Monday, December 31, 2007

Biden on McCain in 2004 - "John's right" about Iraq

Back in May of 2004, Biden and McCain were together on Meet the Press.

On mistakes made in Iraq -


. . . One was the lack of sufficient troops there which allowed the looting to take place, which established kind of a lawless environment. I think any law enforcement person would tell you that the environment is a very important aspect of it. The fact that we island-hopped and left certain areas of towns and cities around Baghdad as well as in the Sunni Triangle alone. I think it's because we probably didn't make sufficient plans to turn over the government as quickly as possible and a level of expectation that probably was unrealistic, which led to a certain amount of disappointment, but a lot of it had to do with lack of sufficient troop strength at the time that "combat phase" was over.
So yes, it's true McCain has been vocal and consistent about this all along, even while he supported Bush for reelection.

Biden's response:
. . . Number two, too little power. John's right. Imagine if we had not treated the French--excuse me, the Turks with such disdain, that 4th ID would have come down from the north through the Sunni Triangle, there may not be a Sunni Triangle. As John pointed out, too few troops, looting, 850,000 tons of weapons left open, not able to guard them and then we went with too little legitimacy. . .

On how to turn things around in Iraq-

McCain: I believe that we have to make sure that we stick to the June 30 date. I believe we should accelerate the date of the elections. I think that many parts of the country, including in Baghdad, that we could have these elections. They may be flawed but the quicker we turn the government of the Iraqi people over to the Iraqi people, the more it will be then the insurgents verses the Iraqi government rather than the insurgents against us. And I would accelerate the timetable for the elections and I would certainly enter into the status of forces agreement so that we would know exactly the relationship between the U.S. military and new Iraqi government.

Russert: Senator Biden?

Biden: About the same as John. I would make this about the Iraqi people, not about us. Look, it's real simple. Why are we there? We're there now to make sure the Iraqis end up with a government. What kind of government? One that's secure, its own borders, is representative, is not a threat to its neighbors and does not have weapons of mass destruction. How do you get there? You get there by an election.

An election is going to take place, hopefully in November or December of 2005. What do you need to do that? You need more security and more legitimacy. . .

So back in 2004, Joe Biden recognized that security was a precondition for representative government in Iraq. The Democrats today have little patience for an increased troop presence that aims at precisely that. But back in 2004, there was much more acceptance among Democrats for the strategy that McCain then advocated, that is now working to reduce violence. So much so that many Democrats were excited about the prospect of a Kerry-McCain ticket. There is a lot of nonsense floating around about how McCain flirted with the idea of being the Dem's #2. The flirting was in fact from entirely the other direction, from the Democrats and MSM types like Russert. McCain gave his full support to Bush's reelection. I've long been an admirer of McCain, and my decision to vote for Bush's reelection in 2004 was greatly influenced by McCain's support. I imagine that I am hardly the only one for whom this was the case. Those who seem perpetually angry at McCain's supposed disloyalty to the GOP should consider that had McCain's endorsement was the one that mattered in 2004, and it mattered all the more because he was considered so highly by many moderates and independents. Had McCain been less enthusiastic in his support of the President, I was fully ready to write-in "John McCain" come the first Tuesday in November.

I wish Joe Biden well in Iowa. He seems like a pretty decent guy who has seen rough times in his personal life. He didn't vote to cut off funding for the troops, isn't in complete lock-step with the abortion lobby, and has more foreign policy experience than the three Dem front-runners combined. Contra Coulter, if Democrats had any brains they'd probably vote for Biden. And Biden's words of praise for McCain are just as true as they were back in 2004 ( sans the "vice"):

I think John McCain would be a great candidate for vice president. I mean it. I know John doesn't like me saying it, but the truth of the matter is, it is. We need to heal the red and the blue here, man, the red states and the blue states. And John McCain is a loyal Republican. God, he drives me crazy how loyal he is as a Republican as much of a friend as he is. We disagree on a lot of things, but I'll tell you, the fact of the matter is that we've got to bring together the red and the blue here. . . I'm counting on him being a more loyal American than he is a loyal Republican. And, John, I'm not so sure you're so happy about the Senate. I'd like to see you president instead of the guy we have now. . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

McCain's Conservative Presidency

John McCain has often noted that Teddy Roosevelt is one of his favorite presidents. But when it comes to executive power, McCain could end up being the William Howard Taft to Bush-Cheney's TR. Daniel Drezner links to this Boston Globe article describing a McCain approach to making the presidency more open and accountable. McCain might be wrong on Constitutional issues such as campaign finance, the line-item veto, and prohibiting flag burning. But a McCain presidency would break from the last two presidencies and work within the law and under the scrutiny of the public. As McCain says ,"anything that makes people pay attention to their government is probably a good idea."

