JOHN MCCAIN, MEET MAJ. MICHAEL ALMY…. My problem with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is not limited to the fact that he’s wrong. The more glaring issue is his habit of saying things that are blatantly untrue while pretending to know what he’s talking about.

Going into the debate over the defense authorization bill, McCain told a national television audience that Republicans “never put any extraneous items on the bill because it was so important to defense and we just didn’t allow it.” He was blatantly lying.

Yesterday, after McCain’s filibuster blocked a debate on funding the military, the senator argued with reporters, insisting that the military does not “seek to find out someone’s sexual orientation.” When journalists noted evidence to the contrary, McCain said the reporters didn’t know what they were talking about. “Ma’am, I know the military very well and I know what’s being done…. I don’t care what you say. I know it’s a fact.”

The more reporters tried to point to reality, the more belligerent the conservative senator became.

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Now, it’s hard to say with certainty whether McCain is dumb or lying. But his cantankerous bullying doesn’t change the fact that he’s just clueless, saying things that aren’t true.

Indeed, last night Rachel Maddow interviewed Air Force Maj. Michael Almy (ret.), who was removed from duty at the height of the war in Iraq because the military went through his private emails to determine whether he’s gay. (via John Cole)

What’s more, Almy testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and told McCain directly about his experience.

McCain’s anti-gay attitudes are offensive, and the contempt he shows for those who dare to challenge him is nearly as annoying. But it’s the certainty he brings to blatant falsehoods that really rankles. The media still tends to treat McCain as some kind of credible figure, especially on military matters, but the truth is, the vast majority of the time, the guy just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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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.