Tuesday, January 08, 2008

# Posted 5:27 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

I'M NOT THE LEAST BIT OBJECTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO JOHN McCAIN: He is not a perfect man. But I believe he is great one. I am both excited and afraid of seeing the results from New Hampshire. For the moment, I thought I would revisit the one chance I had to talk to Sen. McCain personally.

In April, I participated in a conference call with the Senator:

I began by telling the Senator that I am a very strong supporter of his. I said it because it's true, and because I wanted to establish pre-emptively that my implied criticism should be taken as constructive. I told Sen. McCain I wanted to ask him about a front-page story in Saturday's Post entitled "McCain to Stake Bid on Need to Win in Iraq". Then I read the following sentence from the story:

It is a gamble at a critical time for the former front-runner for the Republican nomination, the political equivalent of a "double-down" in blackjack, as one person close to the campaign put it.

It certainly is a gamble, since the surge may fail, as McCain himself has observed. Thus, if the situation in Iraq is grim in late 2007, will the situation also be grim for McCain's candidacy?...

I was hoping the article was wrong because I don't see how it makes sense to double down on the success of something as uncertain as the surge. I would argue that McCain is the strongest candidate on every aspect of national security and US foreign policy. Thus, I don't want him knocked out of the race just because things go worse in Iraq.

Strategically, I think McCain needs to lay out how he would approach the situation in Iraq if the surge does fail. Right now he is on the horns of a dilemma. He says that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq. But if the surge goes poorly and 85% of Americans want to withdraw, will McCain still be committed to an increasingly hopeless quest for victory? At what point must a sincere commitment to principle give way to the demands of an overwhelming majority of the electorate?

McCain's answer to my question was honest, perhaps recklessly so. First, he said we shouldn't pay attention to anything attributed to anonymous individuals "close to his campaign". The bottom line is that he is going to do what he believes is right, regardless of whether it is the best thing for his candidacy.

As ye sow, so ye shall reap.


(8) opinions -- Add your opinion

"I'M NOT THE LEAST BIT OBJECTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO JOHN McCAIN: He is not a perfect man. But I believe he is great one."

What makes McCain a great man?
Reason magazine eloquently sums up why I'm NOT a McCain fain.

He is not a perfect man. But I believe he is great one.

What convinced you, David? Embracing Bush? Flipflopping on the Bush tax cuts? Sucking up to Jerry Falwell? Saying it would be okay to stay in Iraq for 100 years?

Do tell.
Randy, it's late where I am. If you just wanted to list the reasons you don't like McCain, we can leave it at that. If you really think I don't have good responses to your one-sided nitpicks, just post another comment and specify what you need 'splainin about.

I have been reading blogs for the past two weeks from partisans from both sides and I cannot tell you how disconcerting it is. A Ron Paul partisan said that Ron Paul has never lied. One Hillary partisan extols her virtues so much, I'm beginning to think that when she pukes he holds her hair out of the way. Another speaks so highly of Obama, I'm just waiting for him to cross the Hudson on foot.

I'm an Edwards supporter, but I can maintain a critical enough distance to say that I really wish he'd shut up about his father having been a mill worker.

As for the surge, what I find frankly tedious is the facile view you seem to be taking towards it: yes the violence is down, but as far as I can tell there is absolutely zero effort being made from the government towards political reconciliation. Also, one of the resons why there is less violence in Baghdad is essentially because in many neighborhoods they have been "cleansed" of Sunnis.

As for McCain, while I often disagreed with him, I used to respect him. Two things turned me against him: his flip-flopping on Jerry Falwell and the Bob Jones University speech. Falwell and I go way back, by the way and his racist support of the apartheid regime in South Africa offended me. If it's "nitpicking" for me to criticize McCain for reversing himself on Falwell, then I hope the God I worship will forgive me for finding fault with McCain for embracing an apologist for apartheid.
That's quite a stretch, Randy. You want to tar McCain with the brush of racism for patching things up with Jerry Falwell more than a decade after the end of apartheid?

I guess that means every Democrat who is on decent terms with Al Sharpton is an unreconstructed racist because Sharpton spent the 1980s as a race-baiting demagogue.

And what did McCain talk about in his trio of speeches at Liberty, Columbia and the New School? Tolerance. Where did he get the most hostile reception? At the New School.

As for my "facile" view of the surge, perhaps you should reserve the heavy ammunition for after you've read a little more about Iraq. Here's one major aspect of reconciliation for you to chew on: The Maliki government is gradually accepting Sunni tribal forces (which we call CLCs) into the national security forces. In other words, the tribal forces that have been essential to the success of the surge have begun to be integrated into the national government.

Critical distance is admirable Randy, so dare I suggest that you establish a little more critical distance from the rightness of your own positions?
This is why I don't support McCain, Huckabee, Giuliani, or Thompson, and why I support Mitt Romney:

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