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“The True Neocon”

If there are still conservatives out there fretting that John McCain (lifetime American Conservative Union voting record: 82.3%) is “too liberal,” they should check out this hit job from the house organ of the American left, The Nation. After reciting the tired clichés about what a terrible temper McCain supposedly has (something said about many other Presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman), author Robert Dreyfuss recounts with horror McCain’s plans to “carry the ‘war on terror’ deep into the twenty-first century.”

He provides a brief overview of some ideas McCain has put forward, from reorganizing the CIA to creating a League of Democracies as a supplement to the UN. All of these come with a gloss of horrified quotes from the usual suspects, such as Larry Wilkerson (Colin Powell’s former chief of staff who has been one of the Bush administration’s most vociferous critics) and liberal foreign policy scholars Larry Korb and Ivo Daalder. Daalder is quoted as calling McCain “the true neocon,” which isn’t intended as a compliment–but may well be seen that way by some nervous conservatives.

Dreyfuss highlights McCain’s support for tough action to combat America’s foes, from Russia to the Middle East. But he doesn’t even mention a host of other positions McCain has taken that should horrify Nation-ites. The Republican nominee is in favor of the Patriot Act. He’s in favor of  reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with immunity for telephone companies that cooperate with the government. He is opposed to limiting the CIA to the interrogation techniques laid out in the Army interrogation manual. And while he wants to close the detention facility at Guantanamo (which has become, rightly or wrongly, an international embarrassment), he hardly wants to let the inmates go free. He proposes to move them to the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth (where conditions would probably be more grim) and to try them through military tribunals, not through the normal criminal courts so many leftist activists want.

Perhaps these other positions could be the subject of a future expose in The Nation. As a supporter of (and foreign policy adviser to) Senator McCain, I can only hope for more such attacks, which should help to solidify the Right around his candidacy without alienating any centrists.



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