Conservative Radio Host: On Failed Hunt For Bin Laden, McCain Represents ‘Continuation Of Bush Policy’

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"Conservative Radio Host: On Failed Hunt For Bin Laden, McCain Represents ‘Continuation Of Bush Policy’"

Yesterday, conservative radio host Michael Smerconish sat in for Bill O’Reilly to host the Radio Factor. He opened the show by discussing yesterday’s front-page New York Times story detailing “how the White House shifted its sights, beginning in 2002, from counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to preparations for the war in Iraq.”

Smerconish ripped into Bush for the “national disgrace” of leaving the deaths of September 11, 2001, unresolved. Then he declared Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to be “representative of a continuation of the current Bush policy” — a fact that may present “a break point” between himself and the Republican party in the upcoming election:

To the extent that John McCain is representative of a continuation of the current Bush policy, I think it’s a huge impediment to his campaign for President of the United States. And I told him so. My feelings about this issue are so strenuous, are so strong, that it may represent a break point between yours truly and the Republican party in terms of the candidate on the top of the ticket. … I have never voted for a Democrat for President. I could do it on the strength of this issue alone because of my disagreement with the Administration and my fear that John McCain represents more of the same.

Smerconish warned his listeners, “I’m going to tell you something else many of you are not going to want to hear,” namely, “We’ve squandered resources in Iraq.” He added, “To my ear John McCain represents more of the same on this issue.” Listen to it:

The right-wing is already outraged over Smerconish’s apostasy. Newsbusters derided his indication that he may vote for a Democrat, asking “what kind of a Republican would consider voting for someone to the left of Barbara Boxer on abortion,” and “who would leave the Iraqi people to the tender mercies of al Qaeda…?”

When he interviewed McCain earlier this month, Smerconish told him his “vote was in play.”

Digg It!

Transcript:

For more than two years, I’ve been a harsh critic of the Bush administration in terms of its Pakistan policy, or lack thereof. I’ve done so on my own radio show in Philadelphia, I’ve done so when guest hosting for Bill here on the Factor, I’ve done it in certain television forums and in numerous columns I’ve written for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Enquirer. And today the New York Times has confirmed all of my worst fears and concerns about what we aren’t doing to level the playing field on behalf of the 3,000 who died almost seven years ago. And it has ramifications for the political context in which we now find ourselves because — I’ll say this: I’ve interviewed, I’ve personally interviewed Senators Obama and McCain on this issue, each within the the last 60 to 90 days, John McCain just two weeks ago. And to the extent that John McCain is representative of a continuation of the current Bush policy, I think it’s a huge impediment to his campaign for President of the United States. And I told him so.

My feelings about this issue are so strenuous, they’re so strong, that it may represent a break point between yours truly and the Republican party in terms of the candidate on the top of the ticket. I’ve been a Republican since 1980. I’ve never missed an election. I don’t mean I’ve never missed a presidential election. I mean I’ve never missed an election. I’ve always split my ticket in general elections; I’ve never pulled a straight Republican lever. But, truth be told, cards on the table, I’ve never voted for a Democrat for President. I could do it on the strength of this issue alone because of my disagreement with the administration and my fear that John McCain represents more of the same. I know that’s a lot to break out on the Radio Factor but i want to tell you right up front how I feel.

[…]

We’ve let down 3,000 individuals, 3,000 innocent Americans. We’ve not brought that situation to closure. There’s been no justice on their behalf. And I’m going to tell you something else that many of you are not going to want to hear but the Times makes this clear as well: We’ve squandered resources in Iraq. Somewhere buried in this story is a report of how there was a request for more predator drones, the unmanned spacecraft, to fly over those tribal areas to try to zero in on the whereabouts of the al Qaeda leadership, and they were told, Sorry, we don’t have them because they’re all being used in Iraq. It’s a disgrace. It is a national disgrace. And I’ll play sound for you when I come back. I’ve questioned Senators Obama and McCain on this issue, and you’ll get to hear what they had to say. To my ear John McCain represents more of the same on this issue.

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