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“It appears that his short fuse will become a problem for him during the campaign”

 john-mccain.jpg

Arianna Huffington has a very gracious way of being persistently persistent that gets deeply under the skin of people like John McCain, who has earned much fame for seeming like a "nice guy" without actually bothering to be one.  It was a short trip to Snippy Town for the Straight Talk Express when the two met up in Davos:

Toward the end of the conversation, I raised my hand and asked McCain:

"Given that you've said that you are 'scared to death that it's going to be a very hot spring in Afghanistan,' and given that you have also said, repeatedly, that only a substantial increase in troops in Iraq would make a real difference, why not send the 21,000 troops headed to Iraq, in what is clearly an act of desperation, to Afghanistan instead?"

During his response, McCain equated those opposing his position with "the far left."

"Do you consider Sam Brownback part of the far left?" I jumped in.

The Senator flared and told me that if I'd only let him finish his answer instead of interrupting, we could have "a civil discussion."

If there were a drinking game where you take another shot every time a wingnut tried to shut down criticism of themselves by claiming the loony left was being "uncivil" again, granted we'd all be too bombed to blog.  But it sounds like McCain is going to be called upon to invoke this threadbare mantra more and more again in the upcoming months as he tries to escape the political cooties of the unpopular kid who just won't quit following him around and aping his war fashion stylings. Now, as Digby notes, every time McCain opens his mouth in hopes of distancing himself from Bush's war policy, the sad bastard is right up against him in the locker room:

Bush called his bluff and John Edwards very astutely immediately began calling it The McCain Escalation Doctrine.

He's since tried to distance himself from Bush by saying that he really meant 30,000 or that Bush wasn't honest about the situation on the ground or that we need benchmarks. 

Nice try:

President George W. Bush met privately with House Republicans on Friday and agreed to an alternative resolution to set "benchmarks" for progress in his plan to send more troops to Iraq, party officials said.

McCain is palpably chaffing as he scrambles to find some way, any way to keep his political hopes alive by making hawkish proposals he thinks nobody will ever try to implement.  His plans are meant to sound good rather than be actual solutions, but he's turned into some kind of inverse ISG for Bush, who doesn't seem to have the kind of "daddy issues" with McCain that he does with James Baker.  And McCain gets stuck defending a war policy in a way that is making him increasingly uncomfortable.  He's certainly not passionate about defending it to the point where he welcomes the intrepid questioning of those like Arianna Huffington, who closed with this:

Suddenly, with McCain out of the room, the debate in the room shifted away from Iraq and onto McCain's temper – with the consensus being summed up by Anatol Kaletsky of the London Times: "It appears that his short fuse will become a problem for him during the campaign."

Get yer cell phones handy.  As Arianna notes, there's a macaca born every minute. 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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