...or perhaps it could be called the McCain mantra. Just ask him what the difference is between Sunni and Shiite, and watch the blank stare and mental scrambling begin.
When I sat down to write my book on McCain, I spoke with many figures who one could fairly say know a bit about this arena. This list included three-decade Hill Staffer Winslow Wheeler (worked for Sens Pete Domenici and Nancy Kassebaum, among others), who fought for years to reform military spending, and Iraq War vet and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff.
Both are political independents, and Wheeler was a longtime Republican (forced out of his job by McCain, when he opposed him). Yet, what they had to say about McCain in my book, The Real McCain, should tell you all you need to know about the danger a McCain presidency presents.
Rieckhoff when talking about McCain's Iraq policy, had this to say:
It's half-assed, it's not going to work, he's being inconsistent in supporting it, and yet still seems to support it for political reasons.
Ouch. So not so much "straight-talk" from McCain on Iraq. We knew that. But hearing a nonpartisan military expert, and one who fights for veterans every day say this, well you can guess how truly bad Mr. McCain must be.
Wheeler's quote was even more foreboding:
It's frightening to think of a man with his temperament with all the things a president has at his fingertips--the IRS, CIA, FBI...
Wheeler is no conspiracy theorist. He now resides at the Center for Defense Information. Not exactly a countercultural outfit. As George H.W. Bush would say, message: Be afraid, be very afraid...
NOTE: Just a short pitch to pick up a copy of The Real McCain. Only $10! You'll make the birds sing, me smile and you'll help push the message out into the media about McCain, so people get to know The Real McCain. Already the response from progressives has been overwhelming, and has led to coverage at US News & World Report, Fox (who asked McCain questions directly from my book), Vanity Fair and Glamour, to name a few. But let's keep the momentum going, so when we finally choose a nominee, the battle will be already joined...