On NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show yesterday, Matthews and his guests discussed how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sounds “an awful lot like George Bush” when he talks about Iraq. At the beginning of the show, Matthews previewed the segment by asking, “Is it wise to tell voters he’s running for a third term of Bush’s war?”
To illustrate his point, Matthews aired footage of Bush and McCain making the same rhetorical arguments about Iraq this past Wednesday:
“If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate and Iraq would descend into chaos.” — President Bush, 3/19/08
“I believe that if we set a date for withdrawal, you will see chaos and genocide in the region.” — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), 3/19/08
During the segment, NBC’s Norah O’Donnell said that McCain was “not smart to make himself sort of a G.I. Joe candidate” because “a whopping 76 percent, in our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, said they want a candidate who has policies different than President Bush.” “This country wants to move on from that,” said O’Donnell.
Speaking of McCain’s similarities to Bush on Iraq, the New York Times’s Elisabeth Bumiller said that Bush’s Iraq policy “is what he believes in.” Bumiller then added that McCain “knows that he has to talk about the economy,” but “sounds an awful lot like Bush when he talks about the economy.”
While Matthews, O’Donnell and Bumiller are right to note that McCain’s Iraq and economic policies do represent a third Bush term, those are not the only policy areas where McCain represents more of the same. McCain wants to continue Bush’s agenda on most issues.