Powerline has some interesting analysis on today’s John McCain speech on Iraq. There’s no doubt that Senator McCain has been one of the strongest supporters of this war from the beginning, and even though the political winds have shifted, McCain won’t back down:
Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating. And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders not the giddy anticipation of the next election. Democrats who voted to authorize this war, and criticized the failed strategy that has led us to this perilous moment, have the same responsibility I do, to offer support when that failure is recognized and the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it or, at the least, to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality.
McCain’s stance is unquestionably brave. Right now, most conventional politicians are running from the Iraq issue as fast as they can. McCain, however, refuses to play that game. Either McCain is so blind that he’s lost all touch with reality (which is the shrieking chorus from increasingly vitriolic left) or he sees something that the rest of the field doesn’t. He sees that there is progress in Iraq, and that he can win politically by being the one candidate with the force of convictions not to run away from a fight.
It’s a dangerous gambit, but it could be the right one. No matter what, Sen. McCain cannot be faulted for his conviction — and in an age where the Washington political class can’t buck a negative poll, no less al-Qaeda, Sen. McCain has a very strong argument that his leadership is exactly what this country needs in this time of crisis.