Moments like this make me wish that McCain and I didn’t disagree on so many issues. There’s another great exchange over Vietnam on YouTube.

Jim Geraghty comments on McCain and Paul over at The Campaign Spot:

Win: John McCain. Seemed to be front and center throughout the night. I agree with Thompson on the immigration policy proposals, but disdain any nativist tone, the kind that drips from every pore of Tancredo. McCain spoke like a grownup during that segment, as well as the discussion on interrogation/torture. As I said earlier, in a noisy room, he dominated by speaking softly. Ron Paul wanted to be taken seriously, and tonight McCain took him seriously by head-butting him on the Iraq war.

…Another troubled night: Did Ron Paul really refer to the Trilateral Commission? Sorry, talk like that won’t expand his base of support. For every guy who is up to speed on conspiracy theories and finds them plausible, two voters start thinking of the cigarette-smoking man from the X-Files. I was ready to give him a second look; didn’t win me over tonight.

Just got an e-mail from one of his charming supporters: “PAUL WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO BLAMING AMERICA YOU STUPID IGNORANT SOCIALIST LOVING CONSTITUTION HATING DUMB***. PULL YOUR HEAD OUT… **** FOR BRAINS!!!” Well, that persuaded me.

I feel your pain Jim.


  1. PoliticalCritic

    I actually believe Ron Paul won the argument with John McCain. Reality and common sense are on Dr. Paul’s side. The U.S. should not be starting and continuing wars all around the world, be them in Vietnam or Iraq.

    Congressman Paul was able to establish his non-interventionist policy in the debate, which many Americans also believe in. He also established that he is the only candidate who takes that approach. The pro-war votes will split between the seven other candidates and the anti-war votes will all go to Ron Paul.

  2. Gene Trosper

    McCains attack on Ron paul last night only demonstarted the depths he will go try and smear another person. It also demonstarates how desperate McCain is by attempting to attack Ron Paul.

    Unfortunately for McCain, Ron paul DOES have the support of our troops and veterans. Just look at the money Ron Paul is receiving from them….more than McCain has gotten.

    While Ron didn’t win the debate, he clearly defeated McCain’s pathetic attack.

  3. John Galt

    I suppose some will fall for the Islamofacism = Hitler Argument. but Germany of the 1930′s and 1940′s was a World Power, Al-Queda was a few hundred guys in the caves of Afghanistan. McCain is Pandering, and everyone knows it – His military service record is the only credibility he has left.

  4. Alex

    Unlike every other Republican candidate on the stage in last night’s CNN/YouTube debate, only Ron Paul demonstrated that he truly “gets it” when it comes to foreign policy. Witness his comment in reply to an attack on his position on Iraq. He said, “The best thing we can do for the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That’s the most important thing that we can do.” He went on to make a great point about Vietnam. He said, “Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam is now a friend of ours. We trade with them. Their president comes here. What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the Americans and the French being in Vietnam. So it’s time for us to take care of America first.”

    How true! What we and the French and the Chinese (don’t forget them!) did in Vietnam was terrible, yet Vietnam survived. They rebuilt. And what Dr. Paul did not say, because there wasn’t enough time to say it all in 30 seconds, is that Vietnam represented the nightmare scenario of cold-war hawks. It was the key domino in the Domino Theory. Remember the Domino Theory? That was the idea that if Vietnam fell to communism, then the rest of Southeast Asia would fall to communism, and this would be a catastrophe for American interests. President Eisenhower first voiced the idea in an April 1954 press conference in which he said, “Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the ‘falling domino’ principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.”

    Well, America ended up withdrawing from Vietnam in the mid-1970s, and sure enough, Vietnam fell to communism, as did the rest of Southeast Asia. Now here’s the key point. Despite this, despite the fact that the worst DID happen, Vietnam is our peaceful trading partner today! And I submit that if we hadn’t interfered for 20 years, Vietnam would be much closer to becoming a free society today. It was our interference that has helped keep them in the communist embrace, but over time it is becoming increasingly clear that the communist embrace will dissipate and is dissipating.

    So when I hear modern day neo-con hawks and their allies claiming that we can’t leave Iraq because it will undermine American interests, I have to ask myself what kind of drugs are they smoking? It’s clear to me that the hawks are never going to learn that continued American military presence in other countries based on fear of what might happen to American interests if they withdraw does not produce positive results (except if you’re a company like Halliburton, of course).

    The discouraging part is that every Republican candidate on that stage last night talked the neo-con line except for one. The encouraging part was that the one exception was Ron Paul. Call it the contrast of Ron Paul vs. the Seven Dwarfs.

