Friday Talking Points [31] -- Time To Beat McCain

[ Posted Friday, May 9th, 2008 – 15:29 UTC ]

Now that that's all over with, can we please focus on beating John McCain?

Virtually everyone (with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton -- I guess nobody told her) now knows that the Democratic candidate for president is going to be Barack Obama. But while the end of this long and winding road is now in sight, Democrats should not just be heaving an enormous sigh of relief -- they should be turning all their energy towards beating John McCain in November.

Because we've already seen what happens when the candidate lets their guard down between becoming presumptive nominee and the convention (can you say "Swift Boat"?). And we definitely don't want that to happen again.

We also want to help Barack Obama with his down-ticket coattails. A stunning thing happened in Louisiana last week, but very few people noticed. There was a special election for a House seat in a district held by Republicans for 33 years, which voted overwhelmingly for Bush last time around. And guess what? The Democratic candidate won. Importantly, he won even after he was smeared by an anti-Obama and anti-Wright ad campaign by his Republican opponent.

What this means is that Republican strategists who were overjoyed at Barack's "reverend problem," and who saw it as a way to attack Democrats for House and Senate races are now rethinking this strategy. This is good news indeed. Even Newt Gingrich is worried -- warning Republicans (in the starkest of language) of a "catastrophic election" which could bring about a "permanent minority" for the GOP in the House -- a "real disaster."

Getting Obama into the Oval Office is important, but it's just as important to prove Newt right. Democrats have a golden opportunity to rack up overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008, which they will need if they want to actually get anything done -- even with President Obama in the White House. With more and more opportunities for the Democrats to grab seats opening up almost daily, bolstering Obama and beating McCain is vitally important for every Democrat seeking office this year.

So, a few quick awards, and then the rest of this column will be devoted to talking points all Democrats can use to help beat John McCain. Beat him like a drum.

Keep your eyes on the prize, everybody. Don't let your guard down. Don't get fooled again.

OK, I'll stop with the cheesy metaphors. But you get the point....


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Who else could it be?

Barack Obama wins Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week for his huge victory in North Carolina and his near-victory in Indiana. Actually, the award should really go to the voters in these two states (especially North Carolina) for mercifully putting an end to the drama that was the 2008 primary race.

It didn't even matter that Obama lost in Indiana. The mere fact that the networks refused to call it for so long meant that it was a pyrrhic victory for Hillary Clinton at best. Obama's voters showed that no matter how many times Reverend Wright was played on television, it could not alter their vote. This bodes well for November.

Barack knows he's won the nomination. His victory speech in North Carolina Tuesday night was the first speech of his general election campaign. Barack knows that his target is now John McCain. He is politely waiting for Hillary to realize that it's over, but he is doing the right thing by basically ignoring her. From now on, every speech he gives should mention John McCain as much as possible, and Hillary not at all. But, like I said, Barack already knows this.

For winning the Democratic nomination for president, Barack also picks up the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. Well done, Senator Obama! Onward to November!!


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Before we get on with awarding this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, we have some "old business" to take care of first. Back in Friday Talking Points [25], the MDDOTW award went to the group of 20 Democrats who signed a letter insinuating that if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi didn't back down on her remarks to superdelegates, they would rethink their donations to Democrats. Now we hear rumors that Harvey Weinstein, another deep-pocket Democratic donor, called up Pelosi a while back, and said basically the same thing. Weinstein denies it, of course, but I'm still awarding him a retroactive MDDOTW award anyway. Since I didn't award one in FTP [26], I've got an extra one lying around anyway.

With that out of the way, we turn to this week. Now, this week's award is not for doing something bad, it is for not doing something at all. The dog that didn't bark in the night, as it were.

John Edwards still won't tell us who he is endorsing for president. He lost his last chance to be relevant this week when his home state (North Carolina) voted, and he still stayed silent on the sidelines.

John Edwards needs to look up the word "leadership" in the dictionary. Because I'm afraid he doesn't know what the word means, or else he's been reading the definition of "follower" in its place. This is a man who earlier this year was running to be leader of our country, remember?

