In May of 2006, as Iraq spiraled down into an orgy of sectarian bloodletting, John McCain had a solution. "One of the things I would do if I were president," McCain told a group of wealthy contributors, "would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit.'"
If only someone had thought of that before. This is the man Brian Williams of NBC News recently referred to as having "vast foreign-policy expertise and credibility on national security."
The fight for the Democratic nomination isn't over yet, but the direction the other side thinks things are going can be gleaned from the salvos being lobbed at the Democrats. Go to the Web site of the Republican National Committee, or any of the more virulent conservative blogs, and you'll see that most of the attacks are being aimed at Barack Obama. The contours of the coming campaign are taking shape, and as usual, it's not pretty.
This presidential campaign has seen plenty of platitudes on matters of national security but precious little real discussion about what America's armed forces will look like in the years to come. There are extraordinary challenges ahead, not the least of which is rebuilding a military utterly spent by the war in Iraq. As for the people who would be commander in chief, we know that all the remaining candidates want to defeat terrorism and keep America strong. In other words, we don't know much at all.
In his continuing campaign to become a walking punchline, Ralph Nader is running for president. Again. Four years ago, Harold, Matt, Garance and I ruminated on the prospect of what then the second Nader run. We all agreed it was a really bad idea.
The particulars of what Barack Obama actually "pledged" to do on public financing notwithstanding, it's pretty clear that what coverage there has been of this issue assumes it's an ironclad pledge. Obviously, it would be of great benefit to Obama to opt out of the system, because as of now it appears he'd be likely to raise far more money than John McCain. So how can he opt out and still save face?