There's so much tension in the air now as we trip into tomorrow that folks are forgetting to laugh a bit about the sillier part of elections.
I kind of liked this montage that Media Matters put together on McCain -- but I also think it's a little substantively off target. But for a good chuckle, watch this:
Darn it. . .I am one of those who thinks that John McCain is a maverick. Sometimes he bucks my way, sometimes towards the evangelicals, sometimes towards the realists, and sometimes towards the neoconservatives.
According to National Interest Senior Editor Ximena Ortiz in her just out piece, "Inside Track: Deconstructing McCain":
McCain has earned a reputation as a maverick and independent thinker due to his support of legislation on the environment, banning the use of torture on detainees, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, and reforming campaign finance laws and opposing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
That would leave him well poised to win over the much-coveted moderate and independent voters in a general election, should he win his party's nomination. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cited such initiative in endorsing McCain. "There are people out there that talk about reaching across the aisle, but [McCain] has shown the action over and over again," he said. McCain has also distinguished himself through his honorable service, involving much sacrifice, to his country during the Vietnam War.
Ortiz neglects to mention McCain's strong support of stem cell research in her list, but it's a good roster over all of McCain's marquee efforts that reach across party lines. I have lauded McCain for these.
But the Iraq War is a big dividing line. McCain is for it and perhaps even widening the theater of conflict -- and doesn't see Iraq as I do as the largest single strategic catastrophe that America has embarked on in decades if not the last century.
Ximena Ortiz then changes course and relentlessly pounds McCain for not only the war but other revisionism the campaign has engaged in regarding his own policy positions.
But on the subject of America's Middle East conflicts present and future, she writes about Senator McCain:
On Iran and its nuclear program, McCain has been so flippantly bellicose -- singing "Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" to the Beach Boys tune -- that some conservatives have warned that a President McCain would take America to war with Iran.
McCain last Sunday said: "There's going to be other wars... I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars."
Presumably, McCain was suggesting his view that a war with Iran was inevitable. When asked by Joe Scarborough about McCain's statement, Pat Buchanan replied: "That is straight talk... You get John McCain in the White House, and I do believe we will be at war with Iran." Buchanan said, "That's one of the things that makes me very nervous about him," adding, "There's no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president... His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He's in Putin's face, he's threatening the Iranians, we're going to be in Iraq a hundred years."
But if McCain's strategic vision is to strike Iran militarily, he has not explained how that might be achieved without further endangering the already failing U.S. mission next door in Iraq, which he also believes in continuing without a timetable.
McCain's framing of the Iraq War and the inevitability of a war with Iran feels like someone who has not gotten beyond Vietnam -- and whose intellectual prism on the issue is shaped by the view that America took a wrong course when it finally took steps to end its proxy wars in Southeast Asia.
America has had enough of fighting old wars. George W. Bush fought a war with Iraq that was in part motivated by some in his administration who felt the job was not finished during the tenure of Bush's father. Fighting a new round of wars in the Middle East through a Vietnam-fashioned framework of scores to settle is incredibly wrong-headed.
I've admired Senator McCain for many of his maverick positions and will continue to do so -- but hugging the Iraq War and essentially calling for more as an election tactic -- undermines America's interests and American global credibility.
Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note