I was pretty unconvinced by David Brooks Tuesday column about Iraq (watch me gripe here) but it did involve the innovative argumentative tactic of conceding that "The big change in the debate has come about because the surge failed, and it failed in an unexpected way." Under the circumstances, and since Brooks has historically been a big John McCain booster, I wonder what his take is on this exchange from the GOP debate:

McCain was ready and eager to stress his muscular position in favor of the "surge" in Iraq, and he had plenty of opportunity to do so. The key moment came after Romney said the surge was "apparently working," and McCain challenged him. "No, not apparently, it's working," McCain responded sharply.



To me, this is McCain, formerly the thinking man's mindless warmonger, acting like a petty goon. But Fred Barnes sees McCain helping himself with these comments while "Mitt Romney hurt himself." It seems like a really weird mentality on the right.

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