This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.McCain basically added a sharp twist to one of his usual statements. The usual statement is touting his own aptitude and honor. The twist is to accuse Obama of the opposite.
I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad.I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major journalist. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether Klein has the right temperament for Time Magazine. How sad.
Here's what I see. Klein is trying to generate a big outrage to distract us from McCain's solid point. McCain said we had to win the war, he pushed for the surge, the surge worked, and now we will have that victory that he would not give up on. Obama said the war was hopeless, we'd have to accept loss, and the surge would only waste more lives.
That is a huge, huge difference. And that is what McCain was referring to. It could have been put even more sharply.
If Klein wants to get all outraged about something, he should get outraged retrospectively about how Obama and many Democrats were ready and even eager to embrace defeat. If Klein wants to worry about who is unsuited for the presidency, he ought to recognize that if Obama had been President two years ago, we would have suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq that would have repercussions for decades.
And Klein thinks it's "desperation" to urge us to face that crucial reality, which is what McCain did? Desperation — which is recklessness arising from the utter lack of hope — is what Obama had about the Iraq war.
Klein updates his post:
The reality is that neither Barack Obama nor Nouri al-Maliki nor most anybody else believes that the Iraq war can be "lost" at this point.The point is that Obama's judgment would have led this country to jump headlong into defeat. We now must decide if we want this man making choices about things that will arise in the future. Why is it necessary to spell it out again and again that we need to use past judgments to predict future judgments about new matters? I feel like an annoying pedant saying this again. But the reason it's necessary is that journalists like Klein are covering for Obama.
Talk about "sad." That's sad.
The reality is that no matter who is elected President, we are looking at a residual U.S. force of 30-50,000 by 2011 (a year ahead of the previous schedule). The reality is that McCain should be proud that he helped salvage a disastrous situation by pushing the counterinsurgency plan. It's something to run on. But, at this point, McCain must sense that it's not a winning hand. Obama, the poker player, has drawn to an inside straight: the Iraqis favor his plan over McCain's long-term bases. That must be galling. But it's no excuse to pop off the way McCain did. It was, shockingly, unpresidential.Oh, stop your idiotic gasping, Klein, and see what you just did! You reinforced McCain's point. You see the campaign for the presidency as a game to be won and the war as something to play with. McCain would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. If his insistence that we win the war now brings him defeat, while the man who chose defeat in the war wins the presidency, that is what McCain saw all along. To think, wow, he must really be pissed off about the way that played out is to show how you think, Klein.
Note: I am only reading McCain's statement and have not seen the video or heard the audio. Perhaps he's yelling and carrying on in a way that would justify Klein's use of "meltdown" and "pop off" and "shockingly unpresidential." But Klein's text emphasizes the "statement" and has no description of his tone of voice, facial expression, or gestures, so I am assuming it's all based on McCain's words.
ADDED: Confirming the assumption I just made, here's the video (via Americablog):
There is absolutely nothing angry or out-of-control about this statement. As for the line, which seems scripted, it's a strong line. I can see why Klein and his ilk are trying to scare McCain out of using it.
AND: McCain uses the line in this video. (Via Gateway Pundit.) This is a long segment in which Katie Couric interviews Obama and then McCain and does a nice job of crisply defining the two men: