The Corner

Sen. McCain, Hanging Curve Ball Over Here — Might Want to Take a Swing

I’m REALLY trying here.

Yesterday, Sen. McCain did the right thing and voted in favor of the Senate bill overhauling FISA and preserving our ability to collect intelligence against the enemy.

Sen. Obama voted against it.  Mind you, the bill — which is chockablock with too many terrorist protections and thus far from perfect — passed by an overwhelming bipartisan margin, 68-29.  As the Wall Street Journal’s editors put it this morning: 

It says something about his national security world view, or his callowness, that Mr. Obama would vote to punish private companies that even the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee said had “acted in good faith.” Had Senator Obama prevailed, a President Obama might well have been told “no way” when he asked private Americans to help his Administration fight terrorists. Mr. Obama also voted against the overall bill, putting him in MoveOn.org territory.

Hillary Clinton was even worse.  She didn’t show up to vote.  This was the most important national security vote in her Senate career.  And, even though the campaign would not excuse her from doing her job in any event, the Potomac Primary was in the DC area.  McCain and Obama managed to get to the Hill without difficulty.  Not Clinton.  She has no excuse.  The craven decision not to vote — not to be accountable — was calculated … and this from the candidate who slammed Obama for ducking the tough votes as an Illinois legislator.

This was a simply disgraceful performance.  It shows about as starkly as it can be shown that, when it comes to contest for who understands the threat we are facing and who is most fit to be trusted with responsibility for protecting American lives, there is no comparison here:  McCain is so head-and-shoulders above Obama and Clinton it’s hard to quantify.

Yet, with the benefit of intense interest and national coverage of his victory speech after the Potomac Primary, McCain failed to mention FISA.  He failed to mention either his own call for protecting American lives or the indefensible positions of his prospective opponent(s) – even though our authority to gather intelligence against the people trying to kill us expires at midnight on Friday night.

Meanwhile, I surfed today through Sen. McCain’s website, specifically, the section where he talks about his national-security qualifications.  It’s virtually all about the military.  Now, our armed services are surely important, but there’s a lot more to securing the homeland.  Here’s McCain’s fleeting remark about intelligence-gathering: 

As President, John McCain will ensure that America has the quality intelligence necessary to uncover plots before they take root, the resources to protect critical infrastructure and our borders against attack, and the capability to respond and recover from a terrorist incident swiftly.

That’s it.  Nothing further.  Nothing about FISA, nothing about internal security.  On intelligence, McCain offers all the depth and detail of an Obama speech — and this under circumstances where he actually has a record that would allow him to separate himself from his opponents in a significant way.

Of course, no one’s gonna know that unless he tells them.

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