My goodness. What has gotten into our gracious host? Did you see his post below? So aggressive and snarky. Must be something in the water over at The Carpetbagger Report.
Okay, ironizing aside, I'm afraid I have to disagree with the excellent Michael Stickings, as well as the perhaps even more excellent Glenn Greenwald (if such a thing is possible). It's true, of course, that more troops will not help the situation in Iraq as long as the civilian leadership remains totally incompetent, which is to say, as long as Bush remains President. But it is noteworthy that Bush has suddenly come out and announced that he will "adapt" his tactics in Iraq. This is clearly Bush's attempt to answer criticisms of the Iraq war, to show that he is a capable leader after all. I can't imagine anyone is actually buying this (on this, see also Michael's post over at TCR on Rove), but he's got to make the effort. And McCain, as he patiently and obediently has since losing the nomination in 2000, has been trotted out like a good dog to sit and speak. Here he is, playing along, pretending the war can still won, that Bush is a competent leader, etc. He's doing what he can, and what is required of him, to help the Republicans in the election.
I'm not especially inspired by his performance, or by his willingness to partake in the charade. But, let's face it, this is politics. Of course McCain isn't going to strike out and torpedo his own party, or sit on his hands while they take it on the chin (surely preferable to taking it in other places). I didn't see this particular interview, but I assume McCain's performance was what is has been in the past on such occasions, bemused and more or less openly ironic.
I admit to having a soft spot for McCain. It may just be because he's got such a great sense of humor. Check out the transcript of the appearance on Matthews' show here, and especially the beginning, where he jokes about drinking vodka with HRC on a recent trip to Estonia ("What happens in Estonia stays in Estonia"). Maybe it's because, whatever you think of his politics, there's no denying he is one bad-assed hombre. I'm sure we'd all like to think we would have held up as well in an DRVN prison, but, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, "not bloody likely." In any case, and whatever the reason, I want to think well of McCain, and so perhaps I'm being naive here. But I think it's equally naive to attack what he's doing now without taking into account the larger context of the election and the role McCain has to play in it in order to have a shot at the GOP nomination in 2008.