John McCain is on a week-long tour of places marking important steps in his life, with special emphasis on his family’s military service, to convince voters that his background makes him fit to be president. Wednesday he’ll speak at the Naval Academy and then in Pensacola, Fla., where he attended flight school. (CBS News)
What the commentators said
McCain is one of the most well-known people in America, said Linda Feldmann in The Christian Science Monitor, but his “biography tour” is giving him a chance to highlight his background, which sets him apart. It has been “a gift” for McCain to avoid the spotlight as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama duke it out over the Democratic nomination, but touting his “martial heritage” and what it taught him about “duty, honor, and courage” will allow him to dominate the news for a few days on his own terms.
“McCain is sowing the seeds of his own demise by drawing so much from his military history,” said Daniel Nichanian in The Huffington Post. This will make it impossible for him to “avoid voter anger over the disastrous Iraq war. After Bush’s two terms, McCain should be running away from his hawkishness rather than embracing it.”
Sure, “most Americans want to be told we can leave