Posted by Wordsmith on 15 February, 2008 at 10:08 am. 3 comments already!

“We want to be able to love America again,”
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in an editorial for Die Zeit newspaper.

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Arizona Senator and U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain gave an interview with Der Spiegel.

Although Hugh Hewitt found something in it to be encouraged by a McCain presidency, Laura Ingraham (who has a serious case of McCDS and conservative elitism) pointed out the other day the same fault that I see in the interview: the unwillingness on the part of John McCain, the straight shooter, to repudiate or challenge the premise of the questions. I found them rather flawed and insulting. I boldened the parts in this excerpt that really made me squirm:

SPIEGEL: Senator McCain, Europe is reserving a lot of hope for the next president of the United States. Will you try to win back trust in America around the world?

McCain: I know most of the leaders in Europe and other parts of the world and I have a long record of my positions and my ability to work together with our allies. I think I will start out with a level of credibility.

SPIEGEL: America has lost a lot of friends because President George W. Bush angered, indeed outraged, them. He allowed human rights to be violated at Guantanamo Bay, and he dismissed the joint effort to combat global warming. Under a President McCain, could we expect a change of course?

McCain: Yes. I would announce that we are not ever going to torture anyone held in American custody. I would announce that we were closing Guantanamo Bay and moving those prisoners to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and I would announce a commitment to addressing climate change and my dedication to a global agreement — but it has to include India and China.

SPIEGEL: So is America coming back to renegotiate the Kyoto Protocol?

McCain: I believe America is going to enter into negotiations to try to reach a global agreement. But, as I said, that agreement must include India and China, two of the emerging economies of the world. We would be foolish not to do so.

SPIEGEL: Will America attempt to go it alone less frequently in the future?

McCAIN: Well, we all hope that America will be multilateral again in the future. There were times when the United States acted unilaterally, but I think we would all prefer to work in concert with our friends and allies.

SPIEGEL: What role will the United Nations play? Bush always ignored the UN.

McCain: The United Nations always plays an important role. But right now we are having to deal with a Russia that is clearly intent on blocking action. That’s why the UN must act in a league of democracies that share our values and our common principles.

I suppose it wouldn’t be very presidential for McCain to give the interviewer the middle finger and begin with, “Listen dipstick…”; nor realistic to hope for it from any U.S. politician. But for someone who fancies himself a straight talker with a reputation for being hot-tempered, it certainly would be nice to see him exercise some of that on behalf of conservative America, rather than against it.

He could have been polite about it, and challenged the premise of the question. The fact that he wasn’t and didn’t, is telling.

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