McCain And The Surge: Conviction Or A Calculated Move Against The Grain?

If you’re taking a “courageous political stand” while obviously hoping that it benefits you politically, is it really a “courageous political stand?”

Hillary is famous for doing this. She really goes out of her way to let everyone know that she’s “moving to the middle” on some issue and then everybody falls all over themselves to talk about how she’s trying to burnish her moderate credentials.

That seems to be exactly what John McCain is doing by pushing the “surge” in Iraq.

For example, check out the Newsmax coverage of McCain on this issue:

McCain: National Security Trumps 2008 Bid

Sen. John McCain’s call for a substantial and sustained influx of U.S. troops in Iraq sets the Republican apart from other White House candidates – and it could help him or haunt him come 2008.

The Arizona senator’s hawkish position that the United States must do what is necessary to win the war might appeal to hard-core Republicans, but it also has the potential to turn off most Americans whose support for the nearly 4-year-old war has diminished.

“I have presidential ambitions, but they pale in comparison to what I think is most important to our nation’s security. If it destroys any ambitions I may have, I’m willing to pay that price gladly,” McCain said Friday, brushing aside scenarios of political fallout.

…”John’s taking a gutsy position, not because he’s read any political opinion polls or sifted through the results of the last election, but because he thinks that’s what’s right for America,” Lieberman said.

Interjecting, McCain said, “Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman – many other presidents have taken unpopular positions for the good of the nation.”

In other words, “Look at how I’m willing to do what’s right, even if it’s not popular. Isn’t that a trait you’d want in a President? Isn’t it? Huh, huh, huh?”

With a guy like McCain, who’s not a great respecter of the Constitution or conservative principles, but who does often seem to do things simply for the sake of getting favorable press, you can’t be sure if he’s acting from conviction or whether this is part of a very calculated decision to go against the grain for purely political purposes. From what I’ve seen of McCain, I’d bet on form, which means it’s likely the latter.

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