Hitchens: McCain 'Borderline Senile'

Renegade Night on Hardball.  First up, Bill Weld.  The former Republican governor of Massachusetts, who has endorsed Obama, told Chris Matthews he believed the Dem candidate would, as president, reach across the aisle to govern.   Weld didn't—couldn't—cite anything to support his assertion out of Obama's hyper-partisan Senate record in which he's toed the Harry Reid line 97% of the time.

But as apostasy goes, that was small potatoes compared to Christopher Hitchens.  The God Is Not Great author who, despite his support for the Iraq war, has also recently endorsed Obama, told Matthews he believes McCain is "borderline senile."

View video here.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It's a hard thing to say, and I think there's a big difference to be made, or enforced [?] actually, between being a veteran, being old, being experienced, and simply being elderly and borderline senile.  Now a year ago --

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You believe that?

HITCHENS: Yes.

As you'll see in the video clip, Hitchens makes his case as to McCain's alleged decrepitude based in significant part on his debate performances.  Say what you will about McCain in the debates.  The argument could be made that he was too aggressive. But I would place it beyond cavil that in the first and third debates, McCain was absolutely in charge, setting the agenda and taking the fight to his opponent. This was anything but a man past his intellectual prime.  Indeed, after the first debate, it was Matthews himself who decried how often a dominated Obama abjectly agreed with McCain.

Note: Before pulling, I briefly had up an item in which I suggested that a voice that could be heard off-camera mocking Weld during his interview might have been that of Keith Olbermann.  As a keen-eared reader pointed out, the voice had a British accent, and was certainly that of Hitchens, who though he hadn't yet been introduced was sitting at the table with Matthews and came on immediately after Weld.  My thanks to the astute reader, and apologies to all.

Note: In March, Hitchens was calling Obama a "very shallow and flaky candidate."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.