McCain Would Rather Lose an Election Than a War?

Dear Stumped:

Is it true that McCain's steadfast support for the war in Iraq nearly cost him the nomination?

Peter Sloan

Dear Peter:

That certainly was the storyline being peddled in St. Paul all week, as John McCain was cast as our era's Henry Clay, the 19th century senator who famously said he'd rather be right than be president (unfortunately for the republic, voters obliged him).

Even McCain's former bitter rival, President Bush, told the convention (from a distance) that "some told [McCain] that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his presidential campaign at risk." But McCain, according to the president, "told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war."

Sarah Palin was another speaker who paid tribute to McCain's supposedly heroic embrace of the surge: "It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves."

This is all revisionist nonsense. Supporting the war in Iraq and embracing the surge was never going to be a liability in the Republican primaries.

The funny thing is that McCain was indeed a profile in courage in taking a principled and unpopular stand that nearly cost him his party's nomination. But it wasn't on Iraq, "my friends," it was on immigration reform. McCain, you will recall, was pilloried among hardcore Republicans for teaming up with Ted Kennedy to push for immigration reform, and not just any kind of immigration reform, but the type of immigration reform preceded by that most dreaded of all adjectives among Republican activists -- "comprehensive" immigration reform.

It was an odd spectacle, watching a weeklong tribute to the political courage of McCain that lacked any mention of the immigration battles of recent years. Kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner where family members agree not to mention the ugly fistfight that broke out at last year's gathering. It evoked something similar to what Old Bolsheviks must have felt in the 1930's upon hearing accounts of the Revolution that left out any mention of Leon Trotsky.

To the cheering Stalinist crowds in St. Paul -- to really strain the analogy here, and insult commie-hating Republicans while I'm at it -- McCain himself was the Trotskyite on immigration. The base of his party is his enemy on that issue and nearly derailed his nomination on that issue alone. If anything, McCain's hawkishness on Iraq was his saving grace.

A year ago, McCain was open about the fact that it was his leadership on immigration reform that had hurt his presidential candidacy. The war could pose a potential problem for the senator in a general election battle, but it was not the reason he was dropping in polls and struggling to raise funds among GOP activists. (See this example of solid Washington Post reporting from last summer on how his immigration stance was dearly costing McCain in the primary fight.)

McCain prevailed in the end, despite his insistent support for immigration policies that reflect the nation's economic realities rather than its prejudices. The fact that McCain and Barack Obama were essentially on the same side of this issue is one reason the immigration debate loomed larger in the Republican primary season than it does at this point in the campaign.

It's disappointing now to watch McCain allow the moral and economic imperative of immigration reform to be swept under the carpet. There is a larger pattern here: At the very moment the Arizona senator is being lionized for his maverick political courage, that trait is being exorcised from him by his former intraparty adversaries. McCain relented on his reported wish to pick Joe Lieberman as his running mate, reversed himself on the Bush tax cuts (which he initially opposed) and now acts as if immigration reform has never ranked among his top, oh, thousand priorities.

In a very long acceptance speech that featured some policy specifics, McCain played along with the convention's overall avoidance of immigration. All he could allow himself (or is it all he felt others would allow him?) was this vague nod to his past efforts to do the right thing:

"In this country, we believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We're all God's children, and we're all Americans."

Well said, Senator. But shame on you for all that you left unsaid, and for going along with the pretense that it was your view on Iraq that nearly cost you the nomination.

By Andres Martinez |  September 6, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
Previous: Does McCain Have a Conflict of Interest? | Next: The P.O.W. Alibi


Please email us to report offensive comments.

ewa wrote: "not only did he[McCain" put his career on the line to save lives of people of Iraq..."

Let's see. Conservative estimates of the number of Iraqi civilian dead in the US Occupation run around 600,000 over five years, or 150,000/year. Contrast this will an estimated 300,000 civilian murders over the 24 years of Saddam Hussein's regime, or an average of 12,500 per year.

So in WHAT WAY did McCain "save Iraqi lives" by being a cheerleader - even before Bush was - for this misguided atrocity by the US? They were better off under Saddam. McCain, like Bush, should admit that the Iraq invasion was a horrible mistake and apologize to the Iraqi people, the American people, and the world.

Posted by: Martimr1 | September 10, 2008 12:05 AM

Would someone please explain how McCain's "career" would have been in trouble because he advocated for more troops to be sent to Iraq? He certainly wasn't going to lose his senate seat which is not up for re-elecion until 2010.

Recall that there was never any doubt that adding more troops was going to result in a reduction of violence in Iraq. That harkens back to beginning of war when some of our generals advocated for more troops than we initially sent in. The question was whether that was the better use of our troops as compared to using them in Afghanistan. That is still the open question.

Posted by: Nana | September 9, 2008 1:03 PM

Because of the unpopularity of the Iraq War, Senator McCain did risk his career with calls for more troops to be sent. At the time that he did that, there were even Republicans in Congress saying that if we can't win it, we need to get out.

The reason we aren't having debates of this type about Obama is because he has no real record to speak of to attack. How's that for experience.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 9, 2008 8:15 AM

People, people, people. Look, any popularity McCain has is because he represents NO CHANGE. People generally are afraid of change. People want their lives to go on endlessly in the same rut, even if the world around them collapses. Obama's problem is that he seems unaware of that psychological fact, and the more he clamors for change, the scarier he becomes. So, this election isn't about the best candidate; it's about the candidate who represents "endless sameness." That's why McCain hasn't presented a single program representing change. He talks it, but he don't walk it. He's smart enough to recognize that the American population hates change. And, considered from that viewpoint, I'd not be surprised if McCain walks away with this election.

Posted by: Frank M | September 9, 2008 6:12 AM

Take a look at the following quote from WaPo's editorial on Saturday, September 06, 2008 to see how completely McCain has hoodwinked several people..."Mr. McCain is that rare politician who has held to positions of principle at great risk to his career, including this year on the subject of Iraq, and his nomination offered a measure of vindication for that courage."

Does the WaPO Editorial Board really believe that McCain's Iraq stance somehow put his nomination in the Republican Party, where support for the Iraq war has always been high, in jeopardy? And what other "career" was in jeopardy here? His senate seat?

