Reality Check is usually devoted to inconsistencies and flip flops, but it’s only fair to acknowledge consistency when it comes up. It’s been spoken about frequently, but McCain’s consistency on Iraq and his support of Bush’s troop surge could cost him the Republican nomination. Let’s take a brief retrospective at some of his statements.
A Reuters article today discusses his consistency:
“I don’t think about it [failure in Iraq]. It’s far more important than any political campaign. I’d rather lose a campaign than lose a war [McCain said].” The article continues, “McCain supporters say his stance on Iraq is one reason he has been unable so far to break out of the pack of Republican candidates in New Hampshire, where McCain crushed George W. Bush with a 2000 victory of 18 percentage points….But for whatever reason, McCain’s crowds at events in South Carolina and New Hampshire were not all that big. Question-and-answer sessions with him were dominated by Iraq. News coverage barely touched on other aspects of his candidacy, such as his support for a flatter tax rate, a campaign to curb government spending and a reduction in U.S. dependence on foreign oil….While supporting the troop buildup, McCain is going out of his way to denounce the Bush White House’s Iraq policies through four years of warfare, blaming Bush himself and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld….While it may be difficult for voters to see the nuance in his position….”
And then, of course, there were McCain’s comments last month that received substantial press when he said he was so confident about Iraq it was safe to walk through Baghdad markets, yet he was accompanied by 10 armored hum-vees, 22 armored soldiers with rifles, and 2 apache helicopters overhead. (On 60 Minutes almost three weeks ago, McCain explained his remarks).
His web site even has a petition entitled “surrender is not an option.”
- The decision of the Senate made on March 27 to call for a date certain withdrawal from Iraq is nothing more than a guaranteed date of surrender.
- It is a refusal to acknowledge the dire consequences of failure, in terms of the stability in the Middle East and the resulting impact on the security of all Americans, whether home or abroad.
- Democrats have chosen the politically expedient position of failure rather than putting aside the small politics of the day in the interest of our nation and the values upon which this nation rests.
- We the undersigned remain steadfast in our support for the war against terrorism and mindful of the consequences of failure in Iraq, even if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid refuse to acknowledge those consequences.
- We support our troops and the new strategy and believe it should be given the opportunity to succeed. American national security interests are directly at stake. Success or failure in Iraq is the transcendent issue for our foreign policy and our national security. People say they want to defeat the terrorists, but if we withdraw from Iraq prematurely, it will be the terrorists’ greatest triumph.
- If we leave Iraq based on an artificial timetable, al Qaeda will be free to plan, train for and conduct operations from Iraq just as they did in Afghanistan before 9/11.
Signed, [YOUR NAME]