John Edwards, for not barking in the night, is in the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week doghouse this week.

[You can try to contact John Edwards on his MySpace page (who knows, he might still look at it) to let him know what you think of his inaction.]


With that out of the way, let's move on to defeating John McCain this fall. Democrats everywhere need to all start working as Barack Obama surrogates in front of the media cameras, and they need to keep the pressure on and not let up. The talking points to hit McCain with will no doubt change as the campaign progresses, but the intensity should not. McCain must be defeated. The Supreme Court, the Constitution, and America's future depend on it.


Friday Talking Points

Volume 31 (5/9/08)


   "100 years" McCain

The Democrats took a shot across McCain's bow with their "100 years" ad. Republicans have been crying about it ever since, just like a little girl whose brother stole her favorite dolly and then used it to smack her upside the head.

If you listen closely, you can hear them: "WAAAAHHHH!!"

Republicans (and Republican media mouthpieces) have been weeping and wailing, gnashing their teeth, crying "foul," complaining to Mommy, screaming at the ref, throwing tantrums, and generally holding their breath until their face turns blue -- in outrage... OUTRAGE... over this ad. They're not just in a snit over the ad, they've actually had their knickers in a twist over the whole "100 years" quote in general, pretty much ever since McCain actually, you know, said the words "100 years" when asked how long American troops would be in Iraq under his plan.

Now, obviously, the Republicans are upset because they are horrified that it's going to work. They can read polls, and they know that Iraq is not a winning issue for them. And McCain's framing of the issue (the ad shows actual clips of McCain saying it) was so disastrously wrong for this election year that Republicans have been desperately trying to walk it back ever since.

Now, when something works, you go with it. Democrats should use "100 years" every chance they can get. I've said that before, and I will say it again -- it is a losing issue for McCain, and it needs to be hammered hard.

But this week's "100 years" talking point is in response to the weeping and wailing. If some (cough, cough... FoxNews... cough) reporter asks a Democrat this week about the "unfairness" of the ad, the Democrat should gleefully respond with:

"What's that? Excuse me? Republicans are saying that taking quotes out of context is unfair? Republicans are saying that some television ads are unfair? Republicans are arguing for a deeper interpretation of what is a direct quote from John McCain? Republicans are complaining that people might get the 'wrong perception' from a political ad? You know what I have to say in response to that?


"Seriously, you guys are the masters at producing ads like this, and have been for decades. Decades! And now you're concerned that one Democratic ad is using your playbook? I think you're actually scared that the American people are solidly on our side on this issue, and you'd rather talk about an ad, than talk about the fact that John McCain's plan for Iraq is identical to George W. Bush's. So to complaints about this ad, I have one thing to say:

"Boo. Freaking. Hoo."


[Note: no actual favorite dollies or little girls' heads were harmed in the production of this talking point.]



This is the gift that is going to keep on giving, right up to election day. George W. Bush is now officially more unpopular than Nixon was when he was impeached.

What's great is there are so many creative ways to tie George W. Bush and John McCain together. These need to be used in just about every sentence uttered by Democrats, from now until November.




"George W. McCain"

"John McBush"

"third term"

"more-of-the-same McCain"

"Bush's protégé McCain"

"McCain's continuation of the disastrous Bush presidency."

It only takes about ten seconds to come up with each new fun way to inexorably link the two in a cute little phrase. Rinse and repeat, as the shampoo bottle tells us....


   What is Cindy McCain hiding?

Speaking of Nixon...

Cindy McCain is now on record that there is no way she's letting the public see her tax returns. "I'm not the candidate," as she puts it. My advice to her is to phone up Teresa Heinz Kerry and ask her how that worked out.

Cindy's got piles of dough, see, just like Kerry's wife. But Kerry got hit hard by the media for refusing to release her tax returns, which means Democrats can play it as a fairness-in-media issue. And there's a great example in the past to bring up, too.

