Economist in 2002: John McCain "Laid the Groundwork" for George Bush's Post 9-11 Foreign Policy
Posted by Max Bergmann
In a shocking article from the Economist in March 2002, John McCain is described as having George Bush's foreign policy before George Bush had it. The article, by the Economist's Lexington columnist, is titled "George Bush: McCainiac - How the president has almost become the man he trounced in the primaries," confirms the progressive argument that John McCain's foreign policy is no different then George Bush's.
The article, written more six years ago, and meant as praise at the time, says "It is almost as if the Arizona senator had won the election," saying that "Despite his defeat, he [MCCAIN] laid much of the groundwork for Mr Bush's post-September presidency." The article concludes that the great irony is that "Mr Bush has proved a better spokesman for McCainiac ideas than Mr McCain could ever have been."
The quotes are even better in context, below are snippets from the article and a great picture as well (you can read the whole thing here).
IF THE battle in 2000 to choose the Republican Party's presidential candidate now seems a world away, it is not just because September 11th changed the world. It is also because George Bush trounced John McCain so thoroughly that he seemed to bury everything the Arizona senator stood for.
Back then, the two men appeared to have nothing in common...
But the biggest differences were in foreign policy. The Arizona senator campaigned for a policy of “rogue-state rollback”— by which he meant preventing disruptive small-country dictators getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction, if necessary by arming the local opposition. Mr McCain was the only candidate on either side to promote this theme, and hardly anyone took him seriously. Mr Bush, in contrast, talked about managing great-power relationships and repairing the damage done to America's ties with China, Russia and Europe after, as he saw it, eight years of Clintonian inconsistency. Mr McCain spoke stirringly or scarily, according to how you see these things, about “national greatness”. Mr Bush called soothingly for greater humility in projecting American power abroad...
Yet, if you look at the ideas that currently animate Mr Bush's presidency, they are about as McCainiac as you can get without having spent five years as a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war... In his state-of-the-union speech in January, Mr Bush... delivered his famous warning on the “axis of evil”, rhetorically reformulating Mr McCain's “rogue-state rollback”.
Suddenly, “national greatness conservatism”—Mr McCain's amour fou—has become the passion of the White House too. Confronting threats from small dictatorships, not managing relations with big powers, has become the focus of the presidency. Mr Bush has defined his presidency in terms of success in the war against rogue states and terrorists. To make the comparison complete, Mr Bush has been telling anyone who will listen that he has been reading Edmund Morris's new book on Teddy Roosevelt, one of Mr McCain's often-quoted heroes.
It is almost as if the Arizona senator had won the election. How on earth did this happen? But he still does not see the broader horizon the way that Mr McCain sees it... Abroad, it meant changing corrupt regimes which threaten the West, and encouraging the spread of democracy.
...Whether by prescience or luck, he [MCCAIN] was the first to reach out for the policies that fit the new world wrought by September 11th. Despite his defeat, he laid much of the groundwork for Mr Bush's post-September presidency. But the credit to Mr Bush is probably greater. He has proved quicker to adapt his views than anyone expected, switching seamlessly from great-power maintenance to rooting out terrorists and showing his independence from the Republican establishment by pinching ideas from his rival.
This transformation contains an irony and a question. The irony is that, because the president dominates his party in a way the maverick Mr McCain could never have done, Mr Bush has proved a better spokesman for McCainiac ideas than Mr McCain could ever have been...