Tag: McCain

On U.S. Military Policy–McCain is No Reaganite

I wanted to call attention to an article I caught on “RollCall” the other day.  And it’s about McCain’s recent comments about the evil “isolationists” (in this case…a pretty decent portion of the American electorate apparently) daring to question military intervention in Libya:

“I wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today?” asked McCain, challenging what he termed the “isolationism” of leading members of the GOP for daring to question Obama’s Libya engagement.

McCain then went on to answer his own question:

“He would be saying that’s not the Republican Party of the 20th century and now the 21st century. That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people all over the world, whether it be in Grenada, that Ronald Reagan had a quick operation about, or whether it be in our enduring commitment to countering the Soviet Union.”

Pascoe then goes on to explain that McCain’s assertion has little no connection to reality, at least the reality that Ronald Reagan considered thoughtful military policy. To illustrate this, he pulls a quote from Reagan’s book, “An American Life”:

What would Reagan do?

Our experience in Lebanon led to the adoption by the administration of a set of principles to guide America in the application of military force abroad, and I would recommend it to future Presidents,” Reagan wrote. “The policy we adopted included these principles:

1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.

2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.

3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress.

4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available.

It’s clear to me that the mission in Libya fails in virtually every way on ALL of these counts:

  1. We have heard no argument–from anyone, least of all the administration–on why it is in our national interest to be in Libya.
  2. It’s apparent the Obama administration has absolutely no clue the importance of point number two, which is one point where McCain is always pretty good on–regardless of who is President–and it’s probably the thing that gets him the most riled up on news shows on the topic (“why won’t these Libertarians let us WIN?!?”).
  3. Congress? Who’s that? Really? He’s supposed to ask Congress.  Don’t think the Obama Administration got that memo.  Say what you want about Bush and Iraq; he at least got a resolution from Congress on the topic.
  4. Well…the funny thing about this one is that it’s inexorably intertwined with number one.  In order for something to be the “last resort” it must mean that one is “resorting” to accomplish something or solve something that desperately needs to be solved, in the resorter’s best interest.  Saying that military intervention in Libya was our “last resort” is almost like saying that as a “last resort”, I had to go twenty miles deep in the woods and shoot someone in the head who was beating their wife.  Maybe if it was someone I knew and loved (an “ally”), that would be possible, or someone that I knew was plotting to beat MY wife…or my friend’s wife.  But what were the other “resorts” that the Obama Administration went through?

The long and short of it is, everyone knows that I consider it one of my favorite past-times to beat up on Paulistinians who say we should “bring them all home” and take care of ourselves…that we should use “friendship and democracy” as the signature feature of American foreign policy, not military strength.  There are a myriad of responses to this.  Responses like, “OK, which countries should we remove our bases from? The ones who DO want us to stay…or the ones that don’t?  What about the ones that DO that are RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the ones that DON’T?” “If the whole globe goes to H.E.DoubleHockeySticks in a breadbasket, who are we going to trade with? If that doesn’t matter, then how is that not isolationist?” ETC ETC.

I think the above criteria from Reagan is a good starting point for the conversation on the topic, and leaves us with the overarching question:

What is our “National Interest”?

That’s a whole conversation for another day, but I think it’s clear that “standing up for freedom” is just not enough all by itself.  It wasn’t for Reagan, and it’s not for us.

Timothy Geithner Vote

Instead of voting to give him a Turbo Tax for Dummies handbook, the US Senate voted Mr. Geithner into position of the Secretary of the Treasury.  To check the voting of each Senator, click here.   Kudos to the following Democrats who decided to break ranks:

Byrd (D-WV), Naytax-dummies
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Nay

For those Virginia Senators (you know who are, there are only two of ya!), I’m watching ya and counting down until the next election!


Saw this bumper sticker in the parking lot at the mall.  Very funny.


The Weakness of Biden

Obama picked Joe Biden, at midnight on a Saturday.  Weak.

