John McCain, Bomber
Jude Wanniski
February 3, 2000


To: Rep. Lindsey Graham [R-SC]
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your Man McCain

Something tells me, Lindsey, that your man McCain is going to either win the South Carolina GOP presidential primary on February 19 or come close enough to force a state-by-state fight down to the wire. I'll watch with interest, but frankly I have to tell you there is no chance I would ever vote for him in November. I'd even vote for Al Gore over McCain, but probably would be able to avoid that choice if Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot is the Reform Party nominee. The reason is that I believe McCain really does have what some of his Senate colleagues have termed "a loose screw," one loose enough to get us into another war. He is the archetype of what General Colin Powell calls a "bomber," in referring to politicians who are eager to resolve international disputes with the enormous military power we now possess. In the last several years, every time the issue of diplomacy vs. force has confronted our government, your man has been out front, practically foam-flecked in demanding more and bigger bombs, followed by several divisions of NATO ground troops. He had zero interest in the diplomatic considerations involving our relationships with the rest of the world.

McCain now is truly the candidate of the military-industrial complex. It would be a surprise to me, actually, if South Carolina, the epicenter of the military piece of the establishment, would deny McCain a primary victory. You might check back to the Evans&Novak CNN show of December 11, on which Sen. Robert Bennett [R-UT] flatly said he would prefer to see George Bush's finger on the nuclear button: "I think John McCain's instincts are more hair-trigger than I would like." Of all the folks around McCain, Lindsey, you are the least foam-flecked when it comes to the exercise of our military power. Once I saw McCain was the preferred choice of William Safire of the NYTimes, it did not surprise me to then see Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard and George Will of ABC jump on what has become the McCain bombwagon. Kristol has practically been advocating war with China as soon as possible, while we are strong, rather than wait another 20 years when China may be stronger than we are. McCain is his man.

Why didn't the voters in New Hampshire see any of this, Lindsey? Because there was no debate on these issues. All the GOP candidates have fallen under the evil influence of the intellectuals who are at the black heart of the military-industrial complex -- Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Schneider, Don Rumsfeld and other Cold War gladiators who are not happy in peacetime. Indeed, the MIComplex is like the stable that enters two horses in the Derby. It does not matter who wins, McCain or Bush, either one is in the hands of these bombers. Remember when Bush was announcing that if he were President, he would be fighting the "war" in Kosovo "ferociously"? At the same time, McCain was given unlimited air time on all the electronic media as he called for carpet bombing of Yugoslavia. If we only could kill everyone there, we would ipso facto kill the bad guys, whoever they are. When it comes to bombing, clearly McCain is far more trustworthy an ally than George Bush, who might actually flinch in a pinch and refuse to pull the trigger.

In his own Internet column, Lew Rockwell calls McCain a "warmonger." I do think that is not quite right. McCain actually shows little interest in promoting conflict, which in itself requires some diplomatic skill of a negative kind. He is more the muzzled Doberman who is kept caged by his masters, the real warmongers, who stir up trouble. It is then that McCain is turned loose. God help us if this combination makes it to the White House this year. As you can tell, Lindsey, I feel strongly about this.