    Senator McCain shot back that, “We never lost the battle in Vietnam; it was American public opinion that cost us the war.” Senator McCain obviously doesn’t get it. Public opinion didn’t cost us the war in Vietnam. Rather public opinion pulled us out of a bad foreign policy in Vietnam, which resulted in things getting better, not worse. McCain’s limited vision that wars are all about “winning” the war (by which he means using military intervention to force other countries to bend to our national will) shows its tattered logic when compared to the reality of what happened after we left Vietnam as the “losers.” The reality is that America’s leaders over that 20 year period set us up to be the losers by putting us there in the first place. In that scenario, the only way to “win” was to withdraw.

    McCain went on to claim that the difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that Vietnam didn’t want to follow us home, that Al-Qaedda wants to have a base in Iraq in order to launch attacks against the U.S. He said, “Their ultimate destination isn’t Iraq. Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, and Arizona.” Ron Paul isn’t the most graceful speaker in the world. He stumbles and trips over his own words. But the message is what is driving his campaign and his supporters, not the man himself. He managed to shoot back at McCain the following, “[Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz even admitted that Al-Qaedda was organized and energized by our military base in Saudi Arabia. He understood why they came here. They come here because we’re occupying their country, just as we would object if they occupied our country.” This kind of clear understanding is why Ron Paul has more financial support from active duty servicemen than John McCain has. That financial support is also why McCain is so upset with Ron Paul.

    The only thing wrong with his statement is that Paul should have said that we’re occupying their countries, in the plural, and I’m sure that’s what he intended. Al-Qaedda isn’t just about Iraq. They’re also about Saudi Arabia, and Palestine, and Egypt, and all of the other more than 100 countries around the world where American troops reside on a regular basis and are used to force American views and American pressure on the governments of those nations and other nations in those same regions. And before some neo-con objects that Palestine isn’t a country, can we agree that they should be? Even President Bush, in his fevered mind, thinks so these days. He’s holding talks at the Naval Academy toward that end. His approach can’t work, because it’s based on forcing America’s will on other countries, but nevertheless even he now recognizes that there must be a country called Palestine.

    Tom Tancredo shot back that America is under threat from Radical Islam and that we would be under threat even if there was not a single American serviceman outside of this country. But what’s his evidence for this claim? What is the evidence of any advocate for this claim? The only evidence is their own fear. Tancredo gave no evidence, and neither did anyone else. All of the other six Republican dwarfs on that stage accepted Tancredo’s claim as a given truth, not to be touched, not to be questioned.

    It’s nonsense, of course. But what’s worse is that it flies in the face of what American public opinion says: that we shouldn’t remain in Iraq, that it’s time to find a way to leave. McCain claimed that American public opinion is what lost Vietnam. As I showed above, his claim is wrong, because his idea of what is a “loss” turned out to be not a loss at all, but McCain and the rest of the Seven Dwarfs are using that ill-named “loss” to convince themselves to ignore American opinion and blame it for our failures, atrocities, and horrible mistakes regarding Iraq. They’re threatening that if America withdraws from Iraq, then American public opinion is at fault.

    The reality, however, is quite different. It is the Bush administration, the neo-cons, the hawks, who are at fault where Iraq is concerned. They’re the ones who got us in that mess in the first place, in pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which we know didn’t even exist. Bush knew they didn’t exist all along, but neo-cons try to sweep that under the rug. Instead, they keep chanting their same old mantra about not leaving Iraq until we “finish the job.” Except it’s a job that America can’t finish. It’s time to hand Iraq back to the Iraqi people.

    The Seven Dwarfs are out of step with American public opinion, and by insisting on rallying the Republican Party behind any other candidate besides Ron Paul, they are guaranteeing a showdown on Election Day where the majority of Americans are asked to voice their support for Bush administration foreign policy, which the Seven Dwarfs all support. That will mean almost certain defeat for the Republican candidate if it’s not Ron Paul, regardless of whether Paul stays in the race as a third-party candidate or not.

  5. Jesse James

    Actually Alex,

    The “Domino Effect” which Dwight proclaimed would happen never really did, atleast not as clearly or to the extent that he had forecasted. In fact, after US intervention and involvement in Vietnam dissipated Vietnam soon turned on it’s communist neighbors to the South. So really the US had mistaked a contagious communist cold for an aggressive nationalist stance by Vietnam.

    BUT, all that aside. I do agree that Ron Paul has a better perspective on foreign policy. Its really sad that every other republican candidate quickly jumps on board with the “War in Iraq train.” I mean its time that people let the republican pride go, along with Bush’s overtly aggressive, inconsistent and vague foreign policy stance and took it upon themselves to look at things objectively. Plus, the American people, in general, do not want to be in Iraq – and it’s technically not a war you can really “win.” Now is the time to shift strategy in Iraq – and not with a timeline because that’s irresponsible, but with a stabilization of Iraqi security forces as we make the transition to defensive strategies and transfering responsibility to the Iraqi security forces. AND violence in Iraq has been decreasing over the past few months… a good opportunity for Bush and his crew to change their “stategery”…

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