As Public Sours On Iraq War, McCain Distances Himself From Public Opinion Polls

Sen. John McCain today issued a desperate defense of his escalation strategy, urging his audience to disregard the political will of Congress and the American people to begin a withdrawal. “Let’s put aside…the small politics of the day,” McCain said. “The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll.” Watch it:


There used to be a time when McCain was fond of citing the latest public opinion poll to justify his Iraq policy:

“And we cannot cut-and-run. And I’m glad that 58 percent of the American people believe that we should stay the course, as well.” [Hannity & Colmes, 6/28/05]

A year later, despite the fact that the polls had turned against him, McCain was still falsely claiming that most Americans oppose a timetable for withdrawal.

In September 2006, McCain decided to go on the offensive and attack the American public about its position:

“Americans are really kind of schizophrenic about this issue,” Mr. McCain said just prior to a fund-raising lunch for Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican of California. “They’re frustrated, and they want us to get out, but if we ask the American people if we should set a certain date or a calendar, they agree with the president, and with me.”

Now that McCain is squarely opposite the side of the people, he is desperately appealing to the “judgment of history.” Unfortunately for McCain, the judgment of history will be even harsher against the administration’s chief cheerleader of “the greatest disaster in American foreign policy.”


I know the pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. I sympathize with the fatigue of the American people. And I regret sincerely the additional sacrifices imposed on the brave Americans who defend us. But I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army and a country. We, who are willing to support this new strategy, and give General Petraeus the time and support he needs, have chosen a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just.

Democrats, who deny our soldiers the means to prevent an American defeat, have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election. This is an historic choice, with ramifications for Americans not even born yet. Let’s put aside for a moment the small politics of the day. The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll.