Maybe somebody should have clued in Sen. John McCain.
First, Sen. George Allen, R-Va., wound up a few dozen veterans with a "we win, they lose, there's no substitute victory" strategy for Iraq, then McCain followed with a joke about a monkey flying an airplane.
McCain, R-Ariz., was in town Wednesday night to lure some votes for his Republican colleague, Allen, who has heard enough monkey jokes lately. Especially since a report was unearthed that he used "macaca" in reference to S.R. Sidarth, a worker of Indian descendent for the campaign of Allen's Democratic opponent, Jim Webb.
Macaca is a genus of monkey.
Update 8/17 10:47 AM: Or, as a commenter asks, was McCain intentionally undermining a potential 2008 rival? It's hard to know.
Update 8/20 5:17 PM: The Richmond Times-Dispatch asks the same question:
It is unclear whether McCain's monkey joke was a warning shot fired over Allen's bow by a potential rival in 2008, or a joke that he delivers to audiences with a large Naval component, such as the Allen rally in Norfolk. The punch line is that a monkey becomes an admiral.
Also, a commenter asks what joke McCain actually told. A Daily Kos commenter claims to have been provided with the audio of the joke and posted this transcript, which matches the Times-Dispatch account of the punchline:
Not long before I retired from the Navy, I was over at the Officers' Club at Oceania, having a Coca-Cola, as most fighter pilots do, and standing next to me was this guy who was really old and ancient and senile-looking...and I noticed that he was carrying one stripe on his sleeve, an Ensign, the lowest rank you can be as an officer, and I said, 'Excuse me,' I said, 'how long have you been in the Navy?' He said, '37 years.' I said, 'And all those years in the Navy you were never promoted?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Well, I was stationed at the first squadron that was at Guadalcanal in World War II. It was terrible, the food was terrible. Every night, one Japanese airplane used to fly over Henderson Field, and it wasn't an air raid, it was just this harassment airplane, we called him Washing Machine Charlie. But the sirens would go off, we'd have to get out of our tents, get into our airplanes, start the engine, sit there--pretty soon the "all clear" siren would go off and then we'd go back to bed. It was killing me, I wouldn't get any sleep at night and it was awful. So I went out in the jungle and I solved the problem. I got--I caught this monkey, and I trained the monkey that when the siren went off, he'd come out of the jungle, get into my airplane, start the engine, sit there, the "all clear" siren would go off, he'd shut down the engine, get out of the airplane and go back in the jungle. It was wonderful. I was sleeping like a baby. Well, sure enough, one night it was not just Washing Machine Charlie. It was a real Japanese air raid. I came out of my tent just in time to see that monkey taking off in my airplane.' I said, 'Well, I can certainly see why you were not promoted!' He said, 'That's not what makes me mad. The monkey retired as an admiral last week!'
I think...I served with that monkey at one time or another...