"Why won't the media ask what Cindy McCain is hiding? Why won't she release her tax returns? In his famous 'Checkers' speech, Richard Nixon said the following, while trying to explain a slush fund his campaign had: '...Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat...'

"Boy, how times have changed, eh? From the concept of a candidate's wife having a quote respectable Republican cloth coat unquote to Cindy McCain. You think maybe Cindy McCain's worn a mink coat or two in her life? The Republicans have become the true elitist party, as evidenced by Cindy McCain trying to hide her enormous wealth from the public. How is it that Mr. 'Straight Talk' McCain can't even get his own wife to release her tax returns?"


   The age card

John McCain is old. As he puts it, he's "older than dirt."

This isn't exactly a secret. I mean, just look at the guy.

Because he feels vulnerable on the issue, he's launched a pre-emptive strike on Obama, saying Obama "played the age card." For the record, he didn't -- Obama said McCain was "losing his bearings," which is not an ageist comment at all. Maybe it's a "sane-ist" comment, but it's not ageist.

But that didn't stop McCain, who has obviously been waiting to pounce on this issue, from saying Obama is playing the "age card." Now, this is the first time I've even heard of this "age card," personally. And I'm still not convinced it even exists. "Ageism" may exist, but it's not quite the same thing as "racism," as far as I'm concerned.

In fact, I'll go even further. As far as I'm concerned, the age of the man who wants to have his finger on the nuclear button is a valid factor in the campaign. Whether it's "he's too young" or "he's too old" -- it is definitely a factor. And it's not some sort of out-of-bounds issue that can't even be discussed. Not by a long shot, and especially not when McCain uses it on the stump as a joke (see previous "older than dirt" comment).

So my advice is to drive McCain even further off his bearings, but giving him all sorts of places to see this horrible "ageism." The more he rants about it, the more he's going to look like... well, a ranting old man. Which isn't going to help him with the voters, although he hasn't seemed to figure that out yet.

So feed him some ammo. Offer to hold his coat while he shovels the hole deeper.

"McCain's policies are the old way of doing business in Washington."

"McCain practices old-style politics."

"McCain seems to have a twentieth-century viewpoint which is not what American needs to go into the future."

"Barack Obama has the youth of America excited in a way we haven't seen for decades. Of course, John McCain remembers the last time this happened."

"John McCain said recently we needed a 'League of Nations.' Now, I know the League of Nations was around when he was a child, but most of us know that the United Nations now exists."

"John McCain said recently that we should put missiles in Czechoslovakia, which is interesting since that country hasn't existed for over a decade. Perhaps he was just going from his own memories of the Cold War, I don't know."

"I think the American people are going to say in this election: 'out with the old, in with the new.'"


   Are you better off now?

This one just needs no explanation. Ronald Reagan used it so effectively that even people who weren't born then have heard the expression. And it is time to use it again, except this time it'll be a Democrat saying:

"Are you better off now than you were eight years ago? Vote Democratic in 2008!"


   $1.49 a gallon.

I looked it up because I was curious. When George Bush got sworn into office, the country was getting worried because the price of gasoline was going up that month. The week he took office, the average price of gas in America was $1.49.

This one just writes itself. Just remember the accurate AAA figure:

"When George Bush entered office, the price of gas was $1.49. We can't afford any more Republicans running this country like this. Vote Democratic in 2008."


   Are Republicans against apple pie, too?

I know this talking points list was supposed to be all about McCain, but this one could not be ignored. It absolutely made my jaw drop. I bet it'll make yours drop, too.

One hundred and seventy-eight House Republicans just voted against motherhood.

To be more accurate, they voted against one of those flowery proclamations Congress is fond of putting out. The House Resolution (H.Res. 1113) said a whole bunch of good things about Moms (lots of "Whereas" clauses...) and then finished off with a resounding:

Whereas May 11, 2008 is recognized as Mother's Day: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives celebrates the role of mothers in the United States and supports the goals and ideals of Mother's Day.

Not what you'd call a partisan bill, exactly. On it's first vote, it passed with an unsurprising unanimous vote (412-0). But then only eight minutes later, Republicans forced a second vote on it. They've been playing games today, trying to endlessly delay the House from getting anything done, so this can be summed up as just procedural mischief.

