The Hawk Doves Love

Why do anti-war independents keep voting for McCain?

Read this article in the L.A. Times.

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  • ||

    For some weird reason, lots of folks seem to think he's kinda like Brando in The Wild Bunch or somesuch. I don't get it.

    What are you rebelling against, Johnny?

  • ||

    I think some are getting confused about what the "anti-war" vote is. Many people in that group are not anti-war, they just want to see things run better. They want results, and McCain makes it sound like he'll get results.

    If there were McDonalds opening all over Iraq and they we having parades in the street for America, as opposed to blowing each other and us up, then the "anti-war" vote would be substanially smaller.

  • ||

    Yeah, I dislike McCain much, but the one thing he seems to be is knowlegeable about the war. He seems to have a plan and know what he is doing.

    No one else, RP included seems to have a viable plan as far as the war goes.

  • Happy Jack||

    He seems to have a plan and know what he is doing.

    If you consider sticking around for a hundred years a plan, yeah.

  • Franklin Harris||

    I think some are getting confused about what the "anti-war" vote is. Many people in that group are not anti-war, they just want to see things run better.



    Just like most people aren't anti-government; they just want to see it run better.

    Most people, you see, want pink skies and chocolate streams and rainbow meadows where unicorns play.

  • ||

    Pink skies?

  • x,y||

    So now independents who oppose the war are single-issue voters? Did the possibility that they are anti-war but not as enthusiastically so as they are about other issue cross your mind?

  • Matt Welch||

    He seems to have a plan and know what he is doing.

    His "plan," in all cases of the past 12 years at least, has been "more boots on the ground." This plan can indeed work (and its lack of implementation can indeed turn out OK, as it did in Kosovo), but the only tactical strategy involved is rubber-stamping Petraeus' "clear and hold" counter-insurgency manual.

    When he was asked repeatedly what his Plan B was if the surge failed, he simply said "we cannot fail," and moved on to the devastating cost of failure. He's a big fan of the McArthur banality of "Surrender is not an option." Which is a great motivational phrase if you're an underdog pinned down by the enemy or whatnot, but it's not necessarily the most useful guide to navigating the hegemon.

  • When all you have is a hammer.||

    He's not tough...he's crazy aggressive. And (what's left of) the GOP is rewarding and reinforcing this.

    "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" indeed...

    If elected, McCain might well be the first POTUS brought up on war crimes charges.

  • Matt Welch||

    So now independents who oppose the war are single-issue voters?

    No.

    Did the possibility that they are anti-war but not as enthusiastically so as they are about other issue cross your mind?

    Yes.

  • Sam Grove||

    Maybe they just want to ensure a Democratic win in November.

  • ||

    I assume you've met a few, so I'm surprised you didn't note this factor: Anti-war voters are idiots.

    They're voters.

  • PC||

    Because people are idiots. The pro war crowd isn't going to cast a vote in those polls that could be construed as antiwar.

    People are stupid, it reminds me when a few friends of mine brought up politics and stated they are Republicans because they are for gun control. Yeah...whatever...I usually just pretend like I'm not interested or disgusted. The fact of the matter is that most people are more worried about raising their ignorant children, unfortunately in their own image, and paying their bills than educating themselves. Then their is all this mindless entertainment we have at our disposal. Ask the political retards about pop culture and they could talk your ear off about nonsense. We are lucky if they read a newspaper or watch at least a half hour of news, sportscenter doesn't count, and even if we are lucky enough to get that they still don't get all the sources they need to have an educated opinion. The biggest mistake that people could ever make is think that the majority of Americans are rational or don't have their head up their ass.

    Go ahead ask people about politics, Leno is not doing fiction with jaywalking. Ask people a simple question about current events and you will usually get a tilted head, a long airheaded hum, and an incoherent answer that is not even worth fact checking.

    It reminds me of Protagoras and Socrates debating things, and the question was that if craftsmen are the experts of their field and their study of the matter holds more water than those with no experience on the matter, why should the layperson's beliefs on political matters and morality hold any water? To think that perception is reality is folly.

  • Anarcho Agora||

    McCain reminds me of (the head of) Richard Nixon:

    "Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973 but your average voter is as drunk and stupid as ever. The only one who's changed is me. I've become bitter, and let's face it, crazy over the years. And once I'm swept into office, I'll sell our children's organs to zoos for meat. And I'll go into people's houses at night and wreck up the place! Muhuhahahaha!"

