Steyn weighs in on McCain and Giuliani

Mark Steyn has a column out today examining Giuliani’s impact on the race and wondering if McCain is up for the task. In his own words:

McCain will not permit a military defeat in Iraq. But it’s not clear to me he has much of a strategic vision for the ideological struggle, for the real long-term battlefield in the mosques and madrassahs of Pakistan and Indonesia and Western Europe.


  1. How many purple hearts and POW medals does Generalismo Steyn?

    Who are these people that are perfectly content to send other people’s kids off to war but have never been themselves?

    Also, where’s the Generalismo’s evidence?

    Another baseless smear courtesy of Arizona’s PREMIER conservative blogsite!

  2. N Phx Newcomer says

    The fact is that this confirms Santorum’s statement that John McCain has no ideological compass except what is good for John McCain.

  3. That’s just like me saying N Phx Newcomer has no idealogical compass.

    Gimme a break!

  4. N Phx Newcomer says

    Since you don’t know me you wouldn’t have anything to base that on, but people who have known me for over a decade would have a perspective on that. I don’t know what seems to be difficult about that.

  5. I don’t know you but I guess you want me to just take your word for it. Get your facts right! Steyn makes an unsupported distortion and you parrot Santorum’s distortion – and that’s an argument?

    I repeat:

    How many purple hearts and POW medals does Generalismo Steyn?

    Who are these people that are perfectly content to send other people’s kids off to war but have never been themselves?

    Also, where’s the Generalismo’s evidence?

  6. The “Chickenhawk” smear? Made by a conservative? Never thought I’d see the day…

  7. Moral compass? So when Santorum asked McCain to come to PA and help him retain his seat and made a video with him and posted it on his website what was that? Who was the hopeful beneficiary of that ideological action?

    Santorum is being mentioned as a VP; should that come to be we’ll see what direction Santorum’s compass points.

  8. Ann,
    Please don’t scare older people. Santorum as V.P?
    My heart stopped for a moment but fortunately the defibrillator kicked in. I am OK.
    Mr. Santorum, according to Peeing Red, just endorsed Mitt Romney. That would be a great team.

  9. Do you deny that its immoral to demand someone else’s kid make a sacrifice you yourself won’t make? Everyone says that McCain is without a moral azimuth. Yet whose sons are in Iraq and whose sons are serving this country by getting their Dad elected.

    I don’t mind a little hardball, but back up your assertions.

  10. James, it is not hypocritical to support firefighters even though one has never fought a fire. Neither is it “immoral” for a mayor to send police into dangerous situations even though he has no badge.

    I sincerely respect McCain’s service (as does every writer of this blog, I would presume). In addition, I have been very critical of Romney’s comparison of his sons’ Winnebago deployments with our soldiers’ service in Iraq.

    Nevertheless, I find the chickenhawk slur (almost always posited by the far Left) to be not only offensive, but deeply un-American.

    Since when does a citizen need to serve in the military to voice his opinions on the most important issues facing his nation? That mentality is what can lead a country to the Caesarism of military juntas. Civilians run this nation, not the uniformed services. Never forget that.

    Yes, I am a veteran. But even as a lowly servicemember, I realized an important thing about the chain of command. Even if I was given five stars and commanded fleets and armies, I remembered who outranked me: every single civilian in America.

    Civilians not only have the right to speak on military matters. It’s their duty as free citizens.

  11. James,

    “demand someone else’s kid” You are losing it. There is no draft, it is an all volunteer force.

  12. az gnat, with your shield or on it.

    Exurban Jon, I respect your military service but you couldn’t be more wrong.

    Bush – Nat’l Guard
    Clinton – draft dodger
    Daddy Bush – Pilot WWII
    Reagan – Army Reserve
    Carter – Navy Officer
    Ford – Naval Service WWII
    Nixon – Naval Service WWII
    Johnson – Navy Reserves
    Kennedy – PT 109
    Ike – Operation Overlord
    Truman – Battery Commander WWI

    “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.” – Henry V, Shakespeare

    If that puts me in the Kaiserian party, then paint it black Brute!

