The Epistemology of John McCain

When I read Ezra Klein's brief comment on Howard Fineman's unsupported assertion that "McCain is a warrior. He knows the world, its dangers and wonders; he knows the military, its powers and its limitations," I was initially just going to say "right on!" After all, I see no evidence whatsoever that McCain believes the military has any limitations. The only criticism I've ever seen John McCain make of either Bill Clinton's foreign policy or George W. Bush's foreign policy is that he has, at various points, accused both men of being unduly reluctant to start wars and then, once wars have been started, to accuse both men of sending an insufficient level of manpower and firepower to fight in the wars.

In short, it's McCain has the record of someone who doesn't think there are any limits at all. Fineman's article turns out to be full of this stuff. McCain "has a big campaign organization, and substantive knowledge of most every issue." Really? The candidate who first thought about AIDS just a couple of months ago? Even better, McCain "deserves credit for courage, too." What about the pandering? "Yes, he has pandered to the Bush crowd and religious conservatives (though he seems uncomfortable doing it, or overcompensates by being too enthusiastic, and all in all looks like he is following a dance-step chart)." In short, McCain courageously chose to pander unconvincingly, thus indicating to Fineman via a secret decoder ring of some kind that he's still willing to take courageous stands as long as he doesn't need to take them publicly or pay a political price for doing so.