Such an erroneous claim by a major newspaper shows how successful McCain’s hoodwinking of America has been. What people who live outside of Arizona don't understand is that, often times McCain has taken these so-called “positions of principle at great risk to his career” because there were no risks, at least not to his career.

With his family’s money, his compelling POW story (and we are grateful for his service), and the voter makeup in Arizona, his grip on his senate seat was never going to be in any danger if, say for about 10 percent of the time, he voted against his party

Some also point to his initial stance on immigration as one of those so-called principled stances. In fact I would wager that his stance on immigration was not all about principle either. Yes, perhaps it wasn't a winning stance with respect to the primaries, but McCain dropped it like a hot potato when it suited him. And, coming from a state with a large Hispanic population, this wasn't a stance that was “at great risk to his career." In fact, if he got through the primaries, it was going to be a good thing to show those voters as a reason to vote for him even though he didn’t actually get anything done on immigration.

The same applies to his so-called opposition to earmarks that everyone loves to bring up. Yes, we are all against the silly ones like the Bridge to Nowhere. But just ask Gov. Palin. Every state, county or city needs a little of it, and she apparently had no qualms about getting some for Wasilla. Imagine how you would feel if your senator didn’t bring anything (nada) to your state. But, again because of the reasons cited above, McCain has been able to do this because there was nothing to lose if he didn’t bring home the bacon…something senators and representatives with less secure seats can’t do.

On a local NPR show on June 4, 2008, John Dean (of Nixon fame) talked about how some Republicans down here in Arizona call McCain "Our Show Horse Senator," with our junior Republican senator being the workhorse senator who, together with our other congressional delegates, actually get things done and bring home some bacon. Look, it is no accident that McCain couldn’t break 47 percent in the Republican primary in his state. Compare his numbers to Obama’s (65%) and Clinton’s (57%) in their home states.

Posted by: Nana | September 9, 2008 5:21 AM

hmmmmer-Your name alone indentifies you as a earth destroying Republican. And your post proves it.

Posted by: Lodie | September 9, 2008 1:55 AM

Look hmmmmer,

The Republicans are the ones who are mainly anti abortion, anti gay marriage and the like. Most liberals believe in these things. If God wants to punish anyone, it is those who participate and support those sins.

Posted by: Jeff26 | September 7, 2008 5:27 PM

dcgal, have you been in the Palin home? Do you know this for a fact or is it another typical liberal lie?

Posted by: Larry | September 6, 2008 4:26 PM

You mean Paris Palins home

Posted by: ISA | September 6, 2008 11:19 PM

I just found out I have the same birthday as Dr. Phil. I think I am going to be sick.

As far as Republicans go they have no idea. God disrupted the Republican convention through Gustov and then the day after attacked the DOW and made way too many people lose their jobs. I think he is trying to tell America something.

Is that going to make Republicans listen, they wanted God to rain on Obama, but he rained on them. I am guessing they are too stupid to see that.

Posted by: hmmmmer | September 6, 2008 11:15 PM

McCain had to reach a compromise with his party's position on immigration reform in order to win the GOP nomination. He agreed that border security had to come first before immigration reform took place.

It is totally unfair for Andres Martinez to state "it's disappointing now to watch McCain allow the moral and economic imperative of immigration reform to be swept under the carpet."

As president he is not going to permit immigration reform to be swept under the carpet. Drug violence in Mexico is threatening the stability of the government there and it is beginning to spill over the border into the United States. Border security needs to be strengthened, but that does not negate his commitment to immigration reform.

Posted by: alance | September 6, 2008 11:12 PM

Mike and Scientist1, the Puritans did not come on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims did. And one of them, my ancestor Stephen Hopkins, was at both Jamestown and Plymouth. Also, they were not jihadists. But I do agree, that McCain's Mayflower ancestors were still in England. Just another example of McCain's inability to understand timelines. Descendants came before ancestors and the surge came before the Sunni awakening. Since his platform is about taking us backward this all really makes sense.

Posted by: vmi98mom | September 6, 2008 11:10 PM

Get over it. Get a life. Go to the poles and vote your conscience - keep your crap to yourself. McCain is a true patriot. So is Obama. Both make mistakes. Both are not always right. Vote and keep your opinion to yourself.
MikeBennett - San Diego

Posted by: MikeBennett - San Diego | September 6, 2008 10:39 PM

The United States is far less likely to go into an unnecessary war with a person that has been in the military and especially one who spent 5 1\2 years in captivity.
The Democratic bloggers seem to forget about the Vietman War which I recall was escalated by LBJ (with the help of McNamara).
Democrats and Republicans have failed to make reasoned decisions for the past 25 years due to the money factor.
I do not see how the people of the U. S. can rely on either party for solutions to problems when both parties are on the take.

Posted by: moore43 | September 6, 2008 10:02 PM

The post article speaks of McCain taking a pass on the moral imperative of immigration reform. How about Obama taking a pass on protecting the Palestinians from additional Israeli land grabs and settlement building? McCain has actually taken unpopular stands that were politically costly. Maybe not on that issue, but he has on others. I have yet to see Obama do that.

Posted by: George Robertson | September 6, 2008 9:58 PM

The more people here argue from polar opposite positions, the better the Republican "divide and conquer" tactics work.

By turning people on each other, there is less energy to scrutinize the many contradictions of the Republican gang.

These are the people who outed a CIA agent through press manipulation, and when Scooter Libby was set up, convicted and jailed, he was quickly pardoned.

These are very disturbing people -- and they love having us turn on each other.

Posted by: somerseten | September 6, 2008 9:49 PM

"Can this woman tell the truth?"

Of course she can't.

On a semi-related note, Sarah Palin switched colleges five times in six years before graduating from the University of Idaho. That's an awful lot of changes. Of course, rightwingers are brushing it off as No Big Deal, just as they will when/if her transcripts ever get released and it is revealed she was just a middling student with no extracurriculars to her credit.

Kind of sad that they have to contort themselves into such twisted wrecks to make excuses for the fact that she's an empty blouse, intellectually speaking. Also sad that so many in the media were claiming, as Anderson Cooper and others did, that "a star is born" after her acceptance speech.

