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September 29, 2008

Is This Why McCain "Lost" the Debate?

I've been thinking along these lines:

As for McCain trying to clarify what [Palin] says in the clip about cross-border raids into Pakistan, its high time for him to knock off this dopey little game hes playing with Obama about not telegraphing our moves. Everyone knows were already conducting those raids. Everyone knows weve sent drones over the border repeatedly to try to decapitate Al Qaeda. Persisting in this nonsense when his own running mate and George Bush agree with The One only lets Obama outhawk him, which isnt something McCain can afford, needless to say.

McCain was trying to make a great point, but didn't make it. The point was that Obama was talking tough like a child -- as George Bush has frequently been accused of the left of talking.

The point he should have made is that Obama is constantly talking about invading a nuclear-armed country of 170 million which is also a critical ally on the War on Terror, just to make himself sound butch. He should have noted that if he himself (McCain) talked this way about Pakistan, they would immediately make a sharp diplomatic protest and threaten to end cooperation with the US. There is a reason Pakistan doesn't so protest when Obama says this: Because they don't believe him. If Pakistan doesn't believe Obama, why should the US voter?

The trouble is that the public is not very nuanced. We heard McCain say that a President shouldn't say things like this, but then add, "But of course you do what you have to do." Basically, saying of course he'd do this; he just doesn't want to humiliate and threaten an ally by saying so directly, making killing Al Qaeda more problematic.

But the public, I fear, only heard that Obama will kill bin Ladin (who's dead, by the way) while McCain won't answer either way.

McCain should be pounding Obama on this, but in the right way. And the right way is not to allow this absurd insinuation lie. Obama is making the most ridiculous assertion imaginable -- that Bush isn't really doing just this to kill not only bin Ladin (who's dead, by the way) but a lot of medium-level Al Qaeda, and of course McCain would do similarly. (Indeed, it's likely he encouraged it.)

McCain should call him out-- "Of course I would do that. I tried to keep it quiet, as any serious candidate for president would, but since you are determined to play tough even at the expense of the very military action you so tough-guy-ishly proclaim, I'll have to say it too. Of course I'd kill bin Ladin if I had the chance, without notifying the Pakistan government. But by proclaiming this publicly, we've now unfortunately made Pakistan's cooperation more difficult to secure."

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posted by Ace at 01:47 PM

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