But the really astounding thing is that the second vote only passed 237 to 178. That's right. 178 House Republicans were for Mother's Day before they were actually against Mother's Day.

I sincerely hope the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) printed out the roll call of this vote, because it will be so easy to use against these 178 Republican House members back in their home district come re-election time. It's pretty hard to explain to your constituents why you're on the record as being against Mother's Day.

"Republicans have become so obsessed with obstructionism and so blind to the voters' wish that Congress get something done that they actually voted against honoring Mother's Day. This is a disgrace. The Washington Post ran a story about it with the headline: 'Republicans Vote Against Moms; No Word Yet on Puppies, Kittens.' I mean, what is next? Are the Republicans going to come out against apple pie, too? America deserves better than this. Vote Democratic in 2008. You know why? Because Democrats love their mothers, but apparently 178 House Republicans don't."


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant (who loves his Mom)


27 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [31] -- Time To Beat McCain”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    You make some good points, but you have a couple that are easy to refute.. :D


    The DNC is mis-representing the intent here, pure and simple. And, while it's a valid point that the GOP has been doing it for years, it still doesn't change the fact that it's wrong. The Democratic Party is nothing but GOP-Lite with this...

    2. Fun maybe, but eventually tiresome... :D

    3. Good point. Good for the goose, gander, etc etc..

    4. Playing the Age card is about as bad as playing the Race card. I hope Obama doesn't go there, as it will belie his "new politics" stance...

    5. Careful what you ask... The response might be, "yes, considering there could have been many more thousands of terrorist causalities here in the US..."

    6. War time tends to do that... One might also point out what gas prices were in 2006 compared to what they are now...

    $1.49 in Jan 2000 to $2.34 in Jan 2006. That's about a what?? 60% increase?? (Math was my worst subject)

    $2.34 in Jan 2006 to $3.60 in May 2008. That's about a 50% increase...

    Hmmmmmm So, with the GOP in control, gas prices jumped 60% in 6 years... With the Dems in control, gas prices jumped 50% in 2 years, 5 months..

    Hmmmmmm Are you sure you want to use that talking point?? :D

    7. I am just gaberflasted on this one...


  2. [2] 
    Michael Gass wrote:

    Hey Chris,

    Sorry to use your comments to pass a message, but I lost your email addy... anyway...

    Nevertheless, families of the shooting victims “are suing Blackwater under a wrongful death claim in civil court.” Furthermore, federal prosecutors in North Carolina are “investigating whether Blackwater played a role in a weapons smuggling case linked to the Kurdish militant group PKK, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.”

    This is in reference to a conversation we had a while ago...

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michael Gass -

    I'll check the link out. Do you have a more specific one, or is it on their front page?

    For everyone -

    I learned with my previous website that publishing my email address on the web leads to bucketloads of spam in the inbox every single day, so I do not do that here. However, there is a tiny link (I really should make it more prominent, because this filter has successfully stopped all spam) at the bottom of every page of this website called "Email Chris." Click on it, and I will receive your message. If I decide you're worth replying to (this includes 99% of the emails I get, I should mention), then I'll send you an email and you can write me back via email from that point on.


  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    You're back! OK, I have one thing to say to you:

    I'm still waiting for my photo!

    Heh heh. Couldn't resist.

    OK, I lost all my quatloos too, as Hillary hasn't realized she's toast yet. I predicted she would, on Wednesday morning. I was wrong. I gave her too much credit, it appears.

    So I tell you what... provide me a Star Trek quote for your response to every talking point this week (either pro or con, your choice) -- and THEN and ONLY THEN will I deign to answer you.

    Heh heh.



  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Nah, that's too easy. I was really looking forward to that photo!

    Provide me Star Trek quotes from the ORIGINAL SERIES ONLY... that'll make it a lot harder.

    OK, I'll be merciful. You can also use the movies, up until "Generations." How's that?

    Heh heh.