Is that how low America has fallen? A woman with no record to speak of, no real intellect, no ability to lead is suddenly a rising star because she reads a generic "liberals are bad" speech from a teleprompter?

Apparently so.

Posted by: castanea | September 6, 2008 7:40 PM

"I bet you think he can win. What a surprise. I also bet you wake at night and think "Not again. I can not take a third loss."

A classic debating technique. Make an absurd declaration designed to anger the opponent, upon the angry reaction claim: what, are you worried about it being true?

Posted by: minors | September 6, 2008 7:37 PM

"was in a war that was utterly deluded in its WMD-basis .."

You should read the interrogation reports and summaries of what they found in Iraq; weapons experts, dual use facilities, and plans to rebuild the weapons programs. No delusion in that. Just your political posturing in saying the President did not have reason to go to war. One could conclude that there is more delusion in your position.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | September 6, 2008 6:20 PM

"McCain should NOT BE ALLOWED to run for GOP presidency!"

I bet you think he can win. What a surprise. I also bet you wake at night and think "Not again. I can not take a third loss."

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | September 6, 2008 6:16 PM

"the pretense that it was your view on Iraq that nearly cost you the nomination."

Don't be daft!

He spoke of the election. Not the nomination. Of course you use a classic debating tool of saying they meant something they never said.

The fact is Senator Clinton said "We can not win this war."

They were all convinced the war was lost and the surge would make no difference. It was a gamble. Now he has won that bet, the response is "Don't live in the past."

But your distortion is the worst I have seen.

Do you really expect anyone to believe it?

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | September 6, 2008 6:12 PM

Has a neurologist made an MRI of McCain - he has all indications of dimentia (possibly medically-induced), Parkinson's, reflexive grinning, shuffling/waddling gait - this man could live to 82 years of age - but what of his mental condition - Repeat of Reagan or Wilson - If the above is true, McCain should NOT BE ALLOWED to run for GOP presidency!

Posted by: joanzkdbc | September 6, 2008 6:05 PM

In the words of Stephanie Miller of the Stephanie Miller sho on green960...."Carabou Barbie...."
TiminPhoenix..No surprise "THE REALIABLES" eat everything that their Marionetes feed them. You bought into the lie. So sad....Let's ad a little humor and a lot of facts from The Daily show With John Stewart..Subject 'HYPOCRISY AMONG THE CONSERVATIVES'..No Pun folks this is REAL.

Wednesday night on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart hit Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly with damning evidence of their hypocrisy regarding Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

While Rove recently praised Palin's experience as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Stewart showed video of Rove trashing Virginia Governor — and former Richmond Mayor — Tim Kaine's executive experience, listing all the cities that are bigger than Richmond and calling such a pick "political."

Then, after recent video of O'Reilly describing Bristol Palin's pregnancy as a family issue, Stewart showed a clip of the Fox News host blaming Jamie Lynn Spears' parents for her teenage pregnancy.

Finally, after showing video of Dick Morris complaining about the rampant sexism in the media coverage of Sarah Palin, Stewart unveiled a clip of Morris saying that Hillary hides behind the sexism defense, and that anytime "the big boys" pick on Hillary, "she retreats behind the apron strings."

"In Dick Morris' defense," Stewart said, "he is a lying sack of sh*t."

Hmmmmm Now Isn't That Special....Hypocrisy among the conservatives. John McBush 3rd term has completely sold his soul to RNC/GOP/BIG OIL AND Richard Cheney.

Oh yes, John McCain doesn't even speak anymore. Maverick, MORE LIKE JOINER.

The hypocrisy of McSame McBush only ends where the RNC/GOP/Richard Cheney strategy and talking points start.

That's everything McBush 3rd term has falsely stated, lied about through RNC PROPAGANDA attack ads on youtube, FAILED TO MENTION THE REAL ISSUES, SUCH AS THE ECONOMY HEALTHCARE, ENDLESS OCCUPATIONS AND WARS, OUR REPUTATION AS A NATION IN THE WORLDS EYES, THE FACT THAT HIS crime partner Sarah (Carabou Barbie) Palin is under legislative investigation and indictment, that he picked as a running another JOINER AS HE IS OF THE RNC MACHINE TO DESTROY OUR CONSTITUTION AND MIDDLE CLASS.

JOHN McBush the PUPPETTED MOUTHPIECE OF THE RNC/GOP/BIG OIL/AND RICHARD CHENEY USED THE RNC CONVENTION OF HYPOCRISY TO TGRY AND SWAY OUR AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE WITH 'FEAR, WARMONGERING, SMEAR, FALSE STATEMENT ABOUT OBAMA, AND LIES "CHANGE IS ON THE WAY..." WOW, I didn't think that someone who is supposedly an HONORABLE MAN OF INTEGRITY and suppossedly a man of AUGUST REPUTATION, An American HERO, SO TO SPEAK, COULD LOOK AND SOUND AND BEHAVE SO MUCH LIKE...HMMMMMM, what is the word I'm searching for? Oh Yes, A PIG. EVERYONE even the blind and the death mute know when a pig is in their VICINITY. If you're blind you can smell it's STENCH or hear it OINK out lies and FALLACIES, AND make big NOISE. If you're a death mute you can seit with you're eyes it's covered in DIRT MUDD AND DUNG. Yet the PIG AS FILTHY AND DISGUSTINGLY ODIFEROUS AS IT IS still manages to smile, shake and even lie as it looks you in the eyes.

See John McBush 3rd term couldn't help but REVEAL his true self to us all. The FALSE 'CORPORATE PRESS CREATED' LIE ie 'mccain the maverick' BURNED. As is the custom of FACADES. The truth that McSame has always been and will continue to be A RANK AND FILE CONSERVATIVE REBUSHAGAIN had to come out under the test of TRUTH.

You see even though you take a pig from the pig stye and raise it in an ELITIST ENVIRONMENT, as it grows the EVIDENCE OF IT'S PIGNESS COMES OUT. It can't conceal it's nature....Every now and then it must go into the pig pen with the other PIGS AND ROLL IN THE DIRT, THE MUDD, AND THE DUNG SO IT CAN FEEL RIGHT AT HOME.

