Friday, September 26, 2008

the senator just doesn't understand...

That seemed to be McCain's favorite go to line in the debate this evening. Let's take a couple of examples and see how the claim holds up.

"The senator doesn't understand that Pakistan was a failed state when Mussaraf took control."
In case anybody was wondering if in fact McCain was right, you might consider that Pakistan was actually a functioning parliamentary democracy with an elected prime minister when Musharaf staged his coup. "Failed state" seems a bit of a leap here especially when it is typically used with states like North Korea. Perhaps McCain meant "dysfunctional state" in which case he might have to include the United States.

"I've known Kissinger for 35 years. He didn't say that. The senator is naive and doesn't seem to understand."
Kissinger, speaking Monday at George Washington University along with four other former U.S. State Department secretaries, said the next president should initiate high-level discussions with Iran "without conditions," ABC News reported.

"The senator is naive or he doesn't understand that you don't say such things in public."
McCain's point seemed to be that we need Pakistan's cooperation and since we don't currently have their trust we must tread lightly and not risk offending them. I wonder if he feels the same way about the Saudis? I wonder if he feels the same way about Russia or is that different because we really have no leverage over there at all so it's okay to rattle sabres all you want since everyone knows there's nothing you can do about it. It's striking that Obama makes precisely the same argument concerning Russia as McCain makes concerning Pakistan.

Overall, both men showed they have game. But this was supposed to be McCain's home turf. Obama more than held his own. No big losers here, but Obama wins a close one.
K

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