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:


    Yea, that's why I have been absent of late. I have no problem with going bald.....

    .... but I am trying to convince my lovely wife to don an aluminum foil bikini and a silver wig.. :D

    I'll work up some nifty quotes for ya as well..


  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Response to HuffPo comment (Since over at HuffPo, they are all about censorship)

    "The Republicans can whine about quotes out of context all they want - the McCain quote is *in* context. (That's what makes it so powerful.)"

    Obviously peterg76 hasn't really read or heard the ad. It's completely out of context. It's a small snippet of a larger comment. The DNC intentionally left out the part that really states the context of the entire statement. It's why states that what "the DNC ad conveys is the opposite of what McCain said."


  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    The question is, why would ANYONE have a problem with a US presence in Iraq for 100 years, if it was in the context of the US presence in Germany or Japan.

    Which is exactly what the context of McCain's statement was..


  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have to agree with Michale - 100% - with respect to Senator McCain and the “100 years” non-issue.

    You know, the reason I have a hard time with “talking points”, in general, is that the term implies - to me, at least - playing loose with the truth which is the typical MO of most politicians...spinning the truth to suit their own purposes. The way I see it, any politician worth his salt and in possession of an intimate understanding of the issue at hand doesn’t need talking points and to suggest that he does is an insult to his intelligence and to that of the audience on the receiving end of the talking points. Whoa, daddy! I guess I just explained why talking points are so effective. If I talk long enough, I can disprove anything I say.

    Anyway, back to Senator McCain...anyone who actually believes that McCain was talking about 100 years of combat in Iraq is part of the problem, as they say. Worse than that, though, is the fact that people who know better will make use of such arguments knowing that they will be taken up - hook, line and sinker - by no small swath of the electorate.

    Isn’t it high time that we start speaking the truth about Iraq and not inventing our own facts. We need an honest debate about America’s security and Iraq’s future and where we go from here. Besides, there is more than enough that can be said about John McCain’s ill-informed and misguided approach to Iraq and to the national security of the United States without having to resort to twisting one quote into something that it was never intended to be.

    Having said that, what John McCain actually said AND meant deserves a great deal of scrutiny. For example, he should try explaining to the troops and vets of the war in Iraq - and Afghanistan, for that matter - how exactly he expects to keep US forces in Iraq at the numbers he suggested for 100 years given that the army and marine corps are currently at the breaking point and the mission in Afghanistan is circling the drain? And, that’s just for starters.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:


    "Whoa, daddy! I guess I just explained why talking points are so effective. If I talk long enough, I can disprove anything I say."

    This struck a memory with me. I was in 5th grade and we were doing a play about Susan B Anthony (No, not the one of PRISON BREAK fame :D) I was the "prosecuting attorney" and was advocating why women should not be allowed to vote. Halfway thru my "prosecution" (it was all "ad-lib" based on our studying of the event in question) I made a very persuasive argument why women SHOULD be allowed to vote... I sat down real quick.. :D

    Sorry, but Elizabeth's mention there, reminded me. :D

    "For example, he should try explaining to the troops and vets of the war in Iraq - and Afghanistan, for that matter - how exactly he expects to keep US forces in Iraq at the numbers he suggested for 100 years given that the army and marine corps are currently at the breaking point and the mission in Afghanistan is circling the drain? And, that’s just for starters."

    Again, I have to use the illustration of US Forces in Germany and Japan.. It was those forces that broke the back (and the economy) of the Soviet Union and allowed the US to declare victory in the Cold War.

    It's entirely likely that US SOFA forces in Iraq (and Iran??) and other areas of the Middle East will allow us to claim victory in the war against terrorism...


  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    So should women be allowed to run for president?

    Heh heh. Couldn't resist.


  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth and Michale -

    Elizabeth, you're not alone in your opinion that talking points are crass and insult the intelligence. Believe me, I've heard that a few times since starting this series.

    But I beg to differ, for a few reasons.

