Thursday, July 12, 2007


Mike Lupica is a sports columist who just started writing political commentary for The New York Daily News. Surprisingly, he's very good. Here, he does a brutal and well-deserved smackdown on John McCain:

Candidate's Meltdown
Prez run dealt fatal blow as McCain sticks to his guns on Iraq
The war takes John McCain now.

McCain is not a real casualty of Iraq. He is not Spec. Roberto Causor, 21, of San Jose, Calif., who died in Samarra on July 7 from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. And McCain is not Sgt. Trista Moretti, 27, of South Plainfield, N.J., who gave her life in Iraq, in George Bush's war there, when insurgents attacked her unit with indirect fire on the 25th of June.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a hero of a bad war himself once, does not leave his life in Iraq the way Spec. Karen Clifton, 22, of Lehigh Acres, Fla., did on June 21 in Baghdad, when she died of wounds suffered when her vehicle was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade.

But McCain, who is just back from another visit to Iraq, effectively leaves his dream about being President there, his certainty that this was his year and his time to at least be his party's nominee.

McCain's two top aides quit him yesterday. One was his manager, Terry Nelson, and the other is one of his big game-planners, John Weaver. Nelson and Weaver quit almost at the same time McCain was defending Bush's war, defending it to the end, on the floor of the Senate.

Nelson and Weaver quit at a time when McCain had already fired some people from a campaign that was staggering around like one of those Lindsay Lohans coming out of a club, fired some and cut the pay of others and admitted that he was running a distant third in Republican money. And maybe McCain will tell himself that it was a lack of money that got him, or lack of a coherent strategy, or even old age.

The war got John McCain.

I don't get John McCain.

Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the other chickenhawks who dragged the United States into this useless war I can figure out. Since these punks never saw a day of combat in their lives, I can understand why they fucked up Iraq from the beginning and why they keep getting everything wrong. They don't know.

But John McCain, a genuine, honest-to-God veteran who served valiantly in Vietnam, should know better. And please don't talk to me about his politics, O.K.? It's a lousy excuse. Congressman John Murtha, another war hero who saw action in Vietnam and Iraq, is probably even more narrow-minded and conservative than McCain. But Murtha couldn't shut up and watch Bush send soldiers off to die in Iraq and Afghanistan anymore. Murtha knows better.

But John McCain, in spite of knowing better, betrayed both his fellow soldiers and himself. It's contemptible. I don't get it.