John McCain's not an idiot. I'm sure he knows that it's not safe in Baghdad, but he has to pretend that it's safe in Baghdad because that's what the GOP base wants to hear.
We keep hearing that a significant majority of Americans think the war was a mistake and want the troops out. And that's true. But those figures are an average of all voters and are pretty deceptive, because most Republicans are still gung-ho about the war. In fact, two-thirds of likely GOP primary voters support what Bush is doing in Iraq. They support the surge. They've swallowed so much Kool-Aid that any change in their diet would kill them.
What this means is, every GOP candidate has to say the war is going great, whether they believe it or not, at least until the primaries are over. Giuliani's very rah-rah about the war, Romney doesn't like to talk about it, but then he has his own religious jihad to worry about. But none of them will be able to say anything other than "the surge is working," or "if we leave now things will get really bad" because the base won't stand for it. And this means they're going to look increasingly ridiculous and out-of-touch as the months go on. And there's no way they can "move to the middle" once the primary is over on an issue like this.
Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" which airs every Friday at 11PM