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July 11, 2007

McCain: Give 'Em Straight Talk Until They Bleed

One of my few positive posts about John McCain. Give the man his due: While seven Republican "jackasses" defect to support a withdrawal even as the early indications point to increasing success in Iraq (Hagel, Snowe, and Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Gordon Smith (Ore.), John Sununu (N.H.) and John Warner (Va.) -- all up for reelection in 2008, except for Snowe), McCain gives them hell -- well, a too-polite version of hell for my tastes -- on the Senate floor. Worth watching.

Bill Kristol suggests that McCain suspend his campaign temporarily to devote himself fully to this fight. I would suggest that's the right thing for the war, the country, and McCain himself. He's currently going nowhere, and doesn't have the cash on hand to do much of anything.

But what if he pulled a page from Thompson and campaigned without campaigning? People are frustrated by Thompson's ever-delayed declaration of candidacy, but why the hell should he be in a rush to declare? He's gaining support, even becoming the front-runner, without declaring. Why screw with that magic earlier than necessary?

John McCain could do something somewhat similar. True, he's already declared (several times, actually), and can't un-declare. But it would improve his Statesmanship Rating to unselfishly (but cannily) declare he will not campaign on his own behalf (which he can't do much of anyway, and isn't helping him any besides) while he crusades for victory in Iraq. That might remind some of us what we found appealing about him in 2000.

Some advice: If John McCain is all about the "Straight Talk," it's time for him to publicly call out the craven politics behind the GOP Senators' sudden embrace of defeat. He chewed out Voinovich in private -- but straight talk behind closed doors is not straight talk for the American public.

For God's sakes, McCain, your ire is palpable when your fellow Republicans cross you on far less critical issues -- isn't it time to unleash some of that Mad Maverick Mojo on the GOP's Defeatist Bloc? Especially when it is so glaringly obvious -- no doubt to you yourself -- that their sell-out of our troops, putting them in even more danger by announcing to Al Qaeda that a full-out Jihadi Tet will have precisely the result they've long sought, is animated not by a concern for your fellow beloved serviceman or America's national interest but to position themselves better for their upcoming election?

Where is the anger? Where are the charges of corrupt motives and craven impulses? Now is the time to slam your fellow Republicans. Now is the time it will be most helpful.

And now is the time, coincidentally, it will help you the most, especially with your presidential rivals taking a, shall we say, more nuanced view of the surge and the war.

You need separation. Now is the time to separate. You need an issue that actually resonates with Republican primary voters. This is that issue.

You need to help America push forward at its last chance at victory, its last chance to avoid a defeat of potentially catastrophic dimensions. Now is your moment to write yourself into the annals of American history, whether you actually become President or not.

Goddamnit, get angry. You get angry about "special interests" easily enough. Is there a narrower or more selfish "special interest" than whether a single Senator improves his approval rating by a mere 3 or 4 percent in an election he's more than likely to win anyway?

Enough with the assumptions and statements of the good faith of your opponents. They are not acting in good faith and you know it -- they are undercutting any chance the surge might have to actually yield victory by proposing future drawdowns while we're in the fight of our fucking lives. They are proposing this now for one reason only: Because the Senate is about to go into recess and they want to be on the record as opposing the surge during their time campaigning back at home.

No one listens to Bush anymore. The liberal media, and moderates, do still listen to you. Make yourself heard, loudly and angrily.


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posted by Ace at 03:46 PM

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