Sunday, April 08, 2007

McCain's Dukakis-in-a-tank moment

I didn't see all of John McCain's 60 Minutes interview, but there were parts that I did see in which he looked like the old straight-talker. Whatever you think of his politics, it's hard to dislike the man (something that I never, ever, said about W, or Reagan). Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, reporter Scott Pelley never asked him whether shilling for the war was strategy or conviction, simply assuming the latter.

Not that it really matters. McCain admitted that his campaign is tied to what happens in Iraq. As we all know, that misadventure can only end badly--for the United States, for Iraqis and, in all likelihood, for McCain as well. Indeed, even if he were to win the GOP nomination, can he expect to prevail against any of the top-tier Democrats? Perhaps against Hillary, if he can somehow recapture his reputation for independence and paint her as an endless calculator, both tall orders. Right now, it looks far more likely that McCain will be pretty well out of the race before Iowa. (I'm not predicting that--I know how early it is. I'm only saying that that's how it looks today.)

As for McCain's stroll through the Shorja market--followed by his sunny report and, the next day, the kidnapping and murder of 21 market workers--the Senator did admit that he "mis-spoke." But then he said that that's his personality, and that he's happy with the way he is. While we might applaud a man who is comfortable with himself, I suspect that Americans are fed up with presidents who consistently say what they don't really mean.

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