Some fear McCain is too much of a hawk, but of all the candidates, due to his own experience, McCain understands that America cannot have success in a war without the support of the American people. McCain knows the stakes of war as much as anyone, and will not involve our nation in any endeavor without communicating the true scope of the sacrifices that will be necessary. McCain continues to take a lot of flack from Republicans for his "Gang of 14" that allowed most but not all of the conservative judicial nominees to go forward. This bipartisan accord was fundamentally conservative, as it stopped the traditional rules of the Senate from being thrown out the window. The filibuster makes activists moan, for it is one of the aspects of the Senate that keeps the majority party in check and characterizes the body as deliberative. By not exercising the "nuclear option," it will be possible for extreme activitist judges of the Left to be blocked even in the event of Democratic control of both the Senate and the White House. This foresight that McCain showed by holding onto deliberative tradition against the wishes of the "movement" conservatives demonstrates that a McCain presidency will be a conservative one, for McCain recognizes the corrupting influence of power. The anti-Machiavellian crusade McCain has fought against the use of torture is another example of McCain's understanding that what law broken for the sake of efficiency in the moment can have dire consequences for the liberty and security of the future.

Friday, December 21, 2007

how many politicians does it take to change a lightbulb?

Even one is too many for me.

As a conservationist, I do as much as I can to reduce, reuse and recycle.
But if I like my light bulbs heat emitting and soft on the eyes, why should my options be limited by the government?
Go ahead, put a tax on it, make me pay a few more cents for it - but for the sake of my poor astigmatic eyes, on the gentle soul of Thomas Alva Edison, don't make the incandescent light bulb illegal! (M. Malkin also laments this not-so-bright idea.)
While I'm particularly dispirited by this attack on mood lighting by our legislature, the energy bill that overwhelmingly passed both houses of congress and received the Prez's signature has myriad problems - some of them listed here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the meaning of entrepeneur

Last Monday's quote of the day from the Council on Foreign Relations blog:

“Alcohol fuels made from corn, sugar, switch grass and many other sources that could benefit that rural farm economy of South Carolina and other states, fuel cells, biodiesel derived from waste products, natural gas, and other technologies are all promising and available alternatives to oil. I won’t support subsidizing every alternative or tariffs that restrict the healthy competition that stimulates innovation and lower costs. But I’ll encourage the development of infrastructure and market growth necessary for these products to compete, and let consumers choose the winners. I’ve never known an American entrepreneur worthy of the name who wouldn’t rather compete for sales than subsidies.”Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in a speech today at the Center for Hydrogen Research in South Carolina.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

how to be all that you can be

Two approaches to army recruitment:

1. Lead by example: elect John McCain commander-in-chief, inspiring young people to courage and a cause greater than their own self-interest.

2. The Axe Body Spray method, as demonstrated in this Ukranian commercial.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

gratitude, not just apologies

Fred Thompson's recent "apology" to Mike Huckabee really brings up the whole issue of candidates being courteous to one another. It's about time the other candidates consider thanking Huckabee for what he's done for their campaigns so far. Here are some suggestions:

Mike, thanks for letting everyone know you think I'm awesome. Plus, thanks for being the punching bag of the supply-side fundies this time instead of me. - John

Huckster, thanks for being such an easy target for my attack ads. -Fred

Mike, you have succeeded in getting the media to focus on the debate about my religion instead of the debate about my record. I am forever grateful. - Mitt

Folks are no longer talking so much about me being anti-gun. Instead they're talking about you being anti-tobacco. Thanks, Mike. But one thing I don't get - I get Pat Robertson's endorsement, then all of a sudden all the evangelicals start flocking to you. What gives? - Rudy

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speaking Farsi, cont'd

Niall Ferguson, Harvard historian and annoyingly-brilliant-but-with-a-pleasant-Scottish-accent commentator on international relations, sees an opportunity for a McCain presidency to make some real headway with Iran:

On Mr Bush’s watch, Iran’s political position has got stronger. If the US quits Iraq prematurely, Persian hegemony in the Gulf could become a reality, even without nukes.