Notice this since McCain recieved the nod and was given the RNC'S marching orders he has become ODIFEROUS, he EXUDES a FOUL STENCH of character, FILTHY, he speaks THE LANGUAGE OF THE LIAR as if it was his native tongue and RACISM as if it is the norm of our people and society, he uses PROPAGANDA, a skill he honed while a guest at the PALACE OF THE VIET CONG, and he keeps the company of like minded PIGS, his choice of Sarah Palin under investigation for possible ABUSE OF POWER ie George W.Bush/Richard Cheney in a woman's body.

A pig for all the 'CORPORATE MEDIA'S LAUDING IT TO BE SOMEHOW AN AMERICAN HERO AND TRUSTWORTHY AND ENTITLED TO THE PRESIDENCY, CAN'T HELP BUT REVEAL the simple INESCAPABLE fact, that IN ALL TRUTH, it's simply an ingnorant yet PRIVELEDGED ELITIST, stupid pig. I can't wait for the HAWAIIAN BARBEQUE PIT on elction night. George w. Bush Richard Cheney and 'THE BARBEQUE' John 'porky' mcBush AND Sarah Carabou PETUNIA Barbie,and the RNC AGENDA will be Americas main course. Pigs can't escape barbeque. America it's time for 'Change we can Believe In Obama '08

Posted by: need4trth | September 6, 2008 6:05 PM

When McCain and Co. say, "the surge succeeded," they forget this bloodily-won "victory" was in a war that was utterly deluded in its WMD-basis and has made the US and Israel less secure.

This is like saying "Unlike the low-voltage we used before, the added surge of electricity we just sent to the electric chair has successfully executed those who would harm us with WMD ....... What? you say there were NO WMD? So, this surge of voltage merely covers over the horror that the USA has been prosecuting an UNjust war in the wrong country? and covers over the horror that we have the blood of 100,000s of noncombatants ("collateral damage") and some 4000 Americans on our hands ? Obama knew this from the beginning, and said so, and thus his prescience and the guts to say so helped him win the Dem nomination (though now the economy is the focus, as if the trillion dollar wrong war wasnt part of our economic problem, too.)

But, McCain keeps his focus on his favorite theme: "We sure kicked their asses--I don't care if this was the wrong war, and that we should have been fighting in Afghanistan! Only a wimp would care about such them their rights, Sarah! Ha!"

Is this a man who has the thoughtful intelligence and careful temperament to be CIC..."Blessed are the peacemakers..." McCain would rather, "Blessed are Americans who initiate the wrong wars, as long we win, who really cares?"

Yes, John would rather win an unjust war than to become a president who might then need to develop (at 72yrs old) the diplomatic skills (that Obama possess x10) crucial to leading the world toward a more secure future. He learned everything he ever needed to know in Fighter Pilot School and as a legacy-admission, 896th of 899 USNA graduate.

Stuart Sovatsky,PhD

Posted by: Stuart Sovatsky | September 6, 2008 5:50 PM

Can anybody explain me how invasion of Iraq has increased our security? This maveric of america is am impulsive hothead. Many more innocent people will die if he gets the power.

Posted by: Outsider | September 6, 2008 5:40 PM

The success of the surge is entirely hypothetical. The retreat of the Shia and Sunni insurgents was provoked by the end of the U.S. gravy train posed by the emergence of credible Democratic candidates who demanded a withdrawal timetable. Even Iraqis could see that the United States was overstretched for economics and commodity resources. The reasoning for withdrawal was irrefutable. When Bill Richardson challenged Obama and Clinton to set a timetable, instead of monopolizing the debates with endless bickering, the Sadr rebellion subsided. When Al Qaeda in Iraq began to oppoise local sheikhs, the sheikhs pushed back and betrayed them to coalition forces. The "surge" such as it was followed onto these positive developments; but the Petraeus strategy only added to the Democratic strategic victory as their demands for withdrawal won over Maliki and his allies.

McCain's support of the surge at this point ignores the political facts on the ground.

Posted by: Ben Burrows | September 6, 2008 5:13 PM

McCain is four more years of Bush and Dana Quayle is an attack...well...what is another word for a female dog?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 5:12 PM

If John McCain was truly a maverick (and could remember how many houses he owns), he'd switch parties now and forfeit the election for the good of the country. He surely knows that the country cannot withstand 8 more years of the same destructive policies that have generated record foreclosures, Halliburton, Iraq, Enron, Big Oil and wealthy fat cats, taken us to war, tortured prisoners, put us in debt for decades, destroyed our image abroad, Rovian class warfare, Swift Boating, the stolen 2000 election, and a president who is despised globally. I say it again: John, as a true patriot, it'not too to forfeit for the good of the country as a sign that the Republican party is accountable for the chaos and misery it has created.

Posted by: Patriot | September 6, 2008 5:10 PM

Paul-- You are so full of crap and soundbites that I don't know where to start. "He is the candidate who has come up with the most good ideas to move this country ahead." Like what? More drilling for oil offshore to put our coastlines and all the coastal industries at risk from an oil spill, while at the same time admitting that we need to break our addiction to oil. More nuclear reactors, so we can produce more radioactive waste that we still cannot safely get rid of. More tax breaks for the oil companies, who are wallowing in record profits from gouging us at the pump, while putting other businesses out of business. More deregulation, which is the root cause of the Enron disaster, the mortgage disaster and the record prices that americans are paying at the gas pump. War with Iran to continue to build on the record debt created by the Bush administration, and to continue the decay of american influence and credibility in the world. Since you forgot to actually mention any of the good ideas, I assume these are some of which you speak.

What are these "critical" issues for our country that you speak of that he has reached across the isle to acheive. The latest is the immigration bill that is mentioned in this article, a bill that he sponsered with Kennedy, and that to please his base, he voted against. Who votes against their own bill, except a world class panderer.

Also, you have obviously never done any research on Iran, or you would know that they are not a strategic threat. Not to america anyway. They might be to israel, but israel is not our problem, america is.

As for the surge, the war did not start with the surge. It started long before, and as Obama told us, was a huge mistake. It was a war that was sold to the american people with lies and distortions, and McCain was the lead cheerleader. Bottom line is that McCain was wrong about Iraq, and Obama was right. Better judgment on display. In addition, even the pentagon has admitted that the surge in troops may not have been the major reason for the improvment in conditions in Iraq, which by the way, are still far from good, which supports Obamas' contention that the improvment may have happened even without the surge in troops.

In closing Paul, I would suggest you get something for that Rush Limbaugh syndrome you have, before you try and bringing others to task. (RLS= over opinionation, combined with undereducation)

Posted by: Hank | September 6, 2008 4:44 PM

dcgal, have you been in the Palin home? Do you know this for a fact or is it another typical liberal lie?

Posted by: Larry | September 6, 2008 4:26 PM

the only good ting about Palin is that it puts to rest the lie that minority women are the ones who are loud, uncoothed "baby mamas" who are prone to violence (btw that describes a weekend in the Palin home). This woman makes Rosanne Barr look like Princess Diana.

Posted by: dcgal | September 6, 2008 3:56 PM

The whole party is nothing but liars.

W. lied about weapons of mass destruction when he signed the Iraq Liberation Act and he did away with hundreds of years of jurisprudence when he signed the Antiterrorism and Effective death Penalty Act, limiting certain people's right to habeus corpus and the restricting the right to an appeal in federal courts. He also signed the Defense of Marriage Act, so that no state has to recognize a same sex realtionship as a marriage and that the federal government cannot, for any purpose recognize a same sex marriage.

Yes, the W I'm refferring to is not Bush but W. Jefferson Klinton. Talk about lies and the pot calling the kettle black.

Posted by: Larry | September 6, 2008 3:25 PM

Maybe you're not listening, but John Mccain is very much still for granting legal status to illegal immigrant, just AFTER the border is secure. Which is only logical. He was asked about it just recently, and said he still believes we are all God's children and illegals should get a legal status one way or another. So stop twisting his words for your own agenda, it's getting old. I'm an immigrant so i'm paying attention, and i will never forget that McCain stood up for immigrants even if that meant putting his career on the line.

Posted by: steven | September 6, 2008 3:20 PM

not only did he put his career on the line to save lives of people of Iraq, but he also put his life on the line to fight for the illegal immigrants. he is the man who doesn't care about politics as much as he cares about standing up for people and doing the right thing. MCCAIN/PALIN 08'

Posted by: ewa | September 6, 2008 3:17 PM

Republicans are notorious for lying, cheating and stealing. McCain is no different.

McCain and Bush lied us into Iraq. And then they lied about the surge: it wasn't the surge in troops that decreased the violence, it was the ethnic cleansing in Baghdad and the surge in bribes paid to the Sunnis. And we aren't going to pay $10m per month to Al-Qaeda Sunnis forever. Sooner or later there will be civil war there, and we cannot win another country's civil war. Perhaps enforcing a partition is the best solution.

That's the ball, back to the man: Sen. McCain lies, cheats and steals even more than your average Republican. He ditched his first wife to marry into a corrupt organized crime family, and then used that network to launch his political career. (You could google: McCain Hensley Marley Lansky).

It is no accident that found him part of the crooked Keating Five scandal that used deregulation for a reverse Robin Hood play. Any more than it's an accident that he's buddies with Phil "Mr Enron" Gramm.

McCain lies, cheats and steals.

And he should not be elected. We spend a lot of time analyzing the small things. For once, the media and the public should look at the real record, the real character, of Sen. John McCain.

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 6, 2008 3:07 PM

I'm confused about how McCain bucked his party on immigration reform. The head of the party, GW Bush, was the real sponsor and supporter of this bill. It was Lou Dobbs relentless attacks on the bill that stirred up the electorate against it. At that point the Republican legislators decided to stand up against immigration reform.

Posted by: tom | September 6, 2008 2:52 PM

It is clear to me that John McCain...or is it "McCON" has mastered the RepubliCON strategy for telling purposeful half truths to his own gain and the determent of his opponent. Where is the integrity that this man of honor promises? We the people deserve an honest debate, but again in this election “we the people” suffer and are misled by a Republican candidate's half truths and convenient omissions. Sarah Palin has also mastered the CON...the story about putting the plane on EBay is only half the story. She was for the bridge to nowhere, before she was against it. When is American going to wake up? They are after the Presidency " BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY." Yesterday, I walked into the house, turned on MSBNC with Chris Matthews and was listening to a Republican mouth piece talk over an Obama representative. He was loud, the talked constantly and wouldn’t let Matthews or the Democrat get a word in edgewise (this is their standard practice now). He was in complete denial of any statistic Chris Matthews threw at him that shed a negative light on his candidates -- he stayed on his talking points and wouldn't let up/ shut up. THAT's when I realized what was happening to me/us/Americans - it was like listening to a slick used car salesman, or a pyramid scheme operator, or meeting a guy in the parking lot who opens up his jacket to show you some fake stolen jewelry that he wants to sell "best deal in town." I/we, American citizens are being CONNED. Rather than Republicans, it seems RepubliCONS is more appropriate. Think about it......George Bush CONNED us into the war with Iraq - they say he didn't lie, but he purposefully didn't tell the whole truth. Shawn Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and all the other pawns CON us on a daily basis with purposeful half truths and omissions. Now McCain selects Sarah Palin, after the right wing told him "no way" on Lieberman and he says she's qualified and ready to lead -- the greatest CON of all! Carl Rove publicly condemned Obama for even thinking of selecting Virginia Governor Tim Kaine; why - BECAUSE -- he was too inexperienced -- the mayor of a town of only 200,000, only the Lieutenant Governor and then only the Governor for two years under Mark Warner -- humph, Virginia is the best managed state in the union for the 3rd year in a row. There are many more examples of RepubliCON hypocrisy, including Palin’s own words.
Just think -- Giuliani, Romney and all the other former candidates with decidedly much more experience than Palin lauded her as the best choice with more experience than Obama and Biden together -- WE ARE BEING RepubliCONNED!!!!

