These aren’t good times for John McCain. He came in sixth overall in fundraising. Mitt Romney has tied him in New Hamsphire, according to Zogby. The sharks over at 60 Minutes are circling. But one complaint about McCain isn’t quite accurate, that he is “too close to President Bush.”
McCain and Bush may share a position on Iraq right now, but it’s because Bush has followed McCain. I write in my New York Sun column: “These same New Hampshire voters loved John McCain in 2000, when he trounced President Bush in New Hampshire. While political alliances may have changed since then, Mr. McCain himself hasn’t. Long before Republicans, independents, and even some liberals swooned over Mr. McCain, he held the same views he holds now — that terror and despotism must be confronted and opposed.”
For example, McCain came out in support of President Clinton’s war against Slobodan Milosevic and Yugoslavia. This at a time when other leading Republicans, such as Trent Lott, had targeted Clinton for a “Wag the Dog”-style campaign of distraction. While McCain called for America to “take action”, another Republican leader said as follows “We must have a clear mission, an achievable goal and a credible exit strategy…The ultimate question is, Will this military action lead to the goal of ending the conflict and bringing peace and stability to the region?” Want to guess as to which Republican said this? George W. Bush. You know what he’d say about Democrats with similar comments today.
While the political markets may not be embracing him right now, there is something beautiful and Churchillian about McCain’s unyielding courage right now.