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Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2008

MCCAIN'S BOLD STAND AGAINST GLOBAL COOPERATION.... According to an excerpt published by Time's Mark Halperin, John McCain will launch a brand new attack against Barack Obama in a speech to the American Legion National Convention this afternoon.

About a month ago, in his speech in Berlin, Obama reminded his audience, "[L]ook at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." It seemed like an innocuous thing to say, but it's the basis for a new round of criticism from McCain.

"There are those who say that our day as the free world's leader has passed, that our moment is waning. They point to the anti-Americanism that is sometimes heard in Europe and elsewhere, and take this as a sign that America no longer has the strength or the moral credibility to lead. The criticisms tend to pass or quiet down when global threats and dangers appear. In times of trouble, free nations of the world still look to America for leadership, because they know the strength of America remains the greatest force for good on this earth.

"My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America, when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was the picture of confidence, in some ways. But confidence in oneself and confidence in one's country are not the same. And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, quote, 'no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.' Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War -- between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The Cold War ended not because the world stood "as one," but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership."

Putting aside McCain's not-so-subtle reference to his background as a prisoner of war, again, I'm not at all sure what, exactly, McCain is whining about here.

Indeed, McCain seems to have gotten Obama's speech backwards. Obama talked about taking on global challenges -- counter-terrorism, global warming, counter-proliferation, the international drug trade -- and encouraging Europeans to join with the United States because, "No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them."

Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?

Obama's message in Berlin need not be controversial. We saw an American political leader, addressing Europeans waving American flags, encouraging people everywhere to rally to confront problems we can't resolve on our own. As Obama described it, encouraging our allies to follow our lead ultimately serves our interests, and the interests of free people around the globe.

McCain perceives this as lacking "confidence in America." I'm afraid today's bizarre criticism says more about McCain's twisted worldview than Obama's faith in American strength.

Steve Benen 1:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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"Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?"

Because he won't be happy unless he's proving his shriveled manhood by bombing the be-jesus out of someone.

Its time for Obama and the Democrats to take off the gloves. They need to pulverize this creep from now until the pols close.

Posted by: Saint Zak on August 26, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why did John McCain send a woman(Cindy) to do a "man's" job in Georgia? As someone on another thread said, isn't this a little presumptuous of him? She is not the First Lady, yet.
I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on August 26, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

It continues to amaze me how utterly clueless we Democrats are. Steve, you and other commenters like you try to make sense of the arguments the other side is making, not realizing that coherence is not the purpose; attacking is the purpose. What comes through - filtered or unfiltered by a grotesquely irrelevant if not outright destructive media - is not the content but the overall message: forcefulness and strength on one side, weakness, lack of patriotism, and inexperience on the other. If you wonder why, for the first time, Gallup is showing McCain ahead nationally, it's not because McCain is making a persuasive case, but because he is succeeding in making Obama the issue, instead of the last eight years. I don't know why Democrats continue not to get this. The three things we have to do to win is attack, attack, attack. Fail to do that, and you can have logic and even God on your side, but you will not win. It's time for a new party; this one has run out of courage, brains, and steam.

Posted by: Winston on August 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain wants the US to be the world's policeman, alone, and pay for it by cutting taxes. And perhaps recruit more soldiers by having a draft.

Finis!

Posted by: riffle on August 26, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Over to you, Senator Biden...

Posted by: Allan on August 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Cold War ended because Gorbachev was a bodhisattva. Europe is now enjoying the longest period of peace and the greatest prosperity virtually in its entire history. Europeans are not afraid of Russia, they are afraid of warmonger head-in-the-sand doddering old numskull Americans like McPOW. Personally, I think it's jealousy.

Posted by: Goldilocks on August 26, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Winston. It's the Fox News strategy: throw crap at the wall and some of it will stick.

Why does Obama hate America? When will he stop putting our country at risk?
Why does he want to kill children?
When did he stop beating his wife?
When did he stop burning flags and smoking crack?
Why does he not have a pet? Does he want terrorists to kill your pet? Does he want to make it illegal to have a pet?

There are no answers to "questions" like these. They are just designed to stir up hatred and confusion, drive down voter turnout, and allow the GOP to squeak by.

Posted by: Speed on August 26, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe McCain's pandering to the "Get US out of the UN" crowd - they're buying this, right?

Posted by: rusrus on August 26, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard work to run for Prisoner of War of the United States. it's hard work, hard work.

McAce: Noun, Verb, P.O.W.

