January 26, 2008

Twisted-Talk Express

Hatched by Dafydd

If this report is true -- and it certainly seems to be -- then John McCain has done a despicable thing... and has made it clearer than ever that in his heart, he is a Democrat -- and in the Clintonian mold:

John McCain accused Mitt Romney of wanting to withdraw troops from Iraq, drawing immediate protest from his Republican presidential rival who said: "That's simply wrong and it's dishonest, and he should apologize...."

As the two candidates campaigned along the state's southwest coast, McCain sought the upper hand with a new line of criticism, telling reporters in Ft. Meyers about Iraq: "If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher."

Minutes earlier, the Arizona senator took a slap at Romney without naming him during a question-and-answer session with Floridians, saying: "Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster."

Mitt Romney immediately and vociferously objected that this was utterly false, and he demanded that McCain apologize; instead, the senator doubled down:

Campaigning later in Sun City, McCain took note of Romney's demand for an apology and said it is his GOP rival who should apologize to U.S. troops in Iraq "who are serving this nation in hard times and good" for his position.

So what is McCain talking about? The Associated Press, generally a reliable corner man for McCain (at least during primary season), has flatly sided with Romney this time, albeit while trying to softpedal McCain's false accusation:

While Romney has never set a public date for withdrawal, he has said that President Bush and Iraqi leaders should have private timetables and benchmarks with which to gauge progress on the war and determine troop levels. He has said publicly that he agrees with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, that U.S. troops could move to more of an oversight role in 2008.

If this account is true -- and it would be passing strange were AP to lie on behalf of Mitt Romney in order to damage John McCain -- then what does this tell us about Mr. "Straight Talk?" I do believe this account for the most obvious of reasons: I have never heard Romney say anything like what McCain claimed he said, and McCain was unable to produce any quotation from Romney to back up his vile accusation.

Rather, Romney has certainly backed the counterinsurgency strategy since it began, long before it bore fruit; here is a statement from Romney dated January 10th, 2007, in which he flatly, completely, and unreservedly supports the then-new policy.

On May 30th, he again cautioned against withdrawal.

In April, he spoke to the Hill, saying President Bush and President Nouri al-Maliki should have their own, private set of timetables and milestones, to monitor progress in Iraq; he said nothing about any withdrawal, and he emphasized that any such measures of progress should be kept strictly secret:

“There’s no question that the president and Prime Minister al-Maliki [of Iraq] have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about, but those shouldn’t be for public pronouncement. ... You don’t want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you're going to be gone,” Romney said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

While Romney stopped short of describing his preferred timetables as a path leading to U.S. withdrawal from Iraq [that is, he said nothing whatsoever about withdrawal], the concept of secret guideposts for war policy closely resembles Pryor’s plan, which the centrist Democrat first put in writing last month as an amendment to his leadership’s non-binding resolution on troop redeployment.

Romney says we should have secret milestones to evaluate the war's progress; some Democrat says we should have secret milestones and also a date-certain for withdrawal. Ergo, logically, Romney must support the timed withdrawal as well! We deduce this based upon the well-known rule of inference that if two things are roughly similar in one respect, they must therefore be identical in every respect (the Law of Vague Similarlity Means Complete Equality).

Finally, at a town-hall meeting Romney held last September, Romney detailed his Iraq plan:

Romney, along with all the presidential hopefuls, is keeping a close eye on the briefing that Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Amb. to Iraq Ryan Crocker are set to deliver to Congress next week.

While emphasizing to the New Hampshire audience tonight that to withdraw precipitously would bring considerable "regional consequences," Romney emphasized in some of the most detailed language he's used yet about the conflict that he sees the surge that Petraeus and Crocker are to report on as the first element in a three-step process designed to minimize the American presence in Iraq.

After the surge, Romney said he envisioned a draw-down of U.S. troops where those who remained would take on a "support role" away from the front-lines.

Beyond that phase, Romney said he would then like to move to a "stand-by" posture. "Our troops are out of Iraq and are available if absolutely needed" at this point, he explained.

He said he sees these three phases "happening relatively soon," specifically noting that if progress is made getting to the "support role" could happen next year. But while hoping for the best, Romney noted that he'd be monitoring the situation closely "to see what kind of success we are having at each stage."

Anybody besides John McCain see a "date for withdrawal" in that plan? Perhaps I'm just missing it.

