Friday, December 16, 2005


Who's The Man?

It would seem to be John MCain -- and not George W. Bush.

Even on a day that White House defenders wouldn't be completely wrong in saying that the Iraqi election helps vindicate Bush's policy, a sense of weakness on the home-front could be seen eating away as
the White House completely surrendered to John McCain's anti-torture bill..

This maneuver came just a few hours after the House of Representatives adopted the same language that
passed the Senate 90-9.

Meanwhile, the president seems to be on an extended run of mea culpas. Wednesday, he said that he took
responsibility for the flawed intelligence that helped make the case for war -- though he says he would have done things exactly the same.

And all the while, McCain just continues smiling. Though there were regular reports floating about a "compromise" on the language, McCain has seemingly never budged.

The great irony here is that McCain managed to use the same Manichean moralism to get the Senate and the House to go along with his anti-torture crusade. The administration argued for flexibility; McCain insisted on a bright line: The United States does not tolerate torture -- finesse it as you wish, but that includes things like "waterboarding."

In short, you're either with us or with the torturers. McCain arguably beat the administration at its own rhetorical game.

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