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Will mcCain just demolish Obama on national security issues?

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  • Will mcCain just demolish Obama on national security issues?

    Don't be too sure. Obama has a lot of good people around him. He trusted Susan Rice to handle this little dust-up.


    Yglesias--20 Feb 2008 11:29 am
    Just got off a conference call with Susan Rice talking about the contrasts between her boy(what?) Barack Obama and John McCain on national security policy. One key point of emphasis was the strange notion coming from the McCain campaign that talking about focused counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan is irresponsible, whereas randomly threatening to start new wars is the height of good sense. As she put it "it's a strange contrast -- he says that somehow it's naive for a presidential candidate to outline how he would deal with that crucial national security challenge, but it's appropriate for him to joke about starting another war." A reporter from the Washington Times challenged her on the "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" business saying McCain was joking. Rice responds that "if he wants to say that he was joking and that's the kind of joke he thinks is funny, that's his perogative."
    I see McCain as basically losing on this round. It's bizarre of his campaign to be trotting out talking points that didn't work for Hillary Clinton, and already before the Obama campaign's official counterspin got underway we have Spencer Ackerman kicking McCain's ass and, indeed, Joe Klein calling McCain soft on al-Qaeda in the MSM.
    More broadly, on experience there's a three-pronged attack. First, Obama does have experience, with Rice citing the fact that he authored "crucial legislation to secure the United States from the threat of loose nuclear materials" and serves on committees and subcommittees dealing with foreign relations, veterans affairs, and homeland security. Second, this means that Obama has actually "acquired more traditional washington foreign policy experience" than most presidents including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter (Carter in fact served on a nuclear sub and I'm told this gave him a better understanding of nuclear issues than presidents before or after).
    Third, there's more to life than being a prisoner of DC conventional wisdom -- "McCain, like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney may have years of Washington experience" but they've all made "flawed judgments and as a consequence we're less safe." In a crucial point, Rice observed (emphasis added) that a McCain administration would be "very much a continuation and intensification of the failed Bush policy, remaining in Iraq indefinitely not investing adequately in Afghanistan." According to Rice we need to "show that we have learned from our mistakes in Iraq and elsewhere and are prepared to cooperate and collaborate on the challenges we face," namely al-Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, and climate change.
    I know Steve Clemons has expressed some concerns that Team Obama may have a problematic unwillingness to set priorities in foreign policy, but I thought Rice was admirably clear here. The question of cooperation and the question of priorities goes hand-in-hand. When you're willing to define what it is you think is really important, then the stage has been set for other countries to work with you. The kind of deterioration in America's ability to cooperate with other countries that we've seen over the past seven years stems not just from "cowboy diplomacy" but from Bush's grandiosity and lack of focus.
    v



  • #2
    I don't see why being a POW makes McCain some super hero on national security. The face he wants to stay in Iraq doesn't bode well for his ideas on the subject.

    Was Clinton some national security hero? Was Ronald Reagan? This country has had a lot of governors become president, I doubt too many had national security experience.
    In fact I don't want them playing know it all on the issue, I'd be more interested in the advisers they plan on choosing that how much they know on the issue.
    Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

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    • #3
      Better question: Will McCain be alive to demolish Obama on national security issues?
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      • #4
        Originally posted by madyaks View Post
        In fact I don't want them playing know it all on the issue, I'd be more interested in the advisers they plan on choosing that how much they know on the issue.
        After W, maybe this should become more public. Letting a president-elect put together a team after the election seemed ok 8 years ago. But seeing as how appointees directed/determined foreign policy this time around, the team should be vetted as well.

        I'd enjoy if Dicky C's quest for a 'blackbox' presidency had the opposite effect for future presidents.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by sketch View Post
          After W, maybe this should become more public. Letting a president-elect put together a team after the election seemed ok 8 years ago. But seeing as how appointees directed/determined foreign policy this time around, the team should be vetted as well.

          I'd enjoy if Dicky C's quest for a 'blackbox' presidency had the opposite effect for future presidents.
          ++

          Exactly, I'd love to see the candidates tell us who will fill many of the positions on their team ahead of time.
          If McCain listed any of the fucking idiots that have worked with Bush he'd go down in flames.

          Rummy and his kind should be baned from public service for ever.
          Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

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