Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

No! Don’t Retract It!

It is reported that John McCain acknowledges that one of the central things he must do as a candidate for the presidency is to convince Americans that there is a reason to continue with the war on terror. When asked what happens if he can’t do that, he is reported to have said, "I lose." I gotta say . . . I like that. I suppose there’s a "rabbit’s foot" sense in which acknowledging the possibility of defeat can be considered the wrong way to conduct a campaign. But I like the very clear acknowledgment from McCain that this is his task before November. It is and it must be. He has to make the case for this war because we must go on fighting it.

And, whatever Barack Obama may say about what he’ll do as President, I really don’t believe he’ll simply stop. It’s juvenile to believe that it’s even possible. McCain can demonstrate (in a way that is not boring, please) exactly why it will be impossible to simply stop fighting. Then he can show why it would be irresponsible. Finally, he can ask the American people whether they want a guy with no experience and no heart for the fight leading the inevitable fight. If they are with him in understanding why the fight is here whether we like it or not, then it’s hard to make a reasonable case that Barack Obama is the better man for that job.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Here's what the article actually says: ROCKY RIVER, Ohio - John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, "then I lose. I lose," the Republican said. He quickly backed off that remark.

The war on terror, which should be understood as a war on radical Islamism, is not identical with the current war in Iraq. But McCain and Obama are perfectly capable of sorting this out and sharpening the discussion. It's the debate we need: how best to defend the country against very real enemies.

I thought the President, by naming the Axis of Evil, has presented the war on terror as a war against terror itself, not simply fundamentalist Islam. While you may take a different view, I believe that is the way the war has been fought now for seven years and how the administration sees it. Future administrations may see it differently too.

A very foolish remark by McCain, and perhaps also reflective of ambivalence about winning. The mistake of a candidate who is so proud of being a man of substance that he places electability second. A nominee owes it to the scores of millions of Americans of his party who depend on him for representation to place electability FIRST. Absolute candor is rarely advisable in politics, which is above all a PERFORMANCE. McCain performed very poorly with this remark, and damned well SHOULD have retracted it.

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