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Contentions

The Best and The Worst

Bill Kristol’s defense of John McCain includes this noteworthy passage:

We also hear a lot of squeaking from rats deserting the McCain ship about Barack Obama’s exemplary temperament. So what? If he’d had his way, Obama would have lost the war in Iraq–with equanimity. He would have been calm, cool, and collected as U.S. interests were sacrificed and U.S. honor besmirched. Neville Chamberlain also had a fine temperament and a good intellect. Joe Biden, by the way, has neither. But he did–much as he now wishes people to forget it–support the Iraq war. These days, he can barely be bothered even to mention Iraq. Oh well, start a war, lose a war. Gotta move on.

Kristol’s take on Biden is especially relevant in light of the Colin Powell endorsement. Wasn’t it Powell who invoked the “Pottery Barn” rule  (“you break it, you own it”) with regard to Iraq? It seems Biden was just the sort of miscreant who Powell was seeking to handcuff for attempting to flee the scene.  Someone should ask Powell about that at the next Georgetown soiree.

But everyone makes choices and must live with the consequences. It is when defeat is not just possible but imminent that character comes through. We see who abandons principle for social acceptance and who defies the lure of new-found fame. We note who falls prey to careerism and self-justification and who continues to man the post until the bitter end. We acknowledge who carries on without complaint and who whimpers that the world is unfair. Politics is important not just because it affects great issues and the fate of nations, but because the best and worst of human behavior is revealed in it.


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