McCain's Disregard for the Public on Iraq


Every time John McCain aims low in his increasingly belligerent campaign rhetoric, I think about an item Time’s Joe Klein wrote about a month ago. Klein, a McCain admirer, predicted that McCain would avoid the cheap and pathetic style of campaigning we’re seeing now. McCain, Klein said, “sees the tawdry ceremonies of politics — the spin and hucksterism — as unworthy.” If he doesn’t, “McCain will have to live with the knowledge that in the most important business of his life, he chose expediency over honor. That’s probably not the way he wants to be remembered.”



Klein’s optimism is looking shaky. Consider how John McCain chose to honor Memorial Day.

“[Barack Obama] really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time,” the Arizona senator added. “If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn’t had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly.” […]


The Iraq war, which polls have shown that most of the country opposes, is shaping up to be a defining issue in the November presidential election. McCain, who wrapped up the GOP nomination in March, supports continued military involvement in Iraq; Obama, who has all but clinched the Democratic nomination, has called for withdrawing U.S. troops.


“For him to talk about dates for withdrawal, which basically is surrender in Iraq after we’re succeeding so well is, I think, really inexcusable,” said McCain, who has been to Iraq eight times, most recently in March.

Now, I’ve come to expect cheap rhetoric from John McCain, but “surrender” talk is generally more the province of right-wing blogs, not respected presidential candidates. Most Americans believe withdrawal from Iraq best serves American interests. Is McCain prepared to smear a majority of the country?
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