McCain’s Ace in the Hole

With Russia’s attack on Georgia and Barack Obama’s bumbling reaction, now is the time John McCain ought to be hammering the most powerful case for supporting him: in an increasingly dangerous world, America needs serious leadership instead of incompetence. McCain’s own reaction to the conflict is more coherent and substantive than Obama’s, and displays McCain’s knowledge of the issue, but unfortunately doesn’t offer a lot more than “we need to instantly mobilize people to talk about what we’re gonna do.”

If disgruntled conservatives are gonna be convinced to support McCain, it will have to be on foreign policy and national defense grounds. The good news is, he has one ace in the hole (if he realizes it):
the support of John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton has a clear view of both the threats facing America and the international community’s inability/unwillingness to deal with them, as well as a proven ability to speak plainly about them, without regard for Beltway hand-wringing. He’s earned the respect of the Right, the venom of the Left, and, if utilized by the campaign, could go a long way toward bringing the case for a strong, clear-eyed foreign policy to the American people in an accessible way.

But beyond that, I’d like to see McCain signal just how serious he is about a meaningful foreign policy change by pledging to put Bolton in a prominent post in his administration. More “realistic” (read: timid) conservatives and Republicans would probably advise against such a move, based on how much liberals would howl about it. I say let ‘em. Heck, they’re calling McCain a racist without anything to go on; what makes you think you can appease these people? Just do the right thing, and defend it with that “straight talk” we hear so much about from ol’ John.
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