I’ve noticed an old practice politicians have employed has become more and more common.  Bury the bad news on a Friday afternoon and announce big plans on a Monday morning.  Last monday I was expecting Obama to announce his pick simply because his campaign has been so disciplined about following this doctrine.  The timing of this pick could simply mean that Obama didn’t want to knock the Olympics off the front page…but the Olympics are on the sports, not political pages.  The last politician to announce news on a Friday was John Edwards, and that was to hide his shame and embarrassment.  See that is kind of news you announce on a Friday.  Either Obama is embarrassed to pick the guy who called him articulate and clean, or, more likely, his other options didn’t pan out.  Here is my email from yesterday morning to a colleague who shall remain nameless after he suggested it was Biden or Kaine.

Smart money is on Kaine.  My buddy in Virginia says that really puts Virginia in his column.  Biden, goodness how depressing would that be?  Biden made no headway as a candidate, so what does another old Senator bring to the table?  I have to think Hillary is waiting until 2012 during which she may have a much easier primary, making her ascension much more Nixonian.  Sadly for America, 4 years of McCain followed by 8 years of Clinton is a likely scenario.  Kaine may be the only Veep pick with an impact besides Clinton.  If Clinton buys in Obama certainly wins but she won’t go and he won’t ask.

Then again a Clinton VP almost certainly puts her as too old to be president in 8 years, so there’s an upside to everything.

I have a feeling we have a 1 term president either way here, with far too many problems inherited from this admin and congress.  It’s hard being #1 and Americans simply aren’t willing to work hard enough to stay on top economically, I fear.  No amount of government bailouts can change that.

Ok, perhaps I should have wrote, “Obama’s smart money would be on Kaine.”  Hilary is running again in 2012, the purpose of which seems to be to keep Fox News and the rest of the right wing media in business.  I hope I’m wrong about McCain being a one term president, and a one-term pledge by him would be very foolish…two years and he is a lame duck, people.

Besides Hilary, Kaine was the only pick to bring any impact to the table.  He’s young, but I doubt that would hurt the ticket much.  Biden is merely a sacrificial lamb here.  The primary season showed us that bottom up support, which tends to support local mayors and governors, trumps broad based top-down (e.g. media driven) “consensus”.  Consensus said HIlary and Guiliani were supposed to be the nominees.  And the Senatorial consensus on Obama was upset time after time in Massachussets, West Virginia, and other states.

Now, if McCain were cynical and a bean counter, he’d pick Sarah Palin, because we all know white women scream like Banshees in fear of the Irack Hussein Osama!  I don’t think McCain is that simple minded.  McCain will pick someone he likes who he can trust…I think that rules out Romney, though he is a real team player and would be a good attack dog.  His business acumen would be a real asset that McCain acknowledges he needs.  Sadly it seems that he’d pick Lindsay Graham, simply because the guy is McCain’s wingman.  Period.  McCain is a pilot and he wants a good wingman.  So to all the governors out there, buzz off, this is an executive race about legislative power.

Drilling offshore, how does this not make sense?

I’ve run into a lot of flak from colleagues who treat McCain’s proposal to lift the federal ban on offshore drilling as if it were a suicide pact.  Woe is freakin’ us, bros.  Relax, if your state doesn’t want to drill, like Florida or California, it won’t.  However, if your state does want to drill for oil, like perhaps Virginia, new business and tax revenues comes to both your state and federal gov’t, and you have more high paying jobs in your  state that Americans are willing to do.  If you live in a state that wants to drill, and you don’t, you can call your local congresscritter.  That’s called federalism, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  This is the easiest slam dunk proposal I’ve heard from McCain and I can’t see how it isn’t a winner.  I expect more like this will come out and haters will come out in droves in the media…and in my building.

The only criticism I’ve heard from Obama and the media is that “drilling will only reduce the price of gas by a few pennies.”  Well, #1 how do they know, and #2 wouldn’t citizens rather more of the money you use to put gas in your tank go to Americans rather than Saudi Arabia or Venezuela?  When the best criticism against a policy is, “it isn’t as good as you say it is” then that really isn’t a criticism.  To quote Marcellus Wallace: “That ain’t no kind a answer”.