    In the world of campaign slogans and soundbite news reporting, the only clip they're going to run is the short, sharp schlock (apologies to British readers for that). Long-winded policy discussions are not going to make it on the evening news. Which means you are not getting your message out.

    For instance, while everyone hates it, who is actively "against" advertising? Ads pay for whatever medium they are run in, and ads are the purest example of manipulating your customers to think what you want them to think. Sure, slogans are idiotic and repeated until you can't stand it anymore -- but they work. This is why "HeadOn" repeated its stupid line three times. Because there's a rule of thumb in advertising that says "if you hear it three times, you are much more likely to remember it." Next time you hear an ad on the radio, count how many times they read you their phone number or web address if you don't believe me.

    And advertising sticks. I can still reel off TV ads from when I was a kid. "Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun." That was from like 30 years ago, and I still know it by heart.

    In other words, it's crass and simplistic, but it works.

    Second point -- you have to reach as MANY voters as you can. The intelligent, politics-following public is only a certain percentage of the general public. And EVERYBODY gets to vote. For instance, I just saw a stat that said that a quarter of DEMOCRATIC voters still believe Obama is a Muslim. Check out how many people still believe Saddam had WMD or had something to do with 9/11 to prove this point as well.

    What I'm saying is there is a certain slice of the public who doesn't pay a whole lot of attention, and may decide how to vote from one stupid ad. And ads can either be effective or not.

    Effective ads are remembered, and may change people's minds. Non-effective ads do not.

    So we can argue whether the "100 years" ad is effective or not, which is indeed an argument to be made against it. But as for "the truth" of the ad, well he did say it, so it is "the truth." Does the ad simplify what he was saying beyond all recognition? Possibly, but that's not the point. This is politics, and politics gets a little muddy sometimes.

    As for the content of the ad, sure McCain went on to say something like "as long as American troops aren't dying." And sure, he meant like we still have troops in South Korea and Germany. But this raises more questions than it answers. How do we get from where we are to "as long as American troops aren't dying"? What do we do if American troops still ARE dying? Do we still stay 100 years? If we never got to that point, would McCain just keep all the troops there anyway?

    These are nuances the ad (intentionally) leaves out, but McCain has also left these nuances out -- his plan is the same as Bush's, and he won't say what he would do if it doesn't work -- same as Bush.

    But I still see it as a winning issue. Just look at the polls -- 70% of Americans want us out of Iraq. And of that 70%, there are a lot of people who aren't paying attention to the political scene. If they see an ad where John McCain says "100 years" in Iraq is "just fine" will they be MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote for him?

    That is the measure of the ad's effectiveness.

    Sure, it's political hardball. But you know what? I'm tired of the Democrats being the Washington Generals, who always politely put up a game against the Harlem Globetrotters, and LOSE. Remember what they say about nice guys and where they finish.

    Al Gore's a nice guy. So is John Kerry. John Kerry tried nuance, and the Republicans ran "I voted for the war before I voted against it" over and over and over. And we have President Bush as a result.

    And that is my point.


  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I think I'm agreeing with ya! Talking points, whether I like them or not, are effective.

    However, I would hasten to add, John Kerry is no Joe Biden and neither is Al Gore - not by a long shot!

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Talking points only have a bad name on the Left because the GOP used them so effectively...

    I am constrained to point out that this is another example (in a long line of examples) of the Democratic Party stepping on their wee-wees..

    Rather than recognizing the effectiveness of the "Talking Point" and adopting it for their own use, the Dems tried to vilify the Talking Point. When that didn't work, they (the Dems) adopted the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy and just succeeded in making themselves look like hypocrites..

    Present company excepted, of course.. :D

    As for a woman president. I have no qualms about that.. :D Just for the love of all that is good and holy and right, not THAT woman!! :D heheheehehehehe


  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, also.. It is a matter of record that Saddam DID have WMDs.. It's also a matter of record that he used said WMDs on his own people..

    It would be more accurate to say that "Check out how many people still believe Saddam had WMDs that were a threat to the United States"....

    . But as for "the truth" of the ad, well he did say it, so it is "the truth."

    A lie by omission is still a lie... Give you an example...

