in the polls right before the Republican National Convention. Plus, it would take away one of his great strengths over Obama: he appears to be a straight shooter. In terms of risk-reward, McCain would not have a reason to cheat as far as I can tell.

3) When did the allegations of cheating surface? This is essential to the allegations because it opens up other possibilities that would exonerate McCain. If the cheating allegations came out shortly after Obama left the building and heard McCain's answers, there might be something to them. If it came out the next day after, say, a briefing with campaign advisors, it undercuts the legitimacy of the allegations at least somewhat because there was time to determine how to react to Obama's performance and spin it to the media. If there's a delay, there's a possibility that Obama was trying to save face after an event where he wasn't on his game.

4) Are there other possible explanations? This is the Waterloo of the "McCain cheated" crowd. What is black and white to the Obama a bit more gray when you consider other possibilities. McCain could have easily taken the Warren event more seriously than Obama. Since they may have both had access to some or all of the questions, perhaps the McCain camp prepared McCain better than the Obama camp prepared Obama. Perhaps Obama didn't believe the Warren discussion would be as big of a news story as it was or have the impact on the poll numbers as it may yet have. Maybe Obama just had an off night. All of these are viable possible explanations, and all of them undermine the notion that McCain cheated.

Granted, I could be wrong about all of this, and I'm perfectly willing to entertain any facts showing that McCain cheated, but until such facts are brought forth, I think it's more sour grapes and red faces than a "wrinkly white haired dude" trying to pull a fast one.

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