  • ||

    "Maybe they just want to ensure a Democratic win in November."

    McCain runs a better campaign than Romney. The latest Rasmussen or Zogby poll shows McCain with an 8 point lead over Hillary.

  • New World Dan||

    McCain has a view on the war that some find appealing. He supports closing gitmo, fair trials, and is opposed to torture. Those are some of the larger complaints that people have with the war. I'm still not voting for the man, but he's at least got some credit there. Let's give intellectual honesty it's due on the rare occasions it shows itself.

  • ||

    because the war is not an important issue to them... i'm anti-war, but it plays no part in who i vote for. if it did, i'd be voting for a democrat and then i'd have to declare war on myself.

    [just writing about voting for a democrat made me almost lose my lunch]

  • ||

    "He seems to have a plan and know what he is doing."

    Just what is his plan?

  • S. Monroe||

    American isolationism didn't keep Japan from attacking Pearl Harbor, and British appeasement didn't keep Germany from bombing London. Anti-war doves constantly raise the issue of the costs of defense while ignoring the much-higher cost of disarmament and non-engagement. It's high time the anti-McCain libertarians explain the consequences of an Iraqi withdrawal and the associated costs, versus droning on about the perils of engagement.

    It's also high time they recognize his libertarian credentials- his advocacy of lower goverment spending, lower personal and business taxes, social security reform, his vote against the prescription drug bill, crusades against pork barrel spending, his disdain for the whako Christian right that has weakened the GOP coalition, his stand against unions, his vote against a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriages, and on and on...

    He's with us 85% of the way and against us on the other 15%. Keep attacking him and maybe we can get Hillary to steer this ship.

  • ||

    American isolationism didn't keep Japan from attacking Pearl Harbor, and British appeasement didn't keep Germany from bombing London.

    What the hell does that have to do with Iraq?

    Unless you put us in the Japanese role, that is.

  • Joe Allen||

    It is perplexing that anti-war independents keep voting for McCain, but not more perplexing than the spectacle of a libertarian journalist hyping and amplifying the hitpiece on the most libertarian candidate in the presidential race.

    Matt Welch has zero room to judge the hypocricy or inconstancy of anybody.

  • ||

    "American isolationism didn't keep Japan from attacking Pearl Harbor, and British appeasement didn't keep Germany from bombing London."

    Roosevelt's interventionism led to Japan attacking Pearl Harbor and it was Great Britain that declared war on Germany.

  • Matt Welch||

    the most libertarian candidate in the presidential race.

    Did Ron Paul drop out?

  • S. Monroe||

    Ron Paul may be the ideologically most libertarian, but he has no chance of winning and because of his past transgressions is perceived by many to be an incompetent, conpiracy-minded bigot. That's hardly the mettle we'd expect of the President, and you can't blame people for thinking that given his publications, despite his excuses to the contrary.

    One must recognize that the imminent threat to a peaceful world order is cause for defense through offense. If the Allies had recognized that before WWII, they may have avoided the ensuing battle. Having said that, we never should have entered Iraq, but past mistakes don't alter the recognition of the present reality and future consequences. If we leave now, we abandon a country that we broke to formidable forces that seek to destroy us. It's better to stay and fix it than let the forces of dictatorial theocratic nationalism ignite a powder keg of conflict on the most volatile region of the Earth. We're better fighting this out than returning a mile down the road to our great disadvantage and increased expense. People who say we haven't got a chance disregard or play down evidence that the surge is working and progress, though limited, is being made.

    As for the total non-interventionalist doves, I have the feeling that you would rather lie peaceably in bed at night doing nothing until the forces of the enemy wake you with the sound of their ships crashing on our shores. The Maginot line didn't work for France, and it's not going to work for the United States.

  • ||

    Yeah, we pretty much asked to be bombed in Pearl Harbor. Our oil embargo was having a more devastating effect on them than declaring war on them would have. And we weren't exactly non-entities in the Pacific either way.

  • ||

    Its easy to despise everything about the GOP.

    Their move to theocracy, their hatred of civil liberties, the denial of personal privacy, the Big Government evolution to Corporatism, etc.

    McCain represents a slight break in this gradualism and people sense it. He is a slight throwback.

    I won't vote for him - but I understand it.

  • ||

    Ten bucks says commenter "PC" is the real-world inspiration for the Comic Book Guy.

