Monday, January 22, 2007

Flip, Flop and Flail

As John McCain tries to reinvent himself and put distance between himself the former Mr. Straight-Talk, he is spinning out of control . Think Progress has the goods on him. This is good news because the world couldn't afford the disaster that President McCain would have been.


In October 2006, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for “another 20,000 troops in Iraq.” In January 2007, President Bush accepted the idea and announced he would send 21,500 more soldiers into the middle of Iraq’s civil war. McCain quickly endorsed the strategy.

Since that time, McCain has been slowly back-pedaling from the escalation plan, offering numerous reasons for why the strategy will not succeed. He has argued the Pentagon was “dragging its feet” in implementing the strategy. Now, he is arguing that the escalation is too small.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, McCain said, “I would have liked to have seen more” troops sent to Iraq. He added, “If it had been up to me,” more U.S. troops would be on their way into Baghdad.

The new Capitol Hill newspaper, The Politico, launches tomorrow. In its lead story — an exclusive interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — the senator lashes out against Vice President Dick Cheney. Roger Simon writes:

With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he supports but cannot control, John McCain for the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for what McCain calls the “witch’s brew” of a “terribly mishandled” war in which U.S. forces are on the verge of defeat.


Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: “The president listened too much to the Vice President … Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense.”

At a July 15, 2004 appearance in Michigan, McCain called Cheney “one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had.”

Also in the interview, McCain continued his back-pedaling from the escalation strategy that he first proposed. After offering a full-throated endorsement of the Bush plan just days ago, McCain opened the door to the redeployment of U.S. forces back to the borders of Iraq should the president’s plan fail. He added, “I don’t know if this is enough troops or not. I can’t guarantee success by doing this.”


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