    Hillary said, "If Iran were to attack Israel, then I would order Iran obliterated."

    Now, is it the "truth" to scream in the headlines, "HILLARY CLINTON WOULD OBLITERATE IRAN IF ELECTED PRESIDENT". Technically, it IS true, because Hillary did say it. But, without the context, it becomes something pretty close to a lie..

    But I would like to get people's opinions on not so much what McCain said, but what McCain MEANT...

    Would anyone have a problem with troops in Iraq and the Middle East for 100 years, if it was in the context of troops in Germany and Japan? Keeping in mind that it was those troops that effectively won the Cold War and it is likely that the same effectiveness of troops in the Middle East could help us win the war against terrorism..

    Under those conditions, I can't see ANY reason why anyone would have a problem with it..


  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    I also must give credit where credit is due..

    At least CW stayed away from tying McCain to the "Keating 5".

    While it may be a legitimate issue, it's one that would tarnish the Dems a LOT more than McCain...


  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    “Again, I have to use the illustration of US Forces in Germany and Japan.. It was those forces that broke the back (and the economy) of the Soviet Union and allowed the US to declare victory in the Cold War. It's entirely likely that US SOFA forces in Iraq (and Iran??) and other areas of the Middle East will allow us to claim victory in the war against terrorism…” ...Michale

    I’m not so sure that we can be so presumptuous to think that the situation in Iraq will unfold in a similar fashion to what happened in Germany and Japan after WWII, vis-a-vis US military presence. Likewise, I don’t think we can really compare the successes of the Cold War with how we may prevail in the war against extremism, as far as US forces are concerned.

    But getting back to how best to counter McCain and his approach to Iraq...the “100 years” issue does deserve scrutiny for what Senator McCain actually meant. He fails to explain exactly how he expects to get from where we are now in Iraq - in the crossfire of a vicious civil war between and among the various Iraqi factions - to a place where the conditions are such that his “100 years” scenario can play out.

    But, there is something far more important that the “100 years” and even worthy of its own talking point! Senator McCain does not understand the first thing about what will be required to end the civil war in Iraq. He still operates under the same fundamentally and fatally flawed premise that a strong central government in Baghdad will materialize in the lifetime of anyone reading this blog!

    There are simply no reasonable prospects for that to occur. Why? Because there is no trust within the various groups that make up the government and no trust in the government by the Iraqi people themselves. This government has also clearly demonstrated that it does not have the capacity, or even the inclination, to deliver services or security throughout the country. This near total dysfunction is not so much related to the people and personalities that comprise the government as it is directly related to the fundamental structure of the government.

    What John McCain and the Bush administration, and most others, have failed to understand is that the only hope there is for ending Iraq’s civil war is through a political accommodation that is based on federalism and a decentralization of power as outlined in Iraq’s constitution.

    I'm sure that our pal, Chris, can come up with a talking point that will make people understand that 100 years won’t be nearly enough if we follow the failed strategy that is John McCain’s approach to US policy in Iraq.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, fair enough..

    If you are willing to concede that a US SOFA presence in Iraq for "100 years" is not any big deal, I am willing to concede that the issue of how we get there from here is a legitimate concern..

    I put forth to you however that, "how we get there from here" should be left (at least in THIS phase where combat is still going on) to the generals and troops in the field, not to the politicians...


  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    What we have now in Iraq is a political problem that is in desperate need of a political solution. There is no military solution to the vicious civil war that continues with no end in sight. And, I would suggest that most troops in Iraq, and their generals, would not disagree with that assessment.

    Fortunately, we have a political solution on the table that has already received the support of an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate (by a vote margin of 75-23, no less!) and in the House. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have also endorsed it, albeit unofficially. Most importantly, however, most of Iraq's sectarian leaders are also on board with the essential elements of the Biden strategy. (Les Gelb, by the way, no longer gets attribution from me as he has been MIA on this issue for too long and has failed to publically support Senator Biden when it counted most!)

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration has other plans and the electorate, alas, has spoken.

