Wednesday, May 28, 2008

McCain, Bush, and Iraq

The Democrats are attempting to make political hay over John McCain's non-press political fundraisers with the President. Barack Obama is attempting to say that the reason these events are closed to the press is because McCain does not want to be seen with the President in public, as it will somehow re-inforce the notion that McCain is tied to Bush. Indeed, both Obama and Hillary Clinton are doing their level best to paint John McCain as "George Bush's third term."

News flash: These two men don't like each other in the least, and all indications are that McCain despises the President. The argument that it is somehow shadowy that McCain has had a private fundraiser with the President rings hollow when one considers that Democratic presidents have done the same sort of thing in areas where being seen with certain Congressional candidates makes those candidates political pariahs. What John McCain has done may be an unfortunate practice, but it is not in any way an unusual one.

Anyone who has ever run for office, whether for a small office or a very significant one, will tell you that as a candidate you have to take any legally raised money that you can get. So long as the cash is raised in a legally appropriate way and doesn't come from Nazis or Communists (or similar characters), a candidate has got to be willing to take the money. The reason is because your opponent won't care where they get their money, so long as they have it and can use it against you. Attempting to somehow tie McCain to the President because the President had a private fundraiser for the Republican nominee is extremely disingenuous-both the President and McCain are trying to play the loyal Republican-the President by staying out of the public eye where McCain is concerned, and McCain because base Republicans like myself who have always been loyal to the GOP already (rightly) question McCain's loyalty to the party. John McCain needs to show us that he is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the party, just as the party has often asked us to hold our noses and sacrifice for it.

It is disingenuous of Democrats to make too much political hay over something that they would do if the political situation were reversed-they've had private fundraisers before. Reality never stopped the Left from running their mouths, however.

My saying this shouldn't be seen as a defense of the President. I was opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning, and when other conservatives were calling me crazy for saying that starting a war in Iraq would undermine our progress in the Afghan theatre and the overall War on Terror, I maintained that Iraq was a huge political as well as military blunder. I've been proven right on that score several times over the last five years, and former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book seems to confirm my original opposition yet again.

The problem now is that we can't simply withdraw our forces from Iraq with our tails between our legs and expect the problem there to go away. To do so would create a foreign policy disaster on a parallel with Jimmy Carter's handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis, and would simply bolster our enemies around the world with the notion that all they need to do is push the squishy Americans just long enough, and the Americans will run away. For the sake of our national security, we simply cannot afford any strategy that gives comfort to our enemies-period. The United States cannot withdraw forces from Iraq without some kind of settlement in place at this point that allows us to declare victory and mean it. Unilateral withdraw without such an arrangement will likely create multiple crises in the Middle East that could explode at once. If Barack Obama, his advisors, or the Left of the Democratic Party cannot see that (and I think they do, they would just never admit it) then they are all living in Cloud-cukoo-land.

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