There may be no bigger nut case on the international scene than Mahmoud ("there are no homosexuals in Iran") Ahmadinejad, who has brought his crackpot opinions to the United Nations this week. Would McCain take military action without congressional approval to destroy any nuclear weapons Iran develops? His answer is both forceful and cautious: "I would make sure every option is explored before I would explore military action (and) I would make sure that if I contemplated that action, I would be in consultation with the leaders of Congress." He said he thinks, "It's very clear that if the Iranians acquire nuclear weapons, it's not only a threat to the state of Israel, but it's also incredibly destabilizing to every (state) in the region."
There is a difference between consultation and seeking authorization for war, as the Constitution mandates, and Obama might score points by pointing that out, though McCain's rejoinder might be that given the toxic polarization in Washington it is less likely he could count on a Democratic Congress to make an apolitical decision.
What about his running mate, who has been stingy with interviews and other media exposure since her selection, is she getting a crash course in foreign policy prior to the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate? McCain laughs and then expresses confidence in "Sarah": "Joe Biden is very experienced and very knowledgeable. The difference is in their worldviews. Joe Biden wanted to divide Iraq into three different countries, clearly an unworkable solution. Joe Biden thinks it's patriotic to raise people's taxes. That's different from my definition and Sarah's definition of patriotism. I think Sarah will more than hold her own because she has the right grounding ideals and worldview. She also understands far better than Joe Biden one of our outstanding national security challenges and that is energy."
The New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama camp is looking for ways to make McCain angry. That could backfire, especially if he gets angry for the right reason (as Reagan did in New Hampshire in 1980. "I paid for this microphone.").
In Friday's debate, I'm going with McCain on substance; Obama on eloquence and I hope that many of those who have virtually worshipped Obama will see the real light.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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