  • Sam Grove||

    A week before Pearl Harbor was attacked, FDR told his staff that we would be a war with Japan and all that remain was to get them to strike the first blow.

    from Richard Maybury on WWII

  • Seth Goldin||

    The juxtaposition of a McCain ad right next to the link to Welch's article, right on Reason's site no less, amuses me.

  • ||

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    He's a hawk on the war, yet independent-minded voters who are sick of Iraq are voting for him anyway.

    From what I hear around here, you'd think that most Americans were really just ready to pick up and leave Iraq tomorrow.

    McCain's winning streak implies that maybe just maybe that ain't quite exactly the case.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    S. Monroe,

    we never should have entered Iraq, but past mistakes don't alter the recognition of the present reality and future consequences. If we leave now, we abandon a country that we broke to formidable forces that seek to destroy us.

    There sort of is a grain of truth to this. With the perceived power of Iraq off the table as a counter to Iran, it's not clear where things would go in the ME if we picked up and left now.

    However, I see no "plan" in McCain's rhetoric, other than some implication about "more troops". Which he might get away with if a) he's willing to reinstate the draft and b) our casualty rates don't go up. These are both way big gambles......and not an impressive plan.

    A much simpler and cheaper solution would be to pull out of Iraq, park some US armoured divisions in Kuwait, and promise to beat the crap out of Iran the minute they do anything that merely displeases us. If maintaining the ME status quo is your goal (but a goal of debatable merit).

    Figuring out what to do with Iraq now that we broke it remains a hard question. Predicting the outcome of any particular course of action in the ME is an even harder question. But is McCain ready to plant 500k troops in Iraq for a decade, in order to actually pacify it? And where is he going to get them, short of a draft?

    Your contention that McCain is a libertarian has a plan is disingeneous to put it mildly.

    I predict McCain will spend money at least as well as Bush did, and for the same reason -- because, the Dems will give your war funds, if you give them their social budget busters.

    Or was there some other reason that Bush did the Medicare thing? In which case he's even less rational I thought......


    Hillary is bad news. But it's a long way from being clear that McCain would really be any better. "He's Republican and our side is better than their side" doesn't cut it.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    btw, part of my problem with McCain's Iraq "plan" is that the US utterly lacks the stomach to pacify Iraq. The American public won't tolerate the head knocking that would be required to do the job effectively.

    So why is anybody proposing that we try it? This makes me seriously question McCain's "plan".

    If he planned on parking our forces in Kuwait, or some similar approach (that gets us out from between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq) I'd believe he was politically astute and on top of all the relevant realities. The fact that he isn't, is a real problem.

    Which is why I predict he'll spend money at least as well as Bush. He's got this insane idea that we might still actually "fix" Iraq somehow. It will cost a fortune to even try, and it's doomed to fail....

    Because peace in Iraq will depend at least as much on Iran as it does the Iraqis themselves. Lately the Iranians have stepped back, but it's far from clear that they will stay on this course. You'd probably win the bet if you said they won't.

    So US casualties in Iraq are going to continue to go up and down, and it's going to get (relatively) politically unpopular here are home, upon which McCain will face the same fate that Bush has. McCain's bluster isn't going to save him from this fate.

    I contend we're better off finding some way to step off onto the side lines, observe, and be ready to act in the event that a genuine US interest is in fact threatened.

    Of course, after Rumsfeld we may not have any armoured divisions in the old fashioned sense left, because he couldn't figure out how to move them around fast enough so he decided we'd just go without them.....

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    kwais,

    No one else, RP included seems to have a viable plan as far as the war goes.

    I agree RP has no plan. RP's is the Anti-Plan.

    But don't confuse McCain's big bluster talk (almost reminds me of Rumsfeld at times) with somebody who actually knows what the hell they're doing.

    See above, tell me if you think I'm wrong. But I contend the US cannot fix Iraq because we don't have the will or the stomach to spill all the blood it would require.

    McCain isn't going to change that simple little reality.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    kwais, btw I'm really interested in your opinion here, assuming you're the same old kwais who used to post around here (the one who's in Iraq, or was).

    For the simple reason that you've been there and I haven't.

