Is Barack Obama an extension of George W. Bush's foreign policy? Aides to John McCain made the argument today in a conference call meant to tout the Senator's own record.
Describing Obama's plan as dangerously rigid and ideological, McCain national security adviser Randy Scheunemann compared the Illinois Democrat to the current Oval Office occupant.
"I think the American people have had enough of stubbornness and inflexibility in national security policy," he said.
If the analogy was too obscure, Scheunemann followed it up with something a bit more overt. "In July 2004, [Obama] said there is not too much a difference between my position and George W Bush's position on the war."
The charge, of course, is not related to policy (on which Obama and Bush drastically differ) but rather ideological rigidity. But the suggestion that Obama is too stubborn to change his position on Iraq is a bit ironic coming from a McCain campaign that, as recently as one week ago, jumped all over the Senator for saying he would "refine" his position. Aides to the Arizona Republican - who, it should be noted, has stuck rigidly to his policy on troop withdrawal - said that an op-ed published by Obama in the New York Times on Monday proved that (regardless of what he sees upon visiting Iraq) the presumptive Democratic nominee is wedded to specific war strategies. And it is in that regard, they argue, that he is Bush-like.
"We cannot afford to replace one administration that refused to acknowledge failure with candidate that refuses to acknowledge success in Iraq," said Scheunemann. "Sen. McCain made it clear from 2003 through 2007 that he thought we were following the wrong strategy in Iraq ... The administration finally changed course and followed Sen. McCain's plan and the entire world has seen the dramatic turnaround in Iraq, the dramatic decrease in violence on the ground there.
"Barack Obama developed an artificial timetable during the primaries," Scheunemann went on. "And he might actually listen to the commanders on the ground before he refines his policy ... Instead what he did was come out and adhere to his strict ideological timetable so that he could please the crowd at MoveOn.org ... So yes, he certainly is inflexible and stubborn."