Anybody who thinks McCain is merely continuing the Bush agenda is not paying attention.
I have to admit that I am one of those people who have not been distracted by events in the Democratic race. Feeling slightly chastened, I decided that I should pay attention. So I read McCain's speech.
Brooks is right, there is a great deal of difference between McCain and Bush. McCain almost sounds like a Democrat when he says
"Recall the words of our founders in the Declaration of Independence, that we pay "decent respect to the opinions of mankind." Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them."
That sounds like real humility. And I think there's an excellent chance that he actually believes it.
I am glad that McCain is the Republican nominee, because I agree with him on a lot of this. He obviously will attract some people disillusioned with Bush
But there are a couple of key issues that he does not address, both around Iraq. The first is, was it a mistake to invade in the first place? McCain will, I assume, always answer yes. That is a fundamental point of disagreement between him and Obama. Second, although he talks about staying in Iraq until we achieve victory, i.e. a stable Iraq, he never addresses the cost. He argues that the surge is working, which suggests that he thinks success is just around the corner. But the events of this week are not encouraging. At what point, Senator McCain, is the price too high?