  • economist||

    I liked McCain's comment in the Wednesday Republican debate that Mitt Romney's suggestion that U.S. and Iraqi leaders privately discuss timelines for Iraqi takeovers of various functions currently filled by U.S. troops as an indication that he "plans on leaving"-and that it was a bad thing. Up til' now I assumed that only truly insane people wanted to continue our occupation of Iraq and that McCain was a sane man (who I nonetheless disagree with) who merely thought there were certain things that we had to do before leaving Iraq. I still think the former, but have been proven wrong on the latter.

  • economist||

    S. Monroe,
    While it was a stupid idea to invade Iraq in the first place, the country was "broken" long before we got there. If the only person who can keep it from exploding into total civil war is a dictatorial thug who nerve gases rebels, I would say there is no way to fix it. The most logical solution would be to partition Iraq into three parts and accept that Iran will probably take over the Shi'ite section. This will suck for many reasons, but it's better than this endless war that we are fighting. Our only other viable options are installing a "friendly" dictator or nuking the whole country.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    The Romans would have fixed Iraq by assimilating it.

    Americans are not Romans. To Americans, there is no fixing it.

  • Visitor from real world||

    Maybe "economist" would like to

    leave politics to people whoknow what their talking about and not just say 'nuke em'. what a dick

  • economist||

    Visitor,
    I wasn't actually arguing for the nuking of Iraq. Like I said, the best option in my mind is to divide it into autonomous regions and remember to avoid similar ill-advised actions in the future.

  • ||

    [i]The most logical solution would be to partition Iraq into three parts and accept that Iran will probably take over the Shi'ite section.[/i]

    This is probably the most logical solution, sadly put off the table by the State Department's insistence on accommodating "strategic ally" Turkey with no concern to the mounting costs (on another front, see Greece's slow but steady shift to the Russian sphere of influence over our insistent support of Turkey wrt to their bilateral issues).

  • ||

    The reason anti-war Independents vote for McCain is not because they're anti-war but because they're *Independents* and they like the way McCain drives a lot of conventional conservative Republican types crazy. If only Limbaugh etc would start *praising* McCain, saying he's basically a good conservative, etc., Independent support for him would drop. (And in fact those things are very likely to happen. But only after McCain clinches the nomination.)

  • Heinrick||

    "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"

    Does anyone else remember that song. He wasn't spoofing the beachboys, someone else did the spoofe, he was just singing it.

    This seems small, buy why hasn'y our "liberal press" pointed this out?

  • Heinrick||

    "Roosevelt's interventionism led to Japan attacking Pearl Harbor and it was Great Britain that declared war on Germany."

    Now your just using facts, and that ceased to be a valid argument some time ago, or don't you remember Sept 11th.

  • ||

    Ebeneezer,

    I just wrote a long reply and it just dissapeared. So I'll try again.

    Some of the times that I have heard McCain speak, some of the things that he has said have rung true about the war. I still won't be voting for him. The Iraq war is hugely important to me, but my civil liberties back home are more important.

    As for what to do in Iraq. I think Patraeus being in charge is a big positive developement.

    With him the understanding that you can't beat the insurgency by killing insurgents alone.

    Also the understanding that Iraqis have the right to defend themselves. I believe that the 2nd Amendment is universal. (Some units need to understand that and they don't, and they are not following the rules of allowing Iraqis personal weapons.)

  • ||

    Another thing that has changed (but not enough) is the Army. Their tendency to run was mistaken for physical cowardice by the enemy, where it was just a captain not wanting bad points against on his record. That encouraged the enemy.

    And then the Army counter of doing neighborhood sweeps and rounding up people also encouraged the insurgency.

    I think that both those policies have changed somewhat.

  • Mustafa Jones||

    Paind opines that "I think some are getting confused about what the "anti-war" vote is. Many people in that group are not anti-war, they just want to see things run better. They want results, and McCain makes it sound like he'll get results."

    Staying in Iraq another "100 years" doesn't sound much like getting results to me....

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Thanks Kwais.

    Glad to hear you're also concerned about civil liberties, which is one of my big fear with McCain.

    That, and I can just see McCain rendering himself politically impotent over Iraq, just like Bush has. But I'm wrong about this part.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    But maybe I'm wrong about this part.

    That's what I meant to say.

  • ||

    Staying in Iraq another "100 years" doesn't sound much like getting results to me....

    Depends what your alternatives are really.

  • Tom Walls||

    There is a strategic value in not discussing withdrawal timetables publicly, regardless of whether we intend to withdraw soon or not.

    Although I disagree with McCain on strategery overall, I don't hold that point against him.

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