John McCain appeared on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert for the full hour on Sunday. More than half the interview was spent exfoliating the Senator's position on the war. Of which, Senator McCain could sum up with this quote:
"Because it's my job to give my best estimate to the American people, no matter what the political calculations may be, as to what's the best in our nation's national security interest. Young men and women are risking their lives as we speak in, in, in Iraq. And I know that they will be in greater harm's way if we withdraw from Iraq, as we keep debating over and over and over again. And I know what's best, in my mind, in my experience, in my knowledge, in my inspiration, as to what's best for this country. So political calculations such as polls, I understand that if the American people don't continue to support this effort that we will be forced to withdraw. But it's also my obligation to tell the American people and my constituents in Arizona that I represent, what the consequences of failure will be; and I believe they will be catastrophic."
What is so profound about this quote is that McCain is the only candidate being candid and "straight-talking" with the American people. There is an ugly truth to this campaign season, and it is that no candidate except McCain is willing to talk about "the next five words" of the Iraq policy. It is so very easy to scream "Get Out! Now!" and think that all the problems go away so long as the troops are home. Our exodus from the middle east will be a great vacuum, and we will drag home in our wake the terrorists, emboldened from their victory, to bring the battle to our soil.
McCain is banking on the fact that in our hearts, we do not want our neighborhoods to resemble Baghdad and Gaza. He hopes that liberals do not need the war in our backyard in order to rally our nation behind the "next five words", a strategy.
McCain also recognizes that even though he is running for president, the government does not go on vacation until 2009, when "lame ducks" are replaced. We have a strategy ongoing, and that strategy deserves support, not blanket denunciations to get good polling numbers. Should the strategy fail, then McCain, as a responsible lawmaker, will adjust (not "flip-flop")
McCain, and the others, will be debating live from South Carolina on Fox News, 9 PM EDT. Tune in, and be informed.
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