Keith O and Rachel Maddow turned to the topic of Straight Talk Express' derailment over McCain's war for oil comments tonight. As we've come to expect, Rachel proves she is one of the sharpest Talking Heads in Punditland.
Rachel M: The press corps has not been enthusiastic about following up on John McCain gaps. This one seems to me to be such a big one on such a big important issue. And, it's on tape. There's video that it has to be followed up on. So, he's either going to need a new explanation or he's actually going to have to run with it and defend this idea. I think he might actually end up defending it.
Keith O: Well, I mean, this, this raises the point that Bush and Cheney have raised recently. Oil, the price of oil, the idea of Al-Qaeda getting hold of the control of oil as a justification for staying in Iraq. And that bring you this, to McCain. Five years ago anybody who suggested there was the slightest hint of a connection, a rumor, of a hint, of an innuendo of a connection between going into Iraq and the price of gas was considered a lunatic, unpatriotic, terrorist,lefty. How and why did this suddenly change into John McCain's campaign platform?!"
Rachel M: I, I honestly think that the most likely outcome here is that McCain end up defending this, at least at the end. But then, Karl Rove has recently – and I realize he's not in the White House anymore. But, he's still influential for these guys, especially for their talking points. He has recently raised the prospect of $200 a barrel oil if we leave Iraq. So, they are explicitly willing to tie oil and gas prices to what's going on with that conflict and what our troops are doing.
The problem is, though, if you actually make the case to the American people that we are there for oil, well, we've spent a trillion dollars, we've lost four thousand Americans, we've spent five years and now we're paying $4 a gallon? We are not the beneficiaries of the War for Oil. It does not redound to the American consumer.
I think the real Mission Accomplished moment right now, that we can see in Iraq, is when the oil companies getting precleared by the Iraqi government to bid on the Iraq oil fields service contracts ended up on the front page of the business section last month instead of the front page of the international section.