MCCAIN CONFUSES NATIONAL GUARD AND U.S. ARMY…. Maybe John McCain’s staff just isn’t prepping him very well, or maybe McCain is blowing off those who are trying to help him stay on track. Either way, the hits just keep on coming.

“McCain said this near the end of the clip below, as he’s talking up Palin’s foreign policy/national security credentials:

‘I also know, if I might remind you, that she is commander of the Alaska National Guard. In fact, you may know that on Sept. 11 a large contingent of the Alaska Guard deployed to Iraq and her son happened to be one of them. So I think she understands our national security challenges….’

“The ceremony Palin attended at Fort Wainwright last week didn’t involve the Alaska National Guard. Palin’s son is in the Army, and his unit — 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division — deployed to Iraq.”

It’s just one of those sloppy examples of McCain’s near-constant confusion that contributes to the larger problem.

But the underlying point of this mix-up is that McCain is still struggling to convince people that Sarah Palin is a credible voice on foreign policy and national security issues. His arguments thus far have been a) Alaska is near Russia; b) Palin is the ostensible head of the Air National Guard; and c) Palin’s son is a soldier.

Of course, the first is absurd to the point of being insulting; the second overlooks the fact that Palin has no national security responsibilities with the Guard and has never had to make a command decision in her brief gubernatorial tenure; and the third does not constitute knowledge or background on national security issues.

At this point, McCain just ought to stop trying. The whole pitch isn’t going well.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.