Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flunkies to Georgia: McCain's Latest Campaign Stunt

John McCain's latest campaign stunt is sending deputies Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham to Georgia. In a way, it's pretty weird. McCain wants to show himself as a "man of action," but Lieberman and Graham aren't actually going to be doing anything.

Unless one considers pulling another campaign stunt as "doing something."

But, McCain's Georgia gambit is also very revealing.

If McCain wins, he might end up deciding that pulling off a perpetual string of campaign stunts might be the only way he can govern. Where Clinton and George W. governed through the "permanent campaign," McCain might have to govern through "endless campaign stunts."

That's because the U. S. has few options in situations like Georgia. The U. S. doesn't want to settle the war on terms favorable to Russia because we don't want to look like we're appeasing Russia. At the same time, we don't have the military capacity to either force the Russians to change their course or punish them.

In other words, all we can do is make "symbolic gestures" to signal our disapproval to the Russians.

McCain seems to view the need to make "symbolic gestures" as an opportunity to pull a campaign stunt. Given that McCain would be reduced to making symbolic gestures on Iraq, the economy, health, energy, and other issues if he were elected president, he would probably end up pulling a lot of these stunts.

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