Seeming to argue for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq during MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Hardball host Chris Matthews asserted that terrorists and extremists “want us to constantly rebuild and reinforce and surge” in Iraq so they can “use it as the poster boy for everything that’s wrong with the West.”
But which presidential candidate does Matthews think is best suited to end the war? Not Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) or Hillary Clinton (D-NY), both of whom have said they would end the war as president. Instead, Matthews chose Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who he said is “perhaps” a “great leader”:
MATTHEWS: I think there are ways to end it if we had a great leader perhaps, I’m not sure we have on the horizon, maybe it is McCain — to find a way — maybe we should elect a Republican in order to get us out of the war because irony seems to be a better bet than what we’ve gotten.
It wouldn’t be “ironic” to elect McCain to end the war — because he wouldn’t. Apart from the fact that McCain’s past claims regarding the Iraq war perhaps disavow him any credibility in making future decisions about it, he has also made carrying on the war a central part of his presidential campaign. He supported President Bush’s troop escalation strategy and claims it’s succeeding, even though its stated goals have not been met. Additionally, he’s even stated that he wouldn’t mind having U.S. troops in Iraq for “a hundred years.”
In fact, Matthews himself made this point just yesterday on his Sunday morning talk show when he noted that McCain “is sounding an awful lot like George Bush” when he talks about Iraq. Perhaps this is what Matthews thinks a “great leader” should sound like.