Posted by: Stevio on August 26, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have to concur with Winston above. Trying to analyze the merit of the content of the R's messages is an exercise in futility. It really doesn't matter what they drivel. They have proven to be disingenuous, lying f*ckwads and will say and do anything to win. As long as they define the method through the attack, attack, and keep attacking school of political discourse, the D's will be forever backpedaling.

But I can understand the head scratching. Despite all the crap that is spewed, I am continually shocked that these people can be such a disgusting combination of stupid, selfish, and dishonorable.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on August 26, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's message in Berlin need not be controversial.

need not be controversial? it's not controversial. it's about as controversial as suggesting that britain, the ussr et al played a role in winning wwii. it's factual. but it doesn't diminish one bit the role the u.S. played. mccain's "criticism" is silly.

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately Winston is correct. Republican attacks work, not because they are logical (they never are) or because they are based in truth (they aren’t). They work because just enough Americans vote purely on their fears.

Democrats need to make McCain look scary. They need to stress his desire to go to war with Iran, his belief that the Cold War needs to restart, his absolutely abysmal record on women’s rights.

I get that Obama genuinely wants to appeal to people’s better nature. I get that he believes American’s can see through this stuff. But the truth is too many American’s do not see through the crap. Too many American’s vote on fear not on hope. In the primaries Obama tended to lose among voters who made up their minds at the last minute. Those people who vote on emotion. Who pick what they perceive as ‘safe’.

We need to drill home to those people just how unsafe, how genuinely scary McCain really is.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 26, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

let him give this speech. Then go all out against it. Ask the American public, through surrogates, candidate speeches, and ads:

1) Wouldn't you rather we were sharing some of the costs in blood and treasure of Afghanistan, the fight against global terrorist networks, and - for now - Iraq with other countries instead of all of the loss coming from Americans?

2) As Jim Leach discussed numerous times in his speech, if multinationalism is so awful, how come Republican President GHW Bush put together a real international coalition for Gulf War 1 and prevailed in a matter of weeks while his wayward son, aided by McCain's support, blustered his way into a much less successful 5 year fiasco going it essentially alone?

I'm reasonably confident in what everyone I know, Dems and Repubs alike, would answer to both.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why would they? Because the PNAC visions of the world is to have an American empire with us ruling the world.

The fact that all the neocons who were in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) are now in our government or advising our government, or downstream to our government is no coincidence. This takeover of all American values for a complete American takeover of the world has just begun.

Why do you think that McCain and his neocon buds are openly threatening Iran and now Russia (throw in North Korea, Syria, and other states which they don't like - states which have stuff we want).

That would be why.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just ask what McCain stands for - dont expect a reply because they dont know.

Posted by: Jet on August 26, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?

Because he's an asshole?

Posted by: Stefan on August 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

"The Cold War ended not because the world stood 'as one,' but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership."

Uh huh.

What McMoron is shovelling is the old "we spent them into the grave" BS. The Soviet Union fell because their people saw us living in "luxury" (compared to them) Obviously McCain has been spending way too much time with the folks who say the UN is practically a satanic cult.

I second Saint Zak's motion to pulverize the creeps. And IMHO McCain's admitted (and repeated) adultery needs to be the wedge to drive between the fundies and the Neocons.

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, the GOP argues in themes and the Dems cry about the facts (if they make a peep at all).

Once again, the GOP understands that if you repeat a theme over and over it becomes accepted, facts notwithstanding. And the Dems? Themes? What themes? We're right on Teh Issues! Just like they were in 2000 and 2004...

Sometimes I think we deserve to lose...

Posted by: Steve in Sacto on August 26, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately Ms Joanne is right. We've lost our superiority because of education, initiative, innovation, and production. Neocons, who are also in favor of offshoring all of the above, seek to regain the upper hand through global military dominance. Our children and grandchildren will be cannon fodder to this worldview.

Posted by: Always hopeful on August 26, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Cosigning Winston's post above.

The validity of McCain's attack is not what matters.

Posted by: douglasfactors on August 26, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK
What McMoron is shovelling is the old "we spent them into the grave" BS.

Ah yes, government debt, a new conservative value. The bamboozled arent able to unbamboozle themselves because they are trained hypocrites. Norquist shrieks for smaller government, they fall in line, and then government grows by leaps and bounds.

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Winston is correct. I hope that Obama doesn't let it pass.
Nice guys finish last!

Posted by: edr on August 26, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Obama want our children to go to madrassas? Why does he want to ban the Christian religion? Why did he help the 9/11 hijackers get into this country? Why did Obama's mother marry a notorious terrorist leader?

You see? Democrats are too nice to play this game. The GOP isn't. The question is how long will Americans keep falling for it as their country disintegrates.

Posted by: Speed on August 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?...I'm afraid today's bizarre criticism says more about McCain's twisted worldview than Obama's faith in American strength."

Actually this criticism says more about the American electorate's self-centered world view. McCain's people carefully carved out the line "...a world that stands as one..." to pile onto the notion, carried forward from previous presidential contests, that, to our demise, Dems will give up American sovereignty to an international body such as the U.N., and therefore, to our demise, our ability to defend ourselves in times of danger will be subservient to the will of “the leftists of old Europe”.

It’s a pro-war, pro-pollution, pro-exploitation position. The Republicans believe that we need to be able to start wars, wreak havoc on the environment and exploit the resources of others (i.e. “defend ourselves”) with impunity (some right-wing radio show hosts are now bragging about the fact that we invaded Iraq for the oil). Such raping and pillaging would be more difficult in a "world that stands as one", and so, Americans are to be convinced that international cooperation would be detrimental to our national interests.

This approach seems to be working. Kerry used the phrase "global test" in one of the debates of '04, and he found himself on the defense.

There's no logic to McCain's attack. It's all about perception.

Frankly, I'm tired of reading post after post about why their attacks are nonsense. They know it's nonsense. We know it's nonsense. But the squishly middle is buying it.

When are we going to go on offense? We have enough material to demolish them -- no falsehoods needed. What are we waiting for?

Posted by: CJ on August 26, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is not bizarre criticism. It is calculated. This is part of a concerted effort by the McCain campaign to invert Obama's candidacy, and substitute a negative frame for everything Obama says and does, and mess with people's perceptions of the reality that they are hearing and seeing.

The goal of this is simple: instead of taking things at face value, voters will be questioning, wondering, doubtful, and obsessed with the side stories rather than the main event.

So far, the GOP's efforts have been working. And the media have been more than willing to serve as accomplices. And look at the aggressively negative frame that they have adopted while reporting Obama's pick of Joe Biden as his running mate, or their coverage the DNC convention ...

So it is time to push back.

-- Bokonon

Posted by: Bokonon on August 26, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on August 26, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Good to see you here, Steve!

The appeal of McCain's vague message is to muddle-headed conservatives who like to think "international cooperation" means wanting to turn America into a commie paradise. Of course, the only thing McCain is really saying (it's like Giuliani with 9/11 in every sentence) is iwannabe-president-'cause-iwuzza-hero. Even real heroism (as opposed to the experiences of long confinement and suffering) doesn't survive wife abandonment, warm embraces of K Street, and financial chicanery very well, so McCain hasn't really been the hero of any thinking person in America for years. The whole McCain/naval hero notion has been affected by other events. Militarism and victimhood have been popular stocks in right wing trade. Their value as stock is falling but habits are strong.

Posted by: PW on August 26, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War"

OK Mr. POW, you were released from your POW confines precisely because two opponents signed a truce and agreed to a release of prisoners. I'd call that a coming together. If we follow the logic of McCain, that we must have on side prevail and the other necessarily defeated, then John may never have been released.

All the POW crap really rings hollow in this argument because his internment was not the result of the policy perspectives that Obama is putting forth, but the direct result of the tired old ideas McCain wants to continue advancing. Dude, your being a POW refutes your whole damn argument.

Posted by: petorado on August 26, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just guessing that, right now, Americans aren't buying Obama's benign internationalism or McCain's delusions of imperial grandeur. What they'd really like is a return to normalcy. But Obama's version sounds far less likely to result in costly entanglements than McCain's, so the choice will be a no-brainer for them.

Posted by: kth on August 26, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?

A Democrat wouldn't. A Republican has to. America as the Biggest and Baddest is all they got. Reagan pulled that wall down with his bare hands, don'tchaknow...

Truthfully, though, McCane's speechwriters were probably just jonesing for a place to stick that "Now I missed a few years of the Cold War..." line, and this looked like the best fit.

Posted by: Doozer on August 26, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

petorado, that suggests a great question for McCain: "Would you prefer that America had continued to fight the Vietnam War, even if it meant you would have been a POW for some time longer?" Because it's a wingnut article of faith that we could have won in Vietnam, but no sane person believes that. So most likely McCain would say "I would have been proud to make the ultimate sacrifice if we could have stayed the course in Vietnam", and everyone would realize that he is crazy.

Posted by: kth on August 26, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

of course, mhr, no Democrat would have offered the simplistic "bring 'em on!" or "you're either with us or against us!" either.

Reagan had the good sense to put his oratorical skills to use jumping on an existing wave and riding it into history. That hardly makes him a unilateral commie killer. More often than not, unilateral testosterone-overdosed fist-shaking does a lot more harm than good.

For all of his other faults, Bush's father (with assist from Schwartzkopf and Powell - two people who had lived through bad war driven by bad politics) understood the benefits of team-building and got quick, relatively low-casualty results in Gulf War I.

"American leadership" and "multilateralism" are not, by the way, opposites as McCain would like to portray them. Amerca can use its leadership to build multilateral coalitions and to move them in desired directions. The only people who think "leadership" and "mulitlateralism" are antonyms are those who lack the leadership skills to convince and motivate others.

Wanna show how great and strong America really is? Show you can get the rest of the world to voluntarily follow its lead because they realize it is heading in the right direction.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 26, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

" As a matter of fact at the time Democrats scolded Reagan for his lack of tact. He was rude
It was pretty damn obvious that Mr. Gorbachev was already working toward tearing down the wall. Reagan huffing and puffing did not cause the walls to fall.

Posted by: msw on August 26, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

hm. the mhr comment i was responding to seems to have become a mere asterisk of itself. . .

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why does McCain pay for a media operation when he has Mark Halperin to do it for him for free?

Posted by: Steve M. on August 26, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

zeitgeist, on your question 2) "..how come Republican President GHW Bush put together a real international coalition for Gulf War 1 and prevailed in a matter of weeks while his wayward son, aided by McCain's support, blustered his way into a much less successful 5 year fiasco going it essentially alone?" the answer is that Gulf War 1 was a UN supported repulsion of unprovoked invasion (of Kuwait by Iraq), whereas his 'wayward son's' escapade was an unprovoked invasion of Iraq by the US, unsupported by the UN.

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

We saw an American political leader, addressing Europeans waving American flags

I'm not sure we did... from interviews shown on UK TV it seems that there were quite a few Americans in the audience (probably tourists), and I suspect it was they who were waving American flags - not because I can't believe a single European still has positive feelings towards the US, but because Europeans are generally far less likely to be caught waving flags of any colour outside of sporting events - and I would imagine that the waving of another country's flag is unusual in any circumstances, whatever the citizenship. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the assumption that they were Europeans felt like it needed challenging.

Posted by: NewHorizons on August 26, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. zeitgeist, that was me! Hi! (This site has a problem remembering my name, and I forgot to re-enter it.)

Posted by: Goldilocks on August 26, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "I'm afraid today's bizarre criticism says more about McCain's twisted worldview than Obama's faith in American strength."

McCain's "bizarre criticism" says more about McCain's confidence that he can spout whatever inane BS he wants and the corporate-owned mass media will let him get away with it, and indeed will endlessly regurgitate the same scripted talking points.

And why not? As wholly-owned subsidiaries of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc., both the mass media and John McCain serve the same masters.

How many more presidential campaigns in which the corporate-owned mass media works hand-in-hand with the Republican Party and the openly partisan right-wing media to character-assassinate the Democratic candidate and glorify the Republican candidate do we have to endure, before "sensible liberal" pundits realize that the mass media is not engaged in promoting the public interest by informing and educating the American people, but rather is engaged in propagandizing the American people in support of their owners' corporatist agenda?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 26, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

McCain cries like a little bitch about everything. Thank God he didn't cry this much when he was in the Hannoi Hilton, they probably would have shot him in the head just to shut him up.

Posted by: Bill B. on August 26, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I know it is hard to disbelieve foreigners waving American flags, must be a good thing, right? Well, let's see: When American conservatives wave the American flags they are accused of misguided patriotism. But, when Europeans wave them it must show an un-ending admiration for America and its practices? Not really, the ONLY reason Europeans waved American flags at Obama's rally's is that they know and understand that with an Obama Presidency America under his policies of so called "global cooperation" US influence will decline - by definition - and European power and influence will increase - by virtue of more participation in "global affairs", often before left solely to US Administrations to resolve, Democratic or Republican. For those who are banking on Europe to make this world a better place through "global cooperation", surely do not know their history. Be careful what you wish for. Or, maybe those were just misguided Republicans on vacation in those crowds waving American flags.

Posted by: soothsayer on August 26, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps I'm wrong, but the assumption that they were Europeans felt like it needed challenging.

Nope, most of them were Germans.

