David Broder, in the course of a much-better-than-usual column, nonetheless feels the need to praise Saint John McCain as “the most stubbornly principled person in the Republican field. He is being punished now for saying what he believes about Iraq and immigration, among other things.” Note that more principles than Mitt Romney is a low bar to pass, so it’s entirely plausible that McCain is, in fact, more principled than the other major GOP contenders. That said, the fact that the most principled contender’s principledness doesn’t extent to such minor matters as taxes & the federal budget should indicate that there are some limits here.
But perhaps to the point, though John McCain’s views on national security (bombs away!) certainly are principled, they’re also disastrously wrong. Like Bill Kristol, who backed him in 2000 for just this reason, McCain has spent the past 10 or so years being really enthusiastic about war — there’s no foreign policy problem he won’t address by starting a war. He’s totally principled about it, and he’s even right sometimes, but it’s in a stopped clock is right twice a day kind of way.