McCain and the Draft

The big question today is whether John McCain would reenact draft. The question arose during a townhall meeting today in which someone made a long comment including, “If we don’t reenact the draft, I don’t think we’ll have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.” McCain responded by saying ” Ma’am, let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said.”

The woman said a lot and it is certainly possible that McCain was not paying close attention to every detail, leading him to give a vague reply such as this to maintain the woman’s support. I’m hoping that a reporter can get in a follow up question and specifically ask him about whether he would reinstate the draft and under what circumstances. In the past he has said it would take an “all-out World War III” for this to  happen. This sounds reasonable but right wingers often compare the “war on terror” to a World War. On September 29, 2007 he has also said, “I might consider it, I don’t think it’s necessary, but I might consider it if you could design a draft where everybody equally could serve.”

Whether McCain would reinstate the draft is important for a number of reasons, including both the individual liberties ramifications and in interpretation of his statement on remaining in Iraq for one-hundred years. A valid objection to the Move On ad, in which a mother criticizes McCain for potentially sending her child to Iraq in the future, is that in an all volunteer army the child would not go unwillingly. It is a totally different matter if McCain would use a draft to send more people to Iraq involuntarily.

Update: Marc Ambinder’s take on all this is that McCain does not support a draft. I’m still hoping a reporter follows up on this and gets a more definitive answer as to what circumstances he believes would necessitate a draft.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    steve says:

    Clearly, McCain is trying to hang onto the votes of people who want a draft and those who oppose it, by sending mixed signals.

    If he didn’t really mean to say he favored a draft when he agreed to the last words out of that woman’s  mouth, then I would have expected him to issue a quick correction saying that he misunderstood her or misspoke or whatever. However, he has not done so.

    To me, that means he wants it both ways.

    By the way, if he didn’t hear her or just zoomed out on her comments because they were too long, I worry about his ability to concentrate or listen — two very important qualities that have been missing in the Oval Office for the last 8 years.

    And I also worry about a guy who wants to be President, but who agrees wholeheartedly with things that he has not taken the trouble to pay attention to.

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