UPDATE: My friend Erick at Redstate makes the same point.

Today, John McCain got some press for stating, as a number of people had already, that David Petraeus should be Time’s Man of the Year, not Vladimir Putin. He is transparently correct.

But there is a broader point that should be made in the context of the GOP’s presidential nominating contest. Look what McCain said in 2000 about Putin. (H/T Instapundit) The guy understood what Putin was. President Bush, who got many things right in our foreign policy, got Russia horribly wrong. If he had more experience, he might have gotten it right. And having good advisers isn’t enough. Condi Rice, a Sovietologist, should have known better.

Never mind McCain being right on Iraq.

So when we have these discussions about people’s foreign policy credentials, we should at least give credit where credit is due. Experience, at least in McCain’s case, would have mattered. As we look forward, we need to remember that. When people attack Mike Huckabee for his foreign policy but praise Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, or Rudy Giuliani, we should remember something fundamental. Their foreign policy statements are ghost-written. John McCain’s aren’t. That’s a real difference.

This shines an important light on National Review’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, which I discussed previously. They had a conference call today to defend it. I didn’t hear a single supportive question, and no one spoke up in favor of their endorsement. Ari Richter of the Concord Monitor asked why so little discussion of foreign policy twice. The first time, Rich Lowry responded that all the candidates were pretty similar. They shared the same views, so the only differences are execution.

But you know what? I don’t think that’s true. Experience and demonstrated judgment matter in this stuff. A lot. And it says a lot about National Review that they are playing that down. And John McCain’s statements today and almost 8 years ago demonstrate that.


4 Comments

sampo · December 20, 2007 at 1:03 AM

No one gets it better than McCain. That’s why most of the GOP 9-11 chairmen back his campaign and that’s why he has more backing from foreign policy experts than probably every other GOP candidate combined.

sampo · December 20, 2007 at 1:15 AM

ok, my rant is not done yet. this just shows how immigration pales in comparison to the foreign threats this country faces. being a tough neocon isn’t enough. being smart is what matters.

and what the heck is up with that dopey smirk on bush’s face. doesn’t bush know he owes his entire second term to mccain?

NRO organizes conference call to defend questionable decision to endorse Romney—eyeon08.com reports that they received not one supportive question, and no one spoke in favor of the endorsement « who is willard milton romney? · December 20, 2007 at 6:10 PM

[…] December 20, 2007 in 2008, GOP, argument, campaign communications, campaign communiques, campaign literature, conservatism, election 2008, gaffs and pratfalls, incompetence, media, mitt romney, republicans, rhetoric, stupidity, the dark soul of Mitt Romney, triumph of unreasonTags: conference calls from hell, eyeon08.com, foreign policy, formerly conservative NRO, national review online, security, Sen. John McCain, stupidity “[The issue of foreign policy, which the NRO ignored in their rationale for endorsing Romney] shines an important light on National Review’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, which I discussed previously,” writes the Coptic Eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled McCain, Putin, and why experience matters They had a conference call today to defend it. I didn’t hear a single supportive question, and no one spoke up in favor of their endorsement. Ari Richter of the Concord Monitor asked why so little discussion of foreign policy twice. The first time, Rich Lowry responded that all the candidates were pretty similar. They shared the same views, so the only differences are execution. […]

eyeon08.com » The closing argument: Experience versus management · December 28, 2007 at 1:27 AM

[…] Seemingly a contrast between book-smarts and street-smarts. McCain knows the actors (thus his thoughts about Putin, which President Bush seems to have gotten wrong and McCain right) and operates from that position. One gets to argue from data though. How have people argued in the past from the input of experts? Ronald Reagan, of course, rejected the experts on "tear[ing] down that wall" and the SALT Treaty. He even created a new intelligence agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency because he wasn’t satisfied with the experts at the CIA. […]

Comments are closed.