Posted by: Stefan on August 26, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

McCain chastizes Obama for being presumptious, by declaring in Berlin that he is "a citizen of the world", and then a few days later, McCain declares that "he speaks for all Americans", when he says that "we are all Georgians",(not just his fully paid up gun toting, lobbyist/ foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann. In other words, according to McCain we are all Georgians, or citizens of whatever other foreign country is giving his advisors extensive lobby fees, but not more broadly citizens of the world.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on August 26, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

My friends, John McCain was trying to inject the point that Barack Obama talks too much about the world's nations cooperating, and not enough about the United States running things. It's all very well to speak of the great nations coming together with one voice to identify common goals and aspirations, and to collaborate on solutions - but America expects to have the final word and to exercise majority shareholder's privilege to curb the over-exuberant.

One of the most lasting lessons of leadership I learned is that good leaders lead by example. Surely America does not reasonably expect other nations to follow its most recent examples? How can you exercise global leadership when your policy is "Do as I say, not as I do"?

John McCain is trying to be all things to all observers - simultaneously proud and humble, kind and ruthless, generous and thrifty. It remains to be seen if voters will discern that this is a puppet-show before or after the election.

Posted by: Mark on August 26, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Not to insult my many German friends, but sometimes I thing that McCain should just stick a spiked helmet on his head, and declare himself Kaiser. He's got the temperament for it; he's old enough and ugly enough, and he's got beer in his family.

Well---near-beer, actually. He might look good on a can of that toxic Bush* swill....

*Yes. I know that I mis-spelled the name of that gods-awful beer that his wife peddles when she's not busy with playing her teensy-weensy violin for the Georgians. It is intentional....

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

soothsayer, that seems to be a needlessly zero-sum view of the world -- that "global cooperation" means, "by definition," that US influence declines.

ever heard the playground taunt "yeah? you and who's army?"

the bigger "army" of allies we lead the more influence we have. you really think that at this moment we have more global influence than at the height of the Cold War? it looks to me like we have less influence over former Soviet sphere states, less influence over "old Europe" than when our alliance was closer, and less influence over "non-aligned" nations. where is all of that influence we allegedly have from going all renegade under BushCo?

it is not zero-sum. if we have the ability and leadership skills to be the leader of a coalition of countries with a common interest in a particular problem, we are much stronger (and therefore have more influence) than "leading" ourselves. it is quite possible that the influence we "lose" by sharing leadership in the coalition is more than outweighed by the influence we gain through the added strength of the coalition.

this is the fundamental problem with the Bushie oversimplification of the world. not everything is some macho mano-a-mano one-winner, one-loser game.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 26, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, I love this headline, why can't that be the Obama camp's response?

"I congratulate John McCain for his bold stand against international cooperation."

Spice it up, Barack! Make it funny! Hire a writer from the Daily Show if you have to. Satire is a powerful thing.

Posted by: mk on August 26, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

You ask, "Why would a man running to be Leader of the Free World publicly reject the notion of international cooperation on global challenges?"

Maybe he believes Obama's position implies the U.S. is not the all-powerful superpower, that "America's best days are behind us", and therefore that Obama is unpatriotic. By this way of thinking, the admission that the U.S. might need international cooperation is to say the U.S. is inadequate and insufficient, and that the very suggestion is anti-American.

Posted by: Mark Kolmar on August 26, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain has seen his better days and his flip-flopping and forgetfulness are making him look like it's time for his retirement.

John McCain had better be careful or Mitt Romney will strap him to the top of his station wagon and go on vacation.

Posted by: MarkH on August 26, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

This has been an under-reported aspect of conservative politics and government -- the extent to which conservative political needs contaminate sound policy and good government. In this case, because Republicans paint themselves as tough guys against "weak" Democrats, and have won elections as the party that "shoots first and asks quetions later," Republicans are largely unable once in office to wage an intelligent and coherent foreign policy that defuses foreign crisis using force as a last, not a first, resort.

Scott McClellen finally understood this dynamic quite well when he admitted that Bush and Rove made winning the war in Iraq much more difficult once they cynically used the war as a wedge issue in 2002. By politicizing the war, Bush was unable to admit mistakes as a prelude to adjusting tactics. That meant our brave troops were condemned to pay the price in their blood for Bush's stubborn insistance that America "stay the course." That was a political decision, not a military one.

And in 2008, could it be that McCain is actually endangering national security for selfish gain by raising the temperature on these international incidents just to ridicule Obama for wanting to talk with our adversaries. From McCain's perspective, it makes perfect sense as a campaign tactic to make a cold war "hot."

Posted by: Ted Frier on August 27, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK
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