Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Richard Cohen: McCain is Better Because He Was Tortured

I guess because I spend a lot of time reading op-eds I always look for the clincher. What is the ultimate point, the real “take-away” from the column the writer wants you to know.

Richard Cohen’s point is that no matter that John McCain has reversed himself on too many issues to count, because he was once tortured it proves he’s got some backbone. (Likewise since Obama hasn’t been tortured, well we just don’t know about the guy...)

But here is the difference between McCain and Obama -- and Obama had better pay attention. McCain is a known commodity. It's not just that he's been around a long time and staked out positions antithetical to those of his Republican base. It's also -- and more important -- that we know his bottom line. As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over. This -- not just his candor and nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express -- is what commends him to so many journalists.
I guess Cohen never read the McCain “the man who once was tortured” also voted to allow the CIA to engage in torture. Then he backed the White House when the White House was pushing the line that waterboarding-wasn’t-torture. He might have said it was “unfortunate” but the fact remains by standing with the White House, he showed where his line in the sand is. Getting elected.

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