Mr Bush’s successor needs a different approach, offering a grand bargain to Tehran: economic assistance and diplomatic rapprochement for a renunciation of nuclear weapons and terrorism. Sounds implausible? No more so than Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon’s opening to Maoist China in 1972. But which of today’s presidential candidates could pull it off? Surely not foreign policy novices like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee. Surely not the fire-breathing Rudy Giuliani, a paid-up believer in world war four. Surely not, Iran being what it is, a woman.

Step forward John McCain. For who could more credibly put the next world war on ice than a veteran of Vietnam, itself a subplot in the third world’s war?

quick thoughts on a debate with short answers

I just saw the re-airing on C-SPAN of this afternoon's Republican debate in Iowa.

Huckabee and Thompson appeared to have had the strongest performance, especially considering the absurdly short time-frames allowed for the candidates to answer questions.

Romney had that same ol' twinkle in his eye, but didn't come up with anything memorable to say. Having Alan Keyes there made for some liveliness, made Duncan Hunter seem mainstream.

Finally the candidates talk a little about education - I'll post more on that before too long. Plus more straight talk by McCain on farm subsidies vs. fiscal conservatism.

You can watch it here with real media player.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stupid thoughts on the Economy

So there's this new poll claiming that voters are now more concerned with "the economy" than they are with Iraq. Bill Schneider reports on this development, quoting Ms. Clinton -

"I'd describe the economy as kind of a trap door where you're one medical diagnosis or a pink slip or a missed mortgage payment away from dropping through and losing everything"

Hmm, Ms. Clinton, is this the same economy that is experiencing such growth that it makes you so confident Social Security will be solvent indefinitely without any significant reform?

It just makes me wonder what people mean when they say they are worried most about "the economy."
Of course, in most polls "the economy" is just one item among another limited predefined selection of issues, where things like nuclear proliferation or genocide don't even show up.

The economy is an important issue - very important. But what do voters expect from a President? Politicians can do very little about the periodic waxes and waning of the market, or about this month's high gas prices. Where government does have an influence is in the long term. And so the importance of this issue shouldn't really go away. We need to start thinking less about what a President can do to lower the price of yellow bananas, and more about what a President can do to cut the deficit, to encourage long term growth, to build healthy trade relationships, and to develop sustainable policies with regard to energy and natural resources.

In short, we need a President whose economic contribution will be felt not in the next election cycle, but in the next generation.

Friday, December 7, 2007

speak Farsi and carry a big stick

Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and informal foreign policy adviser to John McCain, tells the Bush administration it's "Time to Talk to Iran"

This is as good a time as any. The United States is not in a position of weakness. The embarrassment of the NIE will be fleeting. Strategic realities are more durable. America remains powerful in the world and in the Middle East. The success of the surge policy in Iraq means that the United States may be establishing a sustainable position in the region -- a far cry from a year ago, when it seemed about to be driven out
. . .

They should also address the Iranian government's violation of human rights and its tightening political repression. Some argue that you can't talk to a country while seeking political change within it. This is nonsense. The United States simultaneously contained the Soviet Union, negotiated with the Soviet Union and pressed for political change in the Soviet Union -- supporting dissidents, communicating directly to the Russian people through radio and other media, and holding the Soviet government to account under such international human rights agreements as the Helsinki Accords. There's no reason the United States cannot talk to Iran while beefing up containment in the region and pressing for change within Iran.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

El Buen Samaritano

This story from KVOA in Tuscon:

"Regardless of what your politics is on illegal immigration, he happened to be in a situation where he had to put his goals and plans aside to benefit a young boy who needed help"
- Rio Rico Fire Chief Mike Foster

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

party of one, please

Are you pro-life? anti-torture? sorry - you still have to promise to vote for Giuliani in the general election. This is just one more astonishing reason to loathe the Virginia Republican Party establishment. What's next -perhaps a loyalty oath to your party's state and local career politicians?