Here's some straight talk: Romney's plan was almost identical to that of Gen. David Petraeus, Adm. William Fallon, and George W. Bush; that is exactly what they have all said all along: After the COIN is successful, we can begin withdrawing troops... cautiously.

I can draw only two possible conclusions from this shameless attack on Mitt Romney by John McCain:

  1. Either Mr. "Straight Talk" has demonstrated that he will (if he gets desperate enough) stoop to fabricating accusations against his enemies... that is, to flatly lying about them;
  2. Or else, that John McCain rejects the Petraeus plan as a betrayal and believes there should never be any drawdown in Iraq; in addition, he doesn't want even internal, secret milestones to gauge our progress there... McCain will simply know, via mystic gnosis, how it's going and what to do next.

That is, John McCain wants us to maintain our current level of 160,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely, no matter what the facts on the ground may be, and no matter what the commanding generals in the field would prefer. I can only conclude that under a John McCain presidency, Navy Captain John "Full Throttle" McCain will simply overrule his own generals and admirals based on his gut feeling and micromanage the war, as Lyndon Johnson did.

Conclusion number one means that McCain is fundamentally dishonest. Number two means that, despite his military leadership being the only real selling point he has ever had, he would in fact be a catastrophic Commander in Chief.

I wonder which conclusion is correct?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 26, 2008, at the time of 3:21 PM

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» McCain Lies About Romney On The War (BUMPED AND UPDATED) from Rhymes With Right
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» John McCain: Change We Can See (Blind "Belief" Unnecessary) from Big Lizards
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Tracked on September 3, 2008 4:49 AM


The following hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin

Now I understand what Bill meant when he said that John an Hillary were great friends. They have so much in common.

The above hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2008 5:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Following on the heels of Bill Clinton reminding the Country why we don't want him back in office... John McCain takes a page from Bill's political playbook and tells a bold-faced lie about an opponent. Maybe he thought the Press would cover for him; they've been in his corner for so long he might think of them as allies.

But the Washington Press Corps are not allies; they are more like all lies.

McCain must have gotten some really bad internal polling to lose his cool THIS bad...

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2008 6:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07

Dafydd, stuff like this is why I'm not too hopeful about this year's race.

Even the best candidates on the Republican side aren't very exciting to me...and the rest...well, you know the score just as well as I do.

It's not too much fun to watch the Democrats tangle when we don't have our boy lined up to beat their battered winner.

PS. Shameless plug for myself: I wrote something again. I know it's been a while! Would love for you to read it.

Keep up the good work as ever.

The above hissed in response by: k2aggie07 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2008 10:55 PM

The following hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative

OF COURSE it is a blatant lie, and McCain KNOWS it's a blatant lie. You can tell by when the lie was made.

In the afternoon on Friday, long after the Sunday shows have been scheduled (Romney not appearing by the way), with the all important Florida primary a mere 36 hours away. It is designed to do damage and nothing more--very Clintonian in it's scope.

Intrade believes this scurrilous ploy, along with the endorsement of supposedly neutral Gov. Crist, has shifted the likelihood of a Florida win back to McCain. If it does, you can expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing on McCain's behalf. Absolutely shameful, when you consider this is what McCain accused the Bush campaign of doing in SC in 2000.

The above hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 5:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: MarkJM

As I said in a previous post. If McCain gets the GOP nomination, the Dems will win the WH. The destruction of our freedoms will come from rampant liberalism controlled by massive government. "bearing false witness against thy neighbor" is a common trait of all liberals and democrats (ignorant republicans as well) to 'get their way' (for the 'common good', you know). The only difference between McCain and Clinton in the WH will be the rate at which we all spiral into misery. John McCain is the next Bob Dole. The RNC is clueless of this fact, but I believe the media know that McCain will lose in the general election, that's why they are propping him up. Conservative (and independents) will not show up to vote, and those that do will 'believe' the media and chose 'the quick' path to misery. Here is yet another example of why McCain can not be trusted at his word. Not now. Not ever. At this point, I can only support Mitt or Rudy. They at least have excellent executive experience and I have yet to see bold faced lies coming from any of their campaigning. Have you seen such deceit from Rudy or Mitt Daffydd? If so, I hope you will post it as well. (I love your blog and your writing style immensly, even if I don't care for the topic! Keep up the excellent posts!)