Posted by: RepulicCONNED | September 6, 2008 2:51 PM

MCCain can be summed up by his show of standing with his president while the New GI Bill was moving its way through congress recently. "it's too expensive" was the unified voice of president and senator, this from a decorated war hero, and some who was . . . . nevermind. But when both took a look at the scoreboard of what voting was about to take place in the house and senat, and the bill was going to be passed, veto or not the call was? All aboard!

The president, when he was literally forced to sign the bill, had the gall to say Senator McCain had been most important in getting this bill passed.

What else do you need to know about McCain?

Posted by: clam | September 6, 2008 2:42 PM

Dear American Voter:

With the exception of foreign policy, economic policy, energy policy, tax breaks for the wealthiest, tax breaks for job exporters, social issues, supreme court appointees, and Rovian politics... Sarah and I are coming to Washington to really shake things up!!!

John McCain
Sarah Palin

American Voter
I'm all shook up already

Posted by: ALL SHOOK UP OVER McCAIN | September 6, 2008 2:34 PM

I find it somewhat amusing to see how much a person's political orientation colors their ability to separate fact from spin!

Senator Obama's experience as a political leader is thin. But he did win a race as a Senator from a state with nearly 13 million people and did win a very long democratic primary season against the incredible organization built by the Clintons.

Senator McCain has experienced fighting for our country and serving in the Senate representing the state of Arizona. He has been somewhat of a gadfly in his party in the past up to and including his 2006 support for immigration reform. In 2007 it almost ruined his campaign before it got really started. However, he soldiered on, played to the Republican base and got his party's nomination.

Senator Obama is smart enough to realize that perhaps some might wonder about his foreign policy credentials and laid all those concerns to rest when he chose a wise counselor in Senator Biden. As chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years, he has vast and specialized knowledge only acquired by careful study and staff work!

Senator McCain who apparently believes he will live forever because his mother is in her 90's, felt no compunction to choose an experienced politician for his vice presidential candidate and instead played again to his base and chose Governor Palin. Her resume includes being a mayor of a small town (although she was forced to hire a city manager by the town council) and being Governor of the State of Alaska since 2006. Alaska is a beautiful state to visit, preferably by cruise ship. Tourists provide summer jobs for thousands of Alaskan's who are unemployed over the winter when it is dark, cold and dreary! This year, each resident (men, women and children) who has lived there more than a year, get's over $3200 from the State's investment of oil income. The State's budget is funded by oil by more than 85% with the balance mostly coming from the Federal Government and assessments on tourists. Of course Governor Palin as well as most Alaskans are for more drilling! The total population is less than 700,000 people, less than St. Louis County and excluding St. Louis City!

From my perspective, a change is in the wind and is also sorely needed. I say lets give change a chance because the same old politics, same old policies, has gotten us to the brink of recession, with bankruptcies, foreclosures, loss of real value in realestate as well as a down stock market all which make us poorer.

Posted by: DaveinStLouis | September 6, 2008 2:33 PM

Straight Talk Express at it again! McCain is a despicable SHAM.

Posted by: str8up | September 6, 2008 2:25 PM

I don't know what is scarier - John "bomb bomb Iran" McCain being in charge of foreign policy, his alter ego John "we are a nation of whiners" McCain being in charge of economic policy, or Sarah 'trooper gate" Palin with the behind doors power of Cheney and the Patriot Act.

Posted by: birdman | September 6, 2008 2:14 PM

McCain's foreign policy advisors, Charlie Black and Randy Scheunemann, were in bed with WMD con-man Ahmed Chalabi way before the war. Is that the good judgement we can expect from a McCain/Palin presidency?

By the way, these whackjobs are giving Palin her VP lessons right now. Heaven help us if McCain dies.

Posted by: McBain | September 6, 2008 1:55 PM

Posted by: Nana | September 6, 2008 5:20 AM
"Imagine how you would feel if your senator didn’t bring anything (nada) to your state. "with our junior Republican senator being the workhorse who, together with our other congressional delegates, actually get things done and bring home some bacon "
Nana.... i know how that senator is the "ONE" obama... who has done NOTHING for Illinois except run for president. you may be impressed with his flowing rhetoric
but in illinois we know he's just a daley ,emil jones protege who can b.s. better

Posted by: wcwinc | September 6, 2008 1:40 PM

Dear American Voter:

With the exception of foreign policy, economic policy, energy policy, tax breaks for the wealthiest, tax breaks for job exporters, social issues, supreme court appointees, and Rovian politics... Sarah and I are coming to Washington to really shake things up!!!

John McCain
Sarah Palin

Posted by: mamamia | September 6, 2008 1:21 PM

This republican ticket confuses me.

McCain talks about change, and introduces Palin as proof. Is the change he's refering to a change back to the stone ages? (Palins views)Is he throwing her out there as if to say "Here's what you really want (gun loving, moose gutting, anti abortion, arrogant, fire breathing pro war candidate)? But that america will have to wait for his 4 years to pass first?

Did he "sell out" to the hard core right by offering the fire breathing dragon they really want ...if they elect him first?

If I find that is the case, and I won't lean on Hannity or Limbaugh for guidance, thank you - I could never vote for a man that would even think of such an underhanded way to the oval office.

Posted by: Something fishy going on | September 6, 2008 1:15 PM

Great ticket, Sens. Kennedy and McCain; didn't happen. Ms. Palin is stuck with an ornery, unstable "maverick" whose only interests in the Republican base are to ignore and belittle it.

Obama did some job defeating the Clintons. Ms. Palin has yhe much more dauting task if winning with McMaverick heading the ticket.

Posted by: George S. Paton III | September 6, 2008 1:09 PM

Cain !! Mc cain, and republicans, they always have been, war promoters, they have their living making war, and promoting and supporting war industry's what could be expected from them, the promoters of WARWAR. They-Them don't se any of the necessities here on America, (Poverty, Ignorance, and any of the miseries, we have here in AMERICA)

Posted by: Rleb2002 | September 6, 2008 1:02 PM

Outstanding. You really brought out how many lies are packed into this "political courage" canard about the surge.

