McCain: For Musharraf Before He Was Against Him

Just like everyone else, John McCain’s had statements out today praising Pervez Musharraf’s decision to step down as President of Pakistan. But it’s worth noting that back in December when Pakistan was in the news because of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, McCain distinguished himself for taking a much more pro-Musharraf line than most other prominent U.S. politicians. Here he is talking to Anderson Cooper:

COOPER: Is there any other option but Musharraf?

MCCAIN: I think that the new chief of staff of the army is a person who’s clearly going to be a player, because the army will play a role in whatever and however any unrest is addressed. But I think Musharraf, as the president of the country, is probably — and he has stepped down from his military position, as you know. Is probably also a key element.

Alex MacGillis reported for The Washington Post that McCain was “outspoken in defense of Musharraf,” saying “I continue to believe Musharraf has done a pretty good job” whereas “Benazir Bhutto and [former prime minister Nawaz] Sharif presided over failed states, there was corruption, there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf took charge.” By contrast, as Jason Zengerle points out, Barack Obama issued a clear call for Pakistani democracy.

It’s also worth reading the December 2007 coverage in the last of last week’s Georgia coverage just as a reminder of how much McCain relished a crisis mentality. He thinks that scary things happening in the world are good for him politically notwithstanding the fact that he’s associated with the policy approach that leads to the scary happenings.