The above hissed in response by: MarkJM [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 6:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: JGUNS

Wow, the site I usually agree with on everything... this is a first. I actually AM pretty excited about the republican offerings this year. They are pretty much all good conservatives, MUCH better than OBama or Hillary. ANd McCain, well, when you get past all the spin that the "conservative" sites are putting against him, has a lifetime conservative rating over 80%, also many of his past issues with the exception of McCain Feingold, he was RIGHT about. He got conservative judges confirmed, and he has NEVER voted for a tax increase EVER. Not something many others can say. As for not supporting Bush tax cuts, more spin. He wouldn't sign on them unless there was going to be a cut in government spending. I don't see anything wrong with that. Fragmentation like this about candidates is why dems win and republicans lose. We need only look at the do nothing (but investigate Bush) congress that we just elected. SIGH

The above hissed in response by: JGUNS [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 8:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Romney is flubbing the response. Of course McCain is going to make stuff up, that's what politicians do when they need to take control of the news cycle after they themselves have committed a huge gaffe (as McCain did yesterday) and they need to change the subject.

Romney and his surrogates need to say in every response to McCain that Romney only endorsed President Bush's frequently stated position that no troop level changes would be contemplated until Gen. Petreaus and Malicki agreed that enough milestones had been accomplished to justify the reductions sought. Listening to the interview in context supports that view. Then, immediately, Romney should say "McCain yesterday admitted explicitly that he is clueless on the economy. Are we prepared to put a man who is a self-decribed ignoramous in charge of our econmic policy? No? Vote Romney."

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 9:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative


I have to respectfully disagree. True, McCain's lifetime rating is around 83. But McCain has been around a long time, and like anyone in Washington too long is subject to some self-reformation.

If you look at McCain's ratings since he last ran in 2000 as a conservative-loathing candidate hunting for independents and Democrat votes, the ACU rates him out at a very George Voinovich-like 73.

Romney, who paddled against the liberal tide in the bluest of blue states, actually did an admirable job of conservative governance given what he had to work with.

While McCain's path was far easier in a GOP controlled Congress and with a Republican executive, he often took the path of least resistance on judges, taxes, immigration, political speech and others in the Senate's country club atmosphere.

That's why most conservative regulars have been siding with Romney of late.

The above hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 10:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: RBMN

What McCain did was say, "Mitt doesn't want to stand here on the Iraq issue, next to me." To which Mitt said, "that's a lie, I'm exactly where you are."

I think McCain's just playing chess.

The above hissed in response by: RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 1:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: eliXelx

Once again you are showing signs of MDS, in which sickness, like BDS, everything bad is blamed on the object of the hatred!

Hell, McCain is being trashed by "CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS" because the NYT and Bill Clinton like him! Ronald Reagan's ghost must be weeping for the coalition he tried to create!

The only reason to support Romney is that he is NOT McCain; and that's not good enough for a lot of people!

The naivété of the man is astounding! Did the Repubs want a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq? Emphatically No! Did POTUS? No! Did El-Maliki? No! Did Romney? Yes, BUT HE WANTED IT KEPT SECRET BETWEEN BUSH AND MALIKI!

As Monty Python used to say "Say no More"!

The above hissed in response by: eliXelx [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 2:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative

Well, eliXelx, there are now three people who have read the Romney transcripts who believe it is as you say: you, McCain, and his proxy warrior Mike Huckabee.

Everyone else sees it for what it is--McCain making a below-the-belt play and not leaving any time to respond significantly before Tuesday's vote. Just think: he could have challenged Romney on this Thursday night face to face in the debate, but he was playing it cool--knowing he was going to lob the hand grenade on Friday. For a man of his considerable personal courage, this McCain sure is a political coward.

The above hissed in response by: Caustic Conservative [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 7:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: AMR

I don't support either Senator McCain or Mr. Romney, but I do respect Mr. McCain's service record. However this lying about Mr. Romney shows something in Mr. McCain's character that I have worried about. He seemly can't handle criticism and is very vindictive. A Clintonion attribute, unfortunately.

Captain Ed wrote this interesting quote at his blog.

He said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. "They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them," he said.
Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: "I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options."

Well, except for the fact that it was John McCain who said this -- a year and a day ago.

The above hissed in response by: AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2008 7:38 PM

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