Posted by: Mary | September 6, 2008 12:24 PM

Boy, are you at odds with the editorial writers. They're trying to sell this fairytale in today's editorial:

"Mr. McCain is that rare politician who has held to positions of principle at great risk to his career, including this year on the subject of Iraq, and his nomination offered a measure of vindication for that courage."

It would have been accurate to say he used to be a man of principal and that he got the nomination because he changed every position he ever held since he wouldn't have been offered the nomination otherwise. Also, he got lucky because the republicans had such a weak field.

Now he puts the country in danger by selecting a total stranger (to him and to us) as his VP and then the campaign puts her in a "cone of silence" and says we'll learn all we need to know from her speeches and ads. Unfortunately, we've already learned those speeches and McCain ads are filled with lies.

What contempt they have for the American voter.

Posted by: Sandy | September 6, 2008 11:42 AM

The country has only known Mrs. Palin through her introduction and nomination for VP and through her acceptance speech. And the national press is being kept away from learning anything else about her. Yet she's one step from the presidency. And on top of that in her own words on video in church she believes that the troops in the Iraq war was a Holy war from God, given to our national leaders, Pres. Bush,Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others. I would like to know more about her views. Also, should she have stood up and told her Pastor that she supports Israel when he said the things that he said in her presence while at her church? Have we gone completely mad in this country? She made two national speeches and she is one step away from the presidency.
They have have manipulated her. They are keeping her away from the national press, until she's ready. The question is ready for what? We knew and learned everything about Hillary on the campaign trail. So much so that I am comfortable enough calling her "Hillary." We need to know more about Mrs. Palin views. For we are now learning the plane was not sold on ebay. We're also learning of the earmarks that she recieved. We're learning that the $250 million dollar "bridge to know where" money that was never return to the US treasury. What candidate in this race is under investigation...PalinThis is our country we're talking about here. And it is about country first. And I'm not ready to hand it over on two national speeches both of which was made at the republican convention. For some it may be a popularity contest. Well, perhaps if the country saw all of those "Body Bags" coming through Dover Air Force Base, this campaign would be about issues and answers.

Posted by: IT IS ABOUT OUR COUNTRY | September 6, 2008 11:39 AM

LOL. More partisan liberal crap.

Look, all of the liberal partisans at MSNBC were the ones saying that his support for the surge would cost him in November.

If you've got an issue with the concept, take aim at Olbermann and Matthews. They came up with it first.

The pettyness and lameness of the attacks from the left give me great solace. If these are the best attacks they can come up with, we are in good shape in November.

Posted by: rmorrow | September 6, 2008 11:28 AM

When will Sarah Palin start answering questions from voters? There are a few things we need to clear up--

-about that jet she said she sold for a profit
-about that bridge she said she opposed
-about that pipeline she said she is building
-about that corruption she said she cleaned up
-about that Obama legislation she said didn't exist

That's a lot of clarifications for just one week. Can this woman tell the truth?

Posted by: HarrisCo | September 6, 2008 11:19 AM

Most of McCain's speech sounded like the speaker in the RBS ad at a graduation where the bored kid gets up and yells that words are the end. Sincere but boring.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | September 6, 2008 11:08 AM

John McCain is a man of principle. He says what he believes, even if it is not popular. He is strong enough to buck his own party. He loves his country and is the kind of man that we need to lead us in these uncertain times. His compelling story is one that Mr. Obama cannot match. Obama is a Chicago machine politician that has never done anything that was not 'the party line' is at a deficit trying to match up with a man like John McCain. We should be thankful for his past well as his future service.

Posted by: TC3 | September 6, 2008 11:02 AM

McCain's image of a pricipaled maverick is mainly in his mind and those of his P.R. staff.

For a look at a true principled maverick google- Chuck Hagel.

Posted by: toldyouso | September 6, 2008 10:55 AM

The only nonsense here is the crap the WAPO deems fit to publish.

Posted by: BiffGriff | September 6, 2008 10:25 AM

Is there any validity to the McCain perfidy?

Posted by: Hoke Robertson | September 6, 2008 10:21 AM

McCain has been consistent on the Iraq war as opposed to other issues, but this is the one thing on which he has agreed with the party. It will be interesting to see if he reverses or softens his position if things get desperate in the later stages of the campaign.

Posted by: skeptonomist | September 6, 2008 10:13 AM

I was reading through this post and thinking that I would have to compliment Andres Martinez for a change, as the piece hits the nail on head regarding Republicans claim that McCain's support for the Iraq war was a "maverick" position. Then I saw that the piece is by Marisa Katz - let's have more of her in this space.

And contrary to what some commenters claim on this thread, it is the official McCain line, if not the Republican line, that support of the war was a risky position. This line has been followed by a number of pundits and columnists, including the WaPo editorialists.

Posted by: skeptonomist | September 6, 2008 10:09 AM

Is there any validity McCain Perfidy?

Posted by: Hoke Robertson | September 6, 2008 9:47 AM

Paradoxical that Palin’s party urges private charity and faith based initiatives, yet she mocked Obama’s community organizing. I thought it was horrible.

Posted by: Jewel Mathias | September 6, 2008 9:40 AM

In the beginning we wanted to do good in Iraq-remove an evil leader, help oppressed people. There were unpopular foot-draggers who were concerned with issues of constitutionality, national image, necessity, mission, and exit strategy. Some cynics saw the conflict as all about oil or a personal thing with Saddam. McCain was none of these people, and this was not a factor his nomination. OK, good. His immigration stance, however,was an issue. The Republicans do not want to repeat the Reagan get in free card fiasco. As for all being Americans, speak for yourself, Gringo; there are North, Central, and South of those, but only one USA.