    But, simply put...absent a political solution and the mother of all diplomatic surges (actually, at this point, I'd settle for a modicum of diplomacy), there is no reason whatsoever to keep ANY US forces in Iraq for any length of time...of course, all US civilians would have to leave, too and we can say good-bye to that monstrosity known as the US embassy in Baghdad.

    Would there be serious and long-term consequences for such a withdrawal? Absolutely, positively, unequivocally!

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    I disagree that it is a POLITICAL problem only in Iraq.

    I do agree, however, that it will be politics... or more accurately, diplomacy... that will solve the problem..

    But for politics/diplomacy to have a chance, the security situation must be addressed and resolved.

    And THAT is a military problem..

    It's kinda like the LOST IN SPACE remake.. Professor Robinson represents the political solution. But, in a military situation, Major West is in charge...

    We are not yet into a political/diplomatic situation in Iraq. And we probably never WILL be until the politicians and "public opinion" back home butt out and let the military do it's job...

    This is Vietnam all over again. You would think this country would have learned it's lesson back then. But I guess it's a lesson that has to be taught, re-taught and taught again before it will sink in..

    Let the military do it's job...

    If this obvious axiom was adhered to in '91, we would not be having this discussion...


  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Michale

    If you are waiting for US forces to resolve the civil war in Iraq, then you will be waiting for a length of time that doesn't hold a candle to McCain's 100 years! Indeed, there are not now, nor will there be, enough US forces to achieve such an outcome.

    Seriously, only a political accommodation between the warring Iraqi factions will improve the security environment in Iraq, given where we are at this stage of the game. The bottom line is that the military will NOT end the civil war in Iraq, no matter how brilliant their COIN strategy and execution may be. If you listen carefully, this is what the commanders and troops on the ground are telling us.

    How long are you prepared to stay on this failing course that keeps US soldiers in harms way only to protect the status quo?

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Again, I point out that I agree with you. A political/diplomatic solution is the ONLY solution for Iraq..

    I am simply stating that you can't get there from here.. The MILITARY situation needs to be resolved before ANY political/diplomatic solution can even be mentioned...

    Things were going good for a bit.. Now there has been setbacks. Such is the nature of combat..

    But Americans were spoiled by the quick and easy "victory" of the first Gulf War... And it would have been a COMPLETE victory, had it been allowed to continue to it's logical conclusion. But, by cutting things short, it basically gave us Gulf War Part II...

    There hadn't been a better example of NOT letting politics interfere in the prosecution of a war since Vietnam...

    But the very FIRST rule when you find yourself in a hole is.... STOP DIGGING...

    By cutting and running, the US would not only be making a BIGGER hole, but we would be adding a trench that would lead straight back to our own coasts...


  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hard to believe I am an Obama supporter, eh?? :D


  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya know, it just occurred to me..

    If Al Qaeda really wanted to destroy the US, it would be so easy...

    Initiate a plot against Obama, leaving evidence that implicates the Hillary campaign and the GOP...

    This country would rip itself apart..

    I hate it when things like this pop into my head unbidden... :(


  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey you! Who said anything about "cutting and running"!? I sure hope you are not offering up a false choice by suggesting that our options are limited to staying on a failing course OR cutting and running, are you?

    You know what...don't answer least not until you have a nice relaxing drink...after your last post, I'm thinking you need to take a break!


  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, the cold beer is already flowing. After all, it's 1200hrs SOMEWHERE!! :D

    No, I know that there are more realistic options than cutting and running. Unfortunately, many on the left (present company excepted, of course) are not open to such nuance...

    On another completely unrelated note... How long do you think it will be before Al Gore declares that the Beichuan, China earthquake was the direct result of Human Caused Global Warming?? I give it 24 hours, max.... :D


  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    A self-aggrandizing announcement by his eminence is imminent, no doubt.

    Personally, I will never understand the fascination with Al Gore. I know that many so-called progressives revere him as some sort of political savior - good God! I just can't, for the life of me, understand why. I mean, its not like there are no great leaders out there!

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