In 1994, the party nominated Oliver North. Enough people who typically voted Republican were repulsed by a man they considered someone who lied to Congress, and Sen. John Warner endorsed an independant bid by former Republican Governor Marshall Coleman. In the midst of the Gingrich revolution, a strongly conservative state reelected a liberal Democrat. One might have expected the VA GOP establishment to reform its ways and reach out to moderates and conservative independents as crucial to its future. Democrats now control Virginia's state senate, governorship, and one (probably soon to be two) seats in the U.S. Senate. And the VA GOP keeps on shrinking its base in order to save itself from the "RINOs" in its ranks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the strength of a septuagenarian

In "In Search of Old Magic" The Economist writes of John McCain:

Most people know that he is one of America's great war heroes. His heroism still shines though in his commitment to political reform. He has done more than any other politician to savage vested interests in the name of the national good. And he has done more to form alliances with Democratic senators: on campaign-finance reform (with Russ Feingold), on immigration reform (with Teddy Kennedy), on global warming (with Joe Lieberman). Government watchdogs credit him with saving taxpayers billions of dollars, improving public safety, protecting Indian tribes and stopping illegal influence-peddling. He has never pulled his punches when criticising Mr Bush's performance in Iraq—particularly on the president's see-no-evil approach to incompetence and his see-no-incompetence attitude to his former defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.
Looked at in the right light, Mr McCain's weaknesses can also seem like strengths. The flip side of age is experience: Mr McCain probably knows as much about how Washington works as anybody, and certainly as much about what war is like.
That praise is partially in response to this challenge posed near the beginning of the article:

Mr McCain's most notable disadvantage is his age. He will be 72 in January 2009—three years older than Ronald Reagan was when he first moved into the White House—and he would be 80 if he served two terms. It may be true that 70 is the new 60. But Mr McCain has had a hard life. He spent five-and-a-half years in the Hanoi Hilton, a notorious Vietnam prisoner-of-war camp. He broke both arms and a leg when he ejected from his plane, and his hosts left his limbs to set themselves. (He still cannot lift his arms above his shoulders and aides have to comb his hair.) On top of that came a serious bout with skin cancer in 2000. Some 30% of voters and 22% of Republicans express reservations about his age. His opponents say he should be anded a gold watch rather than the keys to the nuclear football.

Is it true that old age is McCain's greatest liability in the campaign? For many on the right, I'm sure his bipartisanship and his work on immigration and campaign finance reform are his biggest obstacles. But to the extent that many people see age as a disqualifying factor - What does it say for a culture that a relatively advanced age is assumed to be so much a laibility that it should
overwhelm credentials of experience and authority? And what does it say when those who live through their afflictions and accomplish great things, that this is for many a source of implicit prejudice rather than inspiration?
A pop culture preoccupied with marketing the fountain of youth saw the wise and distinguished Bob Dole in 1996 as merely geriatric. In 2000, John McCain was an energetic reformer. Eight years later, we are often reminded, McCain, if elected, would be the oldest candidate to ever take office. We are less often reminded that this of course was the case with a few other presidents also.

A 72 year-old McCain in 2009 would break the record for an initial inaguration held by a 69 year-old Reagan in 1981 (though still younger than Reagan was in 1984). The previous record makers were William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson and John Adams. It is remarkable that a full century and a half passed between the inaguration of W. H. Harrison and Ronald Reagan.
Harrison was the first president to die in office, and perhaps this led in part to an atmosphere where older candidates were less politically viable.
What is even more remarkable is the age and longevity of the early presidents when compared to their time and their successors. Of the ten presidents born before the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, tha median age at inaguration was 58 - well into the range of adult life expectancy for that time. The median longevity for these presidents was a full 78 years. Benjamin Franklin, while not a U.S. President, demonstrated the energetic contribution of a septuagenarian statesman as ambassador to France - a position of importance equal or greater to that of any civilian in America's struggle for independance.
For the presidents born between the Constitution and the Civil War, the median age at naguration was a mere 51, while the median longevity - excluding those assassinated - was 67. For the presidents born after the Civil War who have died, the median age of ascendancy rose to 56, and the median longevity to 81. Modern advances in medicine and well-being have meant that for those Presidents born after 1910, only JFK has died before the age of eighty, and 83 year olds George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter continue to be active. It is very possible they will survive another decade and surpass the 93 years of Reagan and Ford.

