John McCain has "Zero confidence" in Rummy.

A few days ago, Senator John McCain demurred from endorsing Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and seemed to hint at some disapproval

Today, the Senator clarified his position.

I wish that McCain had been this blunt before the election but still…heh.

My topic for debate is addressed to Bush supporters, particularly the warhawks. What does it mean to you that John McCain (whose military cred does not need to be recounted) is expressing disapproval of Secretary Rummy in such an unusually frank manner? Do you dismiss him out of hand? Do you have any confidence in Rummy? And if you don’t, how do you feel about Bush keeping him in such a crucial position, a position where his competence is literally of life and death importance to thousands of troops in the field?

If you do have confidence in Rummy, how do you explain McCain’s remarks?

remember that thing about faith-based vs. reality-based worldviews? ok that’s gonna supply all the answers you need to this question.

I am a lefty, but would it not be preferable had McCain won the 2000 Rep. nomination? Too bad about those push-polls claiming he had an illegitimate black child.

Boy, fat lot of good his candor is doing us now. Wonderful that he starts speaking his mind again after he helps get the bastards back in office.

I don’t know if I’m quite a “warhawk,” but:

  1. I don’t think McCain’s “military cred” enters into it. His personal heroism in Vietnam doesn’t automatically make him the non plus ultra of national security.

  2. I think much of the issue with Rumsfeld is not just about Iraq; it’s about the structural and institutional changes that he’s advocated in an effort to modernize the military, and which have been opposed by career military types which McCain is probably close to.

  3. Having said all that, I value McCain’s opinion highly, and he’s not sugarcoating this.

  4. Rumsfeld should have been gone a while ago.

Well, maybe Rummy has no confidence in McCain. What would that mean? And why did McCain campaign so actively for Bush if he thought Bush was making such bad decisions. Maybe McCain is just positioning himself for a presidential bid in '08 or maybe he wants to be Sec of Defense. Which is the “real” McCain: The campaigning for Bush McCain, or the post-election McCain?

I’ve never understood why so many people think McCain is not just like every other politician.

Please excuse another lefty piping in. But I think that Senator McCain’s views on the DOD have been reasonably transparent in his questioning during Senate hearings on the prison abuse in Iraq. (C-Span can be an eye-opener.)

I believe he is someone who could possibly bring the country back together. His choice of a running mate matters, however. I’m tired of voting for two white men.

Yes, but he does have that illegitimate black child. :wink:

As little as I think of Rumsfeld, it isn’t his job to get McCain’s confidence- it’s to get Bush’s. If McCain wasn’t happy with the Rumsfeld or any other part of the Bush team, he didn’t have to campaign for him. McCain can’t have it both ways, he wants to make the bed but not lie in it.

John McCain is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees the DoD, so it isn’t really true that it’s not Rumsfields job to get McCain’s confidence.

And as for campaigning for Bush, well McCain can not like Rummy and still think Bush would make a better prez then Kerry.

Not that it’s not a good thing to get the confidence of all the senators, but even the confidence of one member or the ASC isn’t nearly as important as that of the president. In the end, it’s Bush’s team, not McCain’s. McCain is prone to grandstanding, which is what this appears to be.

Yeah, but some people respect McCain’s judgement on military matters, however glibly some members of this discussion have been willing to toss his hard-won experience aside.

Absolutely. But just what is the point of what McCain said? Without details to flesh out that comment, it sure does look like grandstanding, as **Bob **said. Personally, I’m not all that thrilled with Rumsfeld and how he’s run the Iraq war. I don’t need to listen to McCain in order to form that opinion.

McCain didn’t exactly call a press conference to announce that he thinks Rummy is a tool. He was speaking in response to repeated questions about Bush retaining Rummy as SOD. At first he tried to be as narrow and bland as possible but when asked point blank if he had any confidence, he had to say no. What else was he supposed to do, lie? Say “no comment” (which would only spur more questions and speculation)?

How is this “grandstanding?” How do you think he should have answered the question?

I would have said “I have many differences with Secretary Rumsfeld and I continue to convey these differences with the president. I won’t go into my level of confidence in him as I don’t believe it would be appropriate to do so.” There’s a difference between expressing an opinion subtly between the lines and coughing up a sound bite.

McCain certainly has managed to convince me, this past year, that his supposed integrity is basically a pose.

The odd thing was, due to how he’s perceived, he’s been the one politician, this past year or two, who’s had a genuine opportunity to rearrange the board of American politics. He could have run for President in 2004 as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. He could led a group of breakaway Republicans to form a “Bull Moose Party” that would have been in a position to have both parties bidding for their support, dragging the Dems and the GOP alike back towards the center. He had by far the widest set of creative possibilities available to him of any American politician in the postwar era. And what did he do? He played it safe, kissed up to Bush, and positioned himself to be tolerable to the wingers for a 2008 Presidential run that he isn’t likely to win anyway.

What a putz.

I’m with you on this. His whole “credibility” thing is, in my opinion, just another example of perception over reality. Sure, he probably has more credibility than a lot of people in Washington, but that’s not exactly a great recommendation. He plays the whole thing beautifully, timing his comments perfectly and managing to sound just self-effacing enough to maintain his reputation as a man of integrity and honesty. And the media lap it up, offering rather uncritical encomiums (encomia?) to his greatness.

I’m not saying the guy has no integrity at all, or that the whole thing is just a sham. He makes some cogent points on many important issues, and certainly seems to have a rather independent bent. But he is, in the end, also just another politician. He takes shit-loads of money from various self-interested corporations. He does what he can to advance himself and his career, and to get re-elected. And i’m willing to bet that he never makes a political statement without thinking about what John McCain will get out of it.

I don’t quite get the apotheosis of John McCain, i’m afraid.

Actually, “no comment” would have been a better response. What he did say amounts to a simple ad hominem attack. How is anyone supposed to respond to it?

Maybe “grandstanding” is too strong a word for this particular instance. Perhaps hypociritcal would be more accurate, given how strongly he camapaigned for Bush and how much of a war hawk he has been.

But I don’t think any of us responding so far are Bush supporters, so the folks you are really hoping to hear from have yet to chime in. We’ll see what they have to say.

I think you all are missing one important piece of the McCain puzzle here.

Despite his campaigning for GWB out of party loyalty…McCain hates Bush. This was clear to me from interviews and contacts with his campaign staff during the 2000 primary season.

McCain is not above just saying something like this to piss off Bush. Especially if he genuinely feels Rumsfeld isn’t good in the role. He’s not above using his celebrity to try to force a media-wide discussion of the shortcomings of Rumsfeld if it will discomfit GWB.

To take it a step further:

If McCain has no faith in a presidents secretary of defense in the middle of a war he has no business campaigning for that president. He would rather have his party in power even if he has no faith in its leadership.