Saturday, May 03, 2008

The bold Maverick whines about the mean Democrats picking on him

This image I captured today from the Arizona Republic's John McCain Report site is unintentionally appropriate. McCain's defense of his 100-years-in-Iraq remarks was illustrated at the time I took the screen-shot by an image of a rocket in flight.

Notice that the AP story has the famous Straight Talker saying, "You have seen an ad campaign that is mounted against me that says I wanted to stay and fight in Iraq and fight for 100 years". Actually neither the earlier Democratic National Committee (DNC) ad nor the ad. says that. They quote the Maverick's own words about 100 years in Iraq.

Now I call the Maverick "100-Years-War McCain" because his policies for Iraq and elsewhere pretty much envision endless war. But he was referring to the ads, not my blog posts.

Josh Marshall at TPM Media has been watching the ad and the Great American Straight Talker's response to it over the last few days. In an interesting twist, he's also been looking at what the economic cost would be for the Maverick's utopian fantasy of a peaceful occupation of Iraq for 100 years, e.g., More on the Bucks for McCain's War Presence 05/03/08. Marshall points out in Hook, Line & Sinker 04/28/08:

The truth is that McCain's wishful thinking doesn't change the fact that he's saying he's happy to have US troops stay in Iraq essentially forever (a century, in political terms, is essentially forever), something very few Americans think makes any sense. But the [DNC's first "100 years" ad] ad doesn't even get into this question of definitions or McCain's special pleading about whether it's 'war' or 'occupation' or 'presence' or whatever. The ad literally just has McCain speaking in his own voice.
But he also reminds us not to get tripped up in the Straight Talker's comma-dancing over what he's saying about the Iraq War:

The rub here is this: McCain does not want to leave Iraq. Period. He wants tens of thousands of troops to stay in Iraq permanently. He made a big point of this during the primaries when it was politically advantageous to do so. And he followed up with a qualifier explaining that it's okay because our occupation of Iraq will soon be like our presence in Germany and Japan where nobody gets killed. But there's little reason to believe our occupation of Iraq will ever be like that. We tried this in Lebanon; the French tried this in Algeria; the British even tried it in Iraq. Western countries have a very poor history garrisoning Muslim countries in the Middle East. Iraq isn't like Germany or Japan, not simply because of the history of the country but because both countries accepted decades-long US deployments as a counterweight to threatening neighbors. The relevant point is that McCain believes American troops should stay in Iraq permanently. His pipe dream about Iraq turning into Germany doesn't change that. It just shows his substitution of wishful thinking for sound strategic judgment.

If there is an unfair supposition at work here, there is a simple way to find out. Someone should ask McCain how long he's willing to have us stay in Iraq even if we are sustaining casualties. Since he believes it is in our strategic interests to stay there on a permanent basis I doubt very much he'll say that in that case he'd only be comfortable staying two or five or some other relatively short span of years. That is because he believe we should stay there on a permanent basis, ideally with no casualties but with casualties if that's what it takes. The New Yorker's Rick Hertzberg put it all quite elegantly back in January just after McCain started saying this. "McCain," he wrote, "wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal - that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay."

McCain's position is miles away from where the American people are on Iraq. It's no mystery why his campaign doesn't want the Democrats to be harping on this point. But the AP doesn't need to spin or fib on McCain's behalf. (my emphasis in bold)
I hope the Democrats and their campaign consultants are noticing that the 100-years-in-Iraq ads are working. In Anti-McCain ad seems to work at The Swamp blog, Frank James reports on the results of a marketing study by HCD Research, Inc. on the DNC 100-tear-war ad :

The Democratic National Commitee ad that attacks Sen. John McCain for his 100-years-in-Iraq remark seemed to have the desired effect with some of the all-important voters who see it, making those voters look less favorably on the senator from Arizona.

That's one conclusion to draw from a study of how some voters reacted to the DNC ad that edited snippets of McCain with video of violence in Iraq.

HCD Reseach Inc., a market research company, found that independent voters went from 50 pecent who saw McCain in a "mostly favorable" light before they saw the ad, to 40 percent after they viewed the ad.
The Democrats need to keep McCain's open-ended support for the Iraq War front-and-center until the November election.

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • The US and war in Somalia
  • Piling On
  • Worst President Ever
  • Economics 101
  • West Coast dock workers protest Iraq War
  • A Rational Response
  • May 1, here and elsewhere
  • Mission Accomplished (continued)
  • Ha Ha Ha, No More Taxpayer Funded Guzzlers For You...
  • Andrew Bacevich on a principled foreign policy



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