Kathryn Lopez

It's long past time we got a political grip. Americans, Republicans especially, need a little perspective. In the days before Super Tuesday, as the race for the GOP nomination became John McCain's to lose, McCain continued his dishonest and dishonorable attacks against Mitt Romney. In a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, he continued to insist, as he had just before the Florida primary, that Romney was on the side of defeat in Iraq.

McCain's criticism is that during a TV interview last year, Romney endorsed the idea of private timetables between the United States and Iraq. This is not inconsistent with proposals McCain himself has considered. But McCain remembers that the word "timetable" was a Beltway buzzword last year for withdrawing from Iraq. Getting out of Iraq, however, is not what Romney was talking about. The fact that the two of them are squabbling so much is a ridiculous distraction.

Instead of letting it go after everyone, from the Associated Press and The New York Times to conservative talk-show host and lawyer Mark Levin, revealed McCain's attack to be disingenuous, McCain continued to focus like a laser on Romney. In fact, during that last debate before Super Tuesday, McCain put Romney in league with Harry Reid, who famously said last spring, "I believe ... that this war is lost." Today we know the war was not and is not lost. It is not lost in large part because Washington leaders like George W. Bush, McCain and Joe Lieberman, among others, wouldn't let the Democrats force them into defeat and withdraw from Iraq prematurely.

The real proponents of not finishing the job we started are the Democrats who either McCain or Romney will face before long. Flashback to last spring, and most memorably and infuriatingly to last September, and you'll remember the left-wing, antiwar group MoveOn running the reprehensible "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad. They accused this American hero of "Cooking the Books for the White House" in making his case for the in-progress surge of troops on the ground in Iraq. Hillary Clinton, during Petraeus' Senate testimony at the time, accused him of lying to the Senate. Clinton said that believing his cautiously optimistic report required a "willing suspension of disbelief."

The president of the United States is the commander in chief of our armed forces. If he or she does nothing else, we need the president to take that responsibility seriously. Yet Clinton, who originally authorized the war in Iraq, publicly undercut our military efforts there, in the face of the commander of our troops. It was a disgrace.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.