McCain has suffered the scars of war and sickness, but is that any kind of a disqualification - that he has experienced the savage aspects of the human condition and faced them heroically? Many presidents have suffered maladies, including during their term of office. Bill Richardson received an endorsement from the NRA in his last run for governor, but he is among many who want to keep guns out of the hands of anyone with a mental illness. This may seem sensible, but it reflects the spirit of an age that might have not looked kindly on Lincoln's melancholy. For all the talk about diversity we hear, some discrimination when it comes to a person's perceived health and happiness continues to be largely acceptable in our society.

Senator McCain has said he's the "the luckiest guy that I've ever known" even as he has certainly endured the stresses and strains of life associated with a life of sacrifice and service to, as he often puts it, "a cause greater than one's own self-interest." The physical results of such service can be a powerful testimony. In "George Washington: Presbyopia Saves the United States," Dr. Zebra quotes Flexner's account of Washington before his officers at Newburgh:
[Washington] remembered he had brought with him a reassuring letter from a congressman. He would read it. He pulled the paper from his pocket, and then something seemed to go wrong. The General seemed confused; he stared at the
paper helplessly. The officers leaned forward, their hearts contracting with anxiety. Washington pulled from his pocket something only his intimates had ever seen him wear: a pair of eyeglasses. "Gentlemen," he said, "you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country."
This homely act and simple statement did what all Washington's [prepared] arguments had failed to do. The hardened soldiers wept. Washington had saved the United States from tyranny and civil discord.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

lost me at "stuck in traffic"

The VA GOP establishment would have us believe that former Governor Jim Gilmore is the best hope of holding on to the Senate seat of retiring Senator John Warner. Here he is announcing his candidacy:

There is a reason this guy didn't last long in his Presidential bid. How long into this video does it take before you are bored out of your mind?

Friday, November 23, 2007

a convenient truth

Perhaps the timing might seem a bit too convenient, but now might be a good time for Senator McCain to rethink his position on funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

McCain scores on healthcare

Last month the National Journal came out with its rankings on presidential candidates' healthcare plans:

National Journal asked 10 health care specialists to assess the proposals from the top-tier presidential candidates who have unveiled such plans: Democrats Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, and Republicans Giuliani, McCain, and Romney. Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee wasn't included because he has yet to present a plan.) After consulting with those and other health policy experts, we created a system for rating the plans' probable impact on the uninsured, on government spending, on consumer costs, on employer-based insurance, and on the quality of care. National Journal's judges gave each candidate's plan a series of numerical grades, from 1 to 10, depending on how close they think it would come to achieving a given goal, such as covering the uninsured. A score of 10 indicates that the plan would come extremely close to achieving the goal, and a score of 1 means that it would not come at all close. The judges, who span the ideological spectrum, are primarily from research organizations, universities, and think tanks. The scores in the articles that follow are averages of the 10 judges' marks for each facet of the candidates' health plans.
Democrats scored higher on universality of coverage, while Republicans scored higher on economic impacts. Scores of impact for consumers, employers, and quality of care were more of a mix when it came to the two parties.
John McCain had the best showing by far among the Republican plans. McCain's score was the highest of any candidate for encouraging patients to seek value for cost, and for keeping healthcare costs in line with economic growth. On two goals related to quality, McCain tied with the Democrats for highest. McCain tied with Giulliani on financial impacts to employers, and with Giuliani and Romney on cost to the federal government. Three additional goals gave McCain the highest score among the Republicans, though lower than the Democrats. Only on continued employer coverage did McCain score lower than Romney, this because of a shift to individualized coverage:
The Republicans' plans would probably cause some erosion of employer-based coverage, but individual coverage would fill in the gap, in Butler's view. He cites John McCain's proposal as triggering a migration from "inefficient small-business plans to plans offered through organizations but still linked to business." McCain would replace the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health plans with a refundable $2,500 tax credit for individuals ($5,000 for families)who buy health insurance. Individuals could get insurance through any organization or association, including an employer, and workers could carry the policies from job to job.
One of the judges of these plans was John Goodman, founder of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He has put up his own scores for the goals addressed by National Journal. On two ratings of competition, Goodman has McCain tied with Giuliani, and towards universal coverage - Goodman, like the National Journal judges as a whole, rates McCain highest among the Republicans and competitive on this with Obama. On the other 6 of 9 goals where Goodman gives a rating, including giving patients a broad range of providers, McCain outperforms all other candidates.
While believing that none of the candidates plans go quite far enough to enable consumer-driven health care, Goodman says the candidate whose plan is "most radical" is
McCain by a long shot. He would completely replace our arbitrary, regressive, wasteful system of tax subsidies for private health insurance with a $2,500 refundable tax credit for everybody ($5,000 for couples). By contrast, the leading Democrats would not repeal a single existing subsidy; they just add new ones. (That is why their plans are so costly.)

