Presidential candidate Senator John McCain told Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that Americans support his country against Russia. According to the Associated Press, Senator McCain said, “I told him that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, today, we are all ”
This is Senator McCain being presidential, of showing strength and leadership. But I’m sorry, don’t we already have a president who is supposed to speak for the American people on these issues? There’s no doubt a lot of activity going on at the State Department to resolve the situation. Maybe they should be allowed to speak for the American people?
True, it is a campaign season, and one can’t expect Senator McCain to remain quiet about an international incident. After all, his campaign is based on the fact that he can pick up the phone and call the president of Georgia (of course, his opponent, Senator Barack Obama talked to President Saakashvili, too).
But what’s hypocritical about this, is that Senator McCain just spent the better part of three weeks blasting Senator Obama for being presumptuous. Yet isn’t it a bit presumptuous of Senator McCain to be stepping into the shoes George W. Bush is still wearing to inform a foreign head of state of total support for his country’s position (this being the country that precipitated the flare-up by moving troops into a province on the first day of the Olympics).
I know Senator McCain is desperately trying to show leadership, but can you imagine what the spin masters in the McCain campaign would be saying if Senator Obama had said the exact same thing first? Can you imagine the apoplexy on the right wing radio shows if Senator Obama dared to speak on behalf of the American people in such a way?
Hypocrisy is not new to presidential politics and Senator McCain has demonstrated his mastery of the skill. But the timing of this is a bit amusing. Especially since it comes from a military man who should understand the concept of the chain-of-command. After all, there can only be one commander-in-chief. Unfortunately, the one we got is the aforementioned George W. Bush. Nonetheless, the White House is no doubt actively seeking to work through a difficult situation. They might, just maybe, prefer to have one person speaking on behalf of the American people — perhaps maybe even the one constitutionally assigned that role.
Instead of trying to prove their ability to answer the phone at 3:00 am, one of the candidates might wish to display true leadership and point out that in times of crisis it’s important to make clear who is in charge of the country — even if that person isn’t up to the job. Although then the press might then accuse him of being weak. And we can’t have that. Not when there’s phone calls to make — and to take.