  13. N Phx Newcomer says

    The times are different, there is not a World War like in the lives of all of those you mention where EVERY healthy male was drafted to serve while there is no draft today. McCain and Paul are the only ones in the race for either party with military experience. Are none of the rest qualified due to that? The Constitution does not seem to think so.

    My personal hero, Ronald Reagan, was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California where his job was to star in the making of “This is the Army.” and five other movies.

    PS: Carter’s military service sure served us well when he was President.

  14. I have read a lot about Shakespeare as well as enjoying his writing, but have never seen anything about military service. So, what war did Shakespeare serve in to write so eloquently about it as if he had actually shared the experience he writes about?

    My main concern is that there is no one who fought in the French and Indian War like George Washington. I mean, if it was an important base for our first President, it is good enough for me.

  15. James, you wrote, “Exurban Jon, I respect your military service but you couldn’t be more wrong.”

    If I am wrong, you might want to show me where I’m wrong rather than providing irrelevant lists and quotes. You seem to believe that this nation does not have civilian leadership of the military. That position is either deeply uneducated or deeply un-American. I hope it is the former.

  16. (I feel like I’m debating Hugo Chavez here…)

  17. Public Servant says

    According to James, since military service seems to be a minimum for public office, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and all their contributions (including being President) should not have happened. That seems to be foolish and short sighted, at the very least.

  18. Public Servant, the main accomplishment of John Adams’ Presidency is his aversion of war with France. That politically courageous act set Thomas Jefferson up for his most important act as President – the Louisiana Purchase. But you are correct neither served.

    Adam’s lack of military service hindered his Presidency. America is use to leaders who know how to lead. Leadership includes endearing others to you and your cause. Adams was on the right side of most of the issues but was universally loathed.

    Military leadership also teaches you about honor – which if you look at the Washington-Jefferson relationship at its twilight, you will see that one instance of several where Jefferson was not an honorable man.

    Ben F, we agree that Shakespeare was an artist not a warrior. But artists extol and challenge the values of the times. If you read the quotation again and read the play again, you will see that Shakespeare extolled leadership born on the battlefield. It is the crown jewel of a man’s character.

    Henry V was the greatest king of England because he defeated a numerically superior force at Agincourt. If you want to explore the dangers of militarism than look at Shakespeare’s play RICHARD III. In either case whether looking at Richard or Henry both were able leaders because of their military experience.

    I do not mean to imply that we should picking fights for the sake of picking fights. President McKinley held off cries for war for months because he had served in the Civil War and knew its consequences. That is the kind of leader we need.

    N Phx Newcomer, I answered your positions point by point. Before we go any further, you would be wise to answer my questions to you point by point.

    Exurban Jon, unless you are conceding defeat, let’s not bandy about insults here – this isn’t “Blog for Arizona.” It is also a bit unmanly to insult a person over the internet.

    My point in documenting the military service of every President is to demonstrate how military service serves as a prerequisite to the office of Commander in Chief.

    Ben F, cited George Washington and the experience he gained from the French Indian War. That experience made Washington into who he was, from his successes at the Fort Duquesne to his defeat at Fort Necessity, the formation of the Virginia Regiment and the action he saw in the Forbes expedition, serve as seeds that had been germinated that would blossom during the hardships of the Revolutionary War.

    So military service shapes a mans character. And I believe it shapes it in ways that no other institution can. That is why I quoted the Band of Brothers reference. I would put it to you that it was very relevant to the questions we face today.

    The chickenhawk smear was not popularized by me or by leftists but by conservative commentator Bernard Goldberg who wrote a book CRAZIES TO THE LEFT OF ME AND WIMPS TO THE RIGHT. That pretty much describes Election 08.

    America wants a leader that has the wisdom and has the determination to carry out the National Interest. I am not saying that a civilian can’t do it. I am saying it is rare.

    To the charge that Kaiserianism is un-American. The pages of American history are written in American blood. There would be no America without these men and more and more these women. It took a leader to organize them for victory. It’s going to take that same kind of leader to organize victory here.

