JOHN McCAIN, PAPER TIGER
A lot of right-wingers are getting a thrill up the leg at the thought of Big Macho Tough Guy John McCain confronting Russia -- see, for instance, this Kathleen Parker column, in which Parker imagines letters from Bush, Obama, and McCain to Vladimir Putin; McCain's letter ("Hey, Putin. Don't make me come over there. McCain") is, of course, the toughest (or, as Lucianne.com puts it, with no apparent shame, Parker "Gives John Sidney the biggest gun").
Alas for the righties, when you actually ask Big Macho Johnny what he thinks America could do right now in this situation, he comes off as a bit less, er, potent.
Here's McCain this morning in an NPR interview with Renee Montagne:
What, realistically, could the U.S. in particular do to prevent, as you say, other sorts of influence that the Russians would like to exert in that region?
Well, I think, in the short term, there is limited options, certainly, that we have. Long term, I think we may be in a period of relations with Russia where we have to make sure that we help our friends, that we do what we can to protect democracies and freedom, and make sure that we understand that there is a new era that obviously began when President Putin took over, and so we will adjust our relations accordingly.
And I don't think that there's going to be a re-ignition of the Cold War; don't get me wrong. I don't think there's going to be nuclear-weapons buildups, et cetera, but I think that Russian behavior is not acceptable. And we will do what we can to maintain our alliances and our friends and make the Russians understand that this kind of behavior is not a part of what we view as the 21st century.
Wow. So tough. So ... specific. Putin must be quaking in his boots.
But it doesn't matter, does it? It doesn't matter that John McCain has nothing tougher to offer than Obama or Bush -- he's a Republican, which means he'd kick ass, because, well, he just would. On Georgia, in fact, he's "leading the way"! (Leading what? The way where? Oh, keep your mouth shut, hippie.) And Obama -- well, he's a Democrat, so ... er ... "Kumbaya"! What else is there to say?
BONUS McCAIN QUOTE FROM THE NPR INTERVIEW: "We're not sending any negative message in our campaign." Yes, he really said that.