A Democratic line is emerging about Sen. John McCain that is voiced daily by Sen. Obama (and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton) in the presidential campaign.
"Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for 100 years in Iraq," Obama says, "which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House." Or more directly, as Obama told a Houston audience, McCain "says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq."
Obama's claims are, at best, deliberately misleading. At worst, they are the type of politics-as-usual distortion that the Illinois senator usually decries. No one, in politics or the media, who voices the "100 years" canard is being fair-minded. So let's put it to rest now, once and for all:
On Jan. 3 in Derry, N.H., a voter prefaced a question to McCain by saying, "President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years . . ." Here, McCain cut him off, interjecting, "Make it a hundred."
The voter tried to continue his question, but McCain pressed on: "We've been in . . . Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It's fine with me, I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, equipping and recruiting and motivating people every single day."
McCain's analysis is, objectively speaking, exactly correct. Throughout history, U.S. troops have remained in the field long after the conclusion of successful wars.
Note, of course, the key words there: Successful wars. Obama is by far the candidate most closely wed to the idea that Iraq is an irredeemable disaster (though Hillary Clinton has been doing her best to imitate that pose since the war there went bad) and thus, his vehement disagreement with the effect--100 years of troops in Iraq--should hardly be a surprise, since he also vehemently disagrees with the cause--victory in Iraq.
The real question here is whether Obama is:
- so narrow-minded that he cannot even imagine a reasonable person seeking victory in Iraq, with the ensuing effects
- trying to entrap McCain with a campaign equivalent of the infamous courtroom question: "When did you stop beating your wife?"
In either case, Last comes to the proper conclusion:
McCain's "100 years" is not a commitment to "100 years of war," as Obama claims. It is simply another sign of McCain's seriousness and understanding of the realities of foreign affairs in general and Iraq in particular.
Obama's distortion of this remark, however, is the first sign that he may not be a serious-minded candidate.
Taken a step further--this calls into question Obama's lofty claims of running a higher campaign...which in turn calls into question Obama's lofty claims of "bringing the country together."
And said claims, as we all know, are the hallmark, trump card, and primary (sole?) selling point of his campaign.