Sunday, November 19, 2006

O, Mr. McCain - How Soon We Change

If there is one fact that has been evidenced by the need for the Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Survey group, it is that for the first three years of the Iraq war, President Bush has failed to employ a strategy of diplomacy that would have included speaking with all nations to secure a level of international cooperation required to gain us an advantage in the overall war on terror. From the start of the Iraq war, Senator John McCain of Arizona has not been as strongly forthcoming on Bush's leadership shortcomings as we would expect a leader of honesty, strength and conviction should be.

It was just a little over two years ago at the RNC convention that Senator McCain heaped such unrealistic and undue praise upon Bush, saying:
Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war...[Democrats] emphasize that military action alone won't protect us, that this war has many fronts: in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy. [..] We agree. [..] That is what the president believes. That is what the president believes. And thanks to his efforts, we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe..[...] Our president will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all. [...]And while this war has many components, we can't make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct. This is not just an expression of strength. It is a measure of our wisdom. That's why I commend to my country the re-election of President Bush, and the...and the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our vice president, Dick Cheney.
Today on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senator McCain said that Iraq, on its present course - long and stubbornly held and defended by the Commander in Chief - is "doomed to failure."

This quote Senator McCain is in regard to our troops:
"They're fighting and dying for a failed policy."
It's getting closer to 2008. I'm sure that Senator McCain would like you to totally blank out what he said just over two years ago when we all could see that the Iraq policy was on the Nowhere Road.

How soon we change - the fickle - the ambitious.

Unless we're not supposed to take him at his word, it appears that Senator McCain had some horrific intuition in 2004 about what constitutes good, trustworthy, and solid national leadership. Look at the kind of leadership that he so fully supported in his public RNC Convention speech when he so strongly recommended Bush for four more years.

"I’m not sure that it’s turned into a civil war."

Senator John McCain on Iraq, Meet the Press, August 20, 2006

Either he couldn't be honest with us about the obvious shortcomings of the Bush policy on Iraq in 2004 or he honestly thought that the Bush leadership of the Iraq war was solid and worthy of his trust.

Either way, come 2008, Americans will want an honest president who would surely know poor leadership and immediately call it out when he (or she) sees it. Senator McCain loses on both ends of this spectrum.

Consider what I wrote on September 1, 2004:
I have not lost hope, but I've lost faith and trust in the Bush administration. I can't look, with realistic hope, to the future and imagine this leader, GW Bush, forming the strength-in-alliance necessary to defeat the terror that is stalking not only our nation, but the world. Some of the world's leaders are not acting in their own nation's behalf by joining in this fight, and while John McCain said we have every right to expect they should, GW Bush (who should be the one to set the best example for the world) has never found a way to convince world leaders to trust him.

I don't trust George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief. I believe he's an ignorant fellow who's in way over his head and that frightens me and by God, it should frighten you

The question for 2008: Who will make us proud again?

The 2006 elections proved that Americans can no longer accept gray areas or hedging and equivocation on Iraq. Senator McCain has been guilty of the kind of willful perversion of reality that has driven clear-thinking citizens to vote for anyone other than Republicans. Too many times we've heard McCain refusing to call out the Bush administration on its dangerous incompetence. Yet, the closer we get to 2008, the more he backs away from his own public statements about supporting President Bush. McCain spoke highly of his trust in Bush's leadership on Iraq at the 2004 RNC convention, yet on August 20, 2006,

"It’s never been the right strategy as far as I’m concerned, since the beginning when I came back from my first trip to Iraq after every military person, including the British, told me that we didn’t have sufficient troops to control the situation."

Senator McCain, NBC Meet the Press, August 20, 2006

*yet he publicly upheld and praised the Bush strategy at the RNC convention almost two years after the war had begun.

he told NBC's David Gregory that he had anticipated many problems from the get-go because of the insufficient number of troops in Iraq. Why didn't he say so in 2004 when we all had a chance for different leadership? Because it would have come from a Democratic leader. In rational essence. that has made McCain a rubber stamp on the miserably failed Bush Iraq policy, even as his lips speak other words.

Hiding behind flowery rhetoric in his RNC Convention speech, a cleverly partisan Senator McCain gave Bush political power to perpetuate failure in Iraq. McCain should be made sorry that he ever sucked up to Bush. The right Democratic candidate in 2008 will chew Senator McCain up on this point in the 2008 presidential debates, providing that Senator McCain makes it that far. He could wind up humiliated mincemeat if the right Democrat knows how to deftly wield the political grinder.


Benny said...

Jude, in what is reported in the press, you are correct. My opinion of McCain: he reminds me what the character Gus McCrae said about Jake Spoon in one of the finest TV mini-series I ever saw and have on DVD, "Lonesome Dove", based on Larry McMurtry's best selling novel.

"Jake goes wherever the wind blows." Jake ended up going down because of his lack of principles and leadership when he got into a "bad bunch."

McCain had to lower his tone about gays today since the gay marriage ban didn't pass in his state 3 weeks ago.

McCain has always been that way to me. He never had principles to run on. It's like someone said recently, it's McCain 3.0 and there may be a McCain 3.5 too.

GHWB did the same when he ran for President. He was pro-choice in 1980; then in 1988, he was anti-choice.