Posted by: Greygolla | September 6, 2008 9:36 AM

I don't see how you can have an article with this headline and not mention that this is a backhanded slur on Obama's position--which McCain has characterized as preferring to lose a war than an election. And it appears likely that the single greatest factor in slowing the violence in Iraq was the defacto reversal of the antiSunni policy instituted in Bremer's deBathification overstretch. Putting the Sunnis back on the payroll was like pouring oil on the water. Furthermore--what the heck are we doing over there anyway? The entire war was an oil grab--and remains that. Bin Laden was allowed to escape and then all the top people were pulled out of Afghanistan. Now we are stuck in Afghanistan, graveyard of empires, with the apparent strategy of saving it from the Afghanis. Strategic vision is lacking in both candidates. But at least Obama had the sense to see that the entire Iraq enterprise was and is a folly of historic proportions. And by the way, as Bush has learned in trying to negotiate approval for his string of permanent bases, built at great expense, the Iraqis will not be easily outnegotiated, they will toy with invaders and assimilate them as they have for thousands of years, and at the end of the day we will leave and then they will go back to doing whatever they darn well want to. Iraq will never be a victory, but rather historians, I believe, will see it as the strategic debacle it is. Oh yeah, and the entire Iraq/Afghanistan fiasco may end up being the straw which broke the overstretched American empire's back.

P.S. "The folks in Virginia got here first and were the real founders of America, not the witch-burning Yankees." As the descendant of both parties, I can say that this bizarre take on American history is so shallow that it qualifies as laughable revanchist southern propaganda. Sure Jamestown was first, but that's all. The Puritans made great contributions as well, and arguably the Civil War confirmed the relative importance of their moralism, the sad history of witch-burning notwithstanding.

Posted by: scientist1 | September 6, 2008 9:23 AM

A reflection on John McCain's prep school and Naval Academy education perhaps? Or is it just his failing memory? His "... the boy whose decendents arrived on the Mayflower ..." is one nore example that can be added to the growing list of McCain's non sequiters. As the ancestor of his decendents, McCain's boy could not possibly have come to America as an immigrant. What McCain's boy did, of course, was to remain comfortably in England and let his descendents, our Pilgrim forefathers, make that stressful and historic voyage.

Posted by: Ken Kellogg-Smith | September 6, 2008 8:53 AM

The GOP mouthpieces hit this board HARD! Evidence that critical thinking is not their strong point. McCain has been a steadfast supporter of the Iraq War from day one people. That's NEVER changed. His stance on immigration reform was against his party, but that's just a footnote in history now, according to his campaign, and obviously his frothing-at-the-mouth supporters. Ms. Katz hit the nail on the head with this one. Too bad people that don't care to evaluate the situation with the facts can't see that. And never will. Party over Country every time.

Posted by: Martin | September 6, 2008 8:47 AM

This has to be the dumbest Stumped I've read in a while. It hinges on misreading the word 'election' as 'nomination.'

Posted by: Prez Cannady | September 6, 2008 8:24 AM

What's this "the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower" nonsense? A "boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower" was someone who was still abed in England. What's more, those on the Mayflower were Puritan jihadists who came here to set up their own little witch-burning theocracy, i.e., proto-Yankees. The folks in Virginia got here first and were the real founders of America, not the witch-burning Yankees.

Posted by: Mike Deal | September 6, 2008 8:13 AM

While McCain certainly supported the invasion of Iraq - a mistake at the very least in timing - he was an early critic of the incompetent way it was being managed and prosecuted. Saying bad things about Boy George and his gang certainly could and to some extent earn him the animosity of the Republican establishment. The net effect: He didn't just support the surge, he deeply criticized the Rumsfeld follies that made a "surge" necessary.

Posted by: Mike Deal | September 6, 2008 8:05 AM

Y'all are missing the point of this piece. Re-read it and leave your emotional baggage behind.. oh wait, I keep forgetting, you don't believe in science, or critical thinking, just knee-jerk reactions.

A plague on your house then.

Posted by: gonzo3d | September 6, 2008 8:03 AM

The surge did not accomplished what it was marketed to accomplished in the face of strong calls for enough already. Why doesnt anyone ask McCain about that. All we really got out of it was stay the course at $10 Billion a month. We now have more troops over there than we had pre-surge. That's escalation. I will be voting for Obama because I believe of the two, he will move us to the exits and stop our bleeding. Good luck Iraq, God Bless You. McCain wants to stay there another hundred years to guard the oil fields for Exxon and bomb Iran.

Posted by: Sara B. | September 6, 2008 8:03 AM

Unfortunately, McCain's version of immigration "reform" says why spend all of that money building factories and offices in Mexico, China and India when we can simply bring the Mexicans, Chinese and Indians here without spending a penny?


Posted by: DEF | September 6, 2008 7:35 AM

What a non-sensical piece. Obviously McCain was not just referring to the nomination.

It is indisputable that Sen. McCain is a profile in courage.

The idea that any sane person would prefer Obama -- an effete and utterly unqualified radical with zero accomplishments -- is bizarre.

Posted by: j.a.m. | September 6, 2008 6:20 AM

Earmarks: Are our tax dollars going to waste in Alaska?
The distribution of federal dollars is diverted from larger states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia etc. to smaller states for some reason. These seem to be red states. Why would anyone in these states vote for McCain after picking Sarah Palin when her state receives these funds and in such disproportion from the federal government that her citizens can receive $2,000 checks from the state.
I could be freewheeling and independent if I were on the federal dole.

Posted by: John | September 6, 2008 4:05 AM

Sure, his immigration stance hurt him, but it was his poor managerial skills that almost cost him the primary.

If he couldn't stop himself and his underlings from very nearly bankrupting his campaign, why do you think you can trust him to run the nation?

Posted by: dj333 | September 6, 2008 2:56 AM


If you really want to know Sarah Palin's history (in detail) this is a "must read". It was written by Anne Kilkenny, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska.

Posted by: tanberet | September 6, 2008 1:53 AM

"Whose IQ is higher, McSame's or Palin's baby's?"

... don't know ... but both are higher than obami's!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cassandra Washington | September 6, 2008 1:43 AM

A fool's tale told by an idiot.

Posted by: beachhead | September 6, 2008 1:31 AM

Whose IQ is higher, McSame's or Palin's baby's?
Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:33 PM
In a land of infanticide, the ghoulish donkeys revel in blood.

Posted by: Lee Smith | September 6, 2008 12:39 AM

Ohhhhhhhhhhh....Anonymous. That was bad. LOL

Posted by: Stunned | September 5, 2008 11:40 PM

Whose IQ is higher, McSame's or Palin's baby's?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:33 PM

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