meanwhile -

Least Loyal to his Own Vision: Romney. He enters the contest with a huge advantage. He engineered a bi-partisan plan to credibly create universal coverage in Massachusetts. (Compare that to Hillary's failed reform.) So what does Romney do when he gets in front of primary voters? Pretends it never happened.

Of course, the Massachusetts plan did have some glaring faults, especially for libertarian-leaning folk like myself who absolutely loathe the idea of making it mandatory to buy health insurance. It stinks too much of fascism for government to make all individuals choose between a limited range of plans, a law that transfers wealth from individuals to companies. The car insurance analogy doesn't work here - you can still choose not to drive.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Webtangle: memo to candidate - don't go negative, stick to substance

In this day of the blogospher, in the pluripotent snarl of contemporary spliced-soundbyte ludicrous-speed digital telegram news, even a scent of smoking adverseriality can soon become explosive if things get too personal. It can become near impossible to recover original nuance from under the decontextualized debris of hyped hostility.
In such an environment, a candidate would be well advised, for exmple, concerning another candidate whose former business associate is coming under heat, to stand clear and let the news cycle ferret out the details until they are sufficientl exposed to the primary voters consciousness. Cable news is perfectly capable in this regard, being able to harp and nag upon the same question again and again completely unselfconsciously, even if it isn't leading anywhere.
And as far as that candidate who turned down an oppurtunity to serve on a panel concerned with crafting a policy bearing upon our military and security of nations, it should not be in any way suggested that such refusal demonstrates a lack of sympathy for the people and issues which that policy would effect. Let it rather be admitted plainly that such candidate had little expertise on the subject to begin with, and so was ill-prepared to engage in such study group, his withdrawal from it thus being perfectly understandable.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Credibility: Part 1 - America and the World

America faces a real challenge right now in terms of credibility. It is both about our place as a nation in the eyes of other nations, and also our view of ourselves and what we stand for.
President Bush has acted in what he has believed to be in the best interest of our nation and our world. And his policies have accomplished a great deal of good in the world - whether through saving lives through anti-AIDS programs in Africa or by liberating millions of Afghanis from the oppressive grip of the Taliban. And we cannot of course we should not forget the evidence provided by an absence – that we have not had a terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, since the Bush administration first made the case for war against Saddam to the world and to the American people, there has been a serious diminishment of credibility. Part of this is because America did not gain the support and partnership of the UN Security Council in launching the invasion. Additionally, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons stockpiles have since been found in Iraq. The credibility gap widened as the Bush administration pursued grievously wrongheaded policy in Iraq after the initial invasion that toppled Saddam’s regime. The images brought to the world of the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib shocked Americans and highlighted the problem of torture. The Bush administration, while condemning the abuses at Abu Ghraib, failed to take a strong stand against torture in the War on Terror, and under the influence of the Vice President, actively resisted such a stand.
It is true that we have enemies who are willing to use torture against us and commit all kinds of atrocities, and who would be willing to continue these acts no matter what violence we forswear – as long as we represent freedom and pluralism, we will have enemies in those who oppose those ideas. It is also true that by engaging in torture we create a powerful recruiting device for these enemies. Meanwhile the most powerful nation on earth gives up the moral high ground, distancing ourselves from our allies and making it harder to achieve a coordinate response to international terror.
On this issue of moral credibility in the world, I would have a hard time voting for the likes of Romney (who says he wants to double Guantonamo) or Rudy (who says that whether waterboarding is torture “depends on who does it.”) And it's also one of the main reasons I support John McCain, who has credibility on these issues like no one else.