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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bush's Third Term?

Yesterday, I wrote about John McCain's stroll through a Baghdad market, while wearing body armor and accompanied by 100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships. See, McCain was there to prove that the troop surge was working and had made Baghdad safe.

The law of unintended consequences can be very, very harsh.

Times Online (via MoJo Blog):

A newborn baby was one of at least 14 children and adults killed when a suicide bomber detonated a lorry laden with explosives close to a primary school in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday.

The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.

It seems to me that this is almost undoubtedly a reaction to McCain BS tour. As he tries to prove it's safe, others prove it's not -- brutally. No mention of this incident yet from the Straight Talk Express. As I wrote yesterday, McCain seems to believe that his chance at the presidency is a cause worth dying for -- so long as it's someone else doing all the dying.

Not only hasn't he commented on the incident, but he won't. It never happened, because it proves him wrong in the best light and shows him as a BS artist in the worst.

McCain wants to be president very, very badly. So badly that he doesn't give a damn about anything else -- not reality, not honesty, and not the body count that followed him in Iraq.

Case in point: McCain's campaign is hiring from the Republican Rogue's Gallery.

MoJo Blog:

In December, I reported that Sen. John McCain had hired Terry Nelson to be his campaign manager in his run for the presidency. Nelson, Bush's national political director in 2004, was the creator of the infamous anti-Ford "Call me" spot that ran in Tennessee. Later that month, I reported that McCain had also hired Jill Hazelbaker as his New Hampshire communications director. Hazelbaker is best known for posing as a liberal and disrupting dialogue on liberal blogs, then lying about it.

Now McCain has hired Fred Malek as his national finance co-chair. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Malek was the man who "counted Jews" for Richard Nixon, who was seriously anti-Semitic and wanted Jewish staff members in the Bureau of Labor Statistics demoted to less visible positions. Malek was also deputy director of CREEP in the 70s. During the 80s, he was deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee, but resigned when it was revealed that he had been the man who compiled the list of Jews for Nixon.

Look at the reputation as a maverick straightshooter that McCain's carefully built over the decades. Now look at the campaign he's building. He's hiring professional liars, smear artists, and political hit men. The reputation's a bunch of PR crap.

Looking at this, I'm still saying that John McCain is the Republican to watch. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are going to hemhorrage money in the primaries. And, judging by McCain's campaign team, it looks like he plans on slapping leeches on his bleeding opponents. He's building a dirty tricks club. Romney and Giuliani could find themselves in Howard Dean's position in '04 -- still well placed in the running, early frontrunners, but without the money to keep going. A sort of loss by default.

Which is why I've written two McCain posts in as many days. McCain may look a little boobish now, but that could just be a string of bad luck (and bad decision making). The elections aren't until the end of '08 -- that's a long time. Long enough to turn things around. And a lot can happen between now and then. Two things that are almost certain to happen is that people will learn that Guiliani's 'hero of 9/11' reputation is entirely unearned and that Romney's a haircut with nothing underneath it. They won't even need McCain's help for that -- they'll do it to each other or it'll come out on its own.

If McCain's the nominee, expect a Bush-like campaign of lies and distortion. He's not hiring experts in foreign policy or governance. He's hiring experts in hatchet jobs.

If, after a campaign of smear and attack ads, McCain does win, then welcome to what might as well be Bush's third term.


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