  19. Public Servant says


    Do you have an advance for that book?

  20. >> “It is also a bit unmanly to insult a person over the internet.”

    Then why do you keep doing it?

    >> “My point in documenting the military service of every President is to demonstrate how military service serves as a prerequisite to the office of Commander in Chief.”

    Where is this “prerequisite” enumerated in the U.S. Constitution?

    >> “To the charge that Kaiserianism is un-American…”

    The definition of Caesarism is “Military or imperial dictatorship; political authoritarianism.” That is deeply antidemocratic and un-American. Hence my comment about Hugo Chavez.

    James, my purpose is not to insult or impugn. We both agree that military service builds character. I’m sure we also agree that our entire political class would benefit greatly from more military service (or at the very least, more respect for it).

    However, you began this thread alleging that columnist Mark Steyn was unfit to criticize John McCain because he is not a general. I sincerely believe that is a wrong-headed and even dangerous argument.

    If you provide the section of the Constitution that mandates military service prior to engaging in free speech, I will fully retract my argument.

  21. Exurban Jon, answer the question directly: Do you deny that its immoral to demand someone else’s kid make a sacrifice you yourself won’t make?

    Mark Steyn is unfit to criticize McCain on foreign policy.

    Steyn suggests that McCain – a war hero – would allow defeat in Iraq. We aren’t talking about Murtha or Kerry – we are talking about “I supported the Surge before supporting the Surge was cool” McCain. McCain makes many trips to Iraq and knows what questions to ask. That’s part of the package you can get if you decide to risk your life for your country.

    How did Steyn came to that conclusion?

    Yet I went a little further. I questioned Steyn’s right to question McCain as Steyn had no military service of his own. See Shakespeare reference on “holding one’s manhood as cheap.”

    This is a message to all Arizonans seeking political power and influence. If you haven’t served, you don’t have credibility on foreign affairs. Get use to it. It’s not a law. It’s not in the Constitution Jon, but its a reality. Deal with it.

    Jon, you say, that your purpose is not to insult or impugn, yet you accuse me of supporting military dictatorship a la Latin America. That’s not a smear?

    I haven’t insulted you Exurban Jon. If you are a veteran, like you said you are. I wouldn’t do it on this forum, though I have cause to. I would just challenge you to think about how our country would be different if we choose – not were forced – but choose to elect leaders with military experience rather than chickenhawks and chickendoves who don’t.

    If you are going to insult me by comparing me to Latin American dictator, I prefer Pinochet.

  22. As I’ve already said, I deny that it’s “immoral” to demand someone else’s kid make a sacrifice you yourself won’t make. Just like it’s not “immoral” for a mayor to send firefighters and police into harms way even if he hasn’t served in those agencies.

    And no American is “unfit” to criticize anyone about anything. It is called freedom of speech and must be protected and encouraged. If a politician can’t handle criticism, he should resign.

    Finally, Caesarism (or Kaiserism) is the ideology of every military junta that has ever seized power from a democratically elected government. It revolts me.

    My goal isn’t to insult you personally, James — if and when we meet, we’ll probably get along famously. However, I do disagree with the points you have made on this thread. And that’s my right — even if I hadn’t served.


  23. James,

    Unlike in Starship Troopers a civilian gets the same number of votes as a citizen, one. Jon also has a good point about that free speech thing. McCain limited it but was not able to take it away completely.

    McCain would have been a great tank commander in WWII but the Islamists are a different enemy. They use our polite civilization against us. That is why it would be such a bad idea to move terrorist to Kansas and to never use enhanced interrogation, like McCain advocates. McCain is serious about winning a conventional war in Iraq but he is not the best man for the full war against Islamic extremism. Giuliani and Thompson better understood the treat.

  24. I am not advocating any alteration of our current form of government.

    I am advocating that candidates who have served have more moral credibility than those that have not – that’s all.

  25. It is immoral to demand something that you yourself haven’t done. Your analogy of the fireman and policemen doesn’t work. A mayor’s responsibilities are very different than a commander’s. Jon, you know that.

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