First the Iraqi government gave Senator Barack Obama a boost by seeming to embrace his proposal for a 16-month timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. But could Senator John McCain, who built his candidacy in large part on his opposition to a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, possibly be following suit?
“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,” Mr. McCain said Friday in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room,’’ before adding that it should be based “on the conditions on the ground.’’
He must have remembered as soon as it came out of his mouth that “timetable” is supposedly tantamount to “surrender,” according to the Republican lexicon, because McCain quickly corrected himself and said “time horizon,” which is the officially approved GOP way of discussing timetables while pretending to be against them.
Now that he has adopted Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy as his own, and thinks that Osama bin Laden should be tried in some sort of internationally-sanctioned court, and thinks that Barack Obama’s withdrawal timetable is a “pretty good” one, what can we expect from McCain next? Will he say tomorrow that he thinks the Iraq war should “never have been authorized and never have been waged,” as Obama likes to say? Or will he say that in fact he is running for Bush’s third term after all? Perhaps he’ll announce that he’s decided that Bush’s tax cuts really were too tilted toward the richest Americans, and he no longer wants to extend them. You just never know what kind of straight talk you’re going to get from this guy! At this rate, by November, McCain might end up challenging Obama from the left, calling for single-payer health care. Who can possibly predict?