Anyone who wonders why he's slipping in the polls need listen or read no further than this -- a revealing excerpt from John McCain's interview today on Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: How would you fight the War on Terror differently than it's being fought now?
J. MCCAIN: I would probably announce the closing of Guantanamo Bay. I would move those detainees to Fort Leavenworth. I would announce we will not torture anyone.
I would announce that climate change is a big issue, because we've got some image problems in the world. I think that we've got to understand â€” diplomatic, intelligence-wise.
Clearly, in the area of, quote, "propaganda," in the area of the war of ideas, we are not winning as much as â€” well, in some ways we are behind.
Al-Jazeera and others maybe, in the view of some â€” my view â€” may sometimes do a better job than we are.
At the end of the day, it's how people make up their minds as to whether they want to embrace our values, our standards, our ideals, or whether they want to go the path of radical Islamic extremism, which is an affront to everything we stand for and believe in.
So on the one hand, radical Islamic extremism is an affront to everything we stand for and believe in. And on the other hand, the best way to fight it is to close Guantanamo Bay and talk more about global warming. You know, it's a hard call, but between McCain and Barak Obama (during Thursday's debate) on the WOT, at this point I'd have to give Obama a slight edge.
MODERATOR: . . . Senator Obama, if, God forbid a thousand times, while we were gathered here tonight, we learned that two American cities had been hit simultaneously by terrorists, and we further learned beyond the shadow of a doubt it had been the work of al Qaeda, how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas as a result?
OBAMA: Well, the first thing weâ€™d have to do is make sure that weâ€™ve got an effective emergency response, something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans. And I think that we have to review how we operate in the event of not only a natural disaster, but also a terrorist attack.
The second thing is to make sure that weâ€™ve got good intelligence, A, to find out that we donâ€™t have other threats and attacks potentially out there; and B, to find out do we have any intelligence on who might have carried it out so that we can take potentially some action to dismantle that network.
But what we canâ€™t do is then alienate the world community based on faulty intelligence, based on bluster and bombast. Instead, the next thing we would have to do, in addition to talking to the American people, is making sure that we are taling to the international community.
Because as has already been stated, weâ€™re not going to defeat terrorists on our own. Weâ€™ve got to strengthen our intelligence relationships with them, and theyâ€™ve got to feel a stake in our security by recognizing that we have mutual security interests at stake.
There are, of course, similarities between the answers, even though the questions themselves are somewhat different. But McCain's responses are actually counterproductive, while Obama's are (leaving the silly political swipe aside) simply inadequate. Bottom line: Presidential candidates McCain and Obama both seem to agree that the best strategy for defending America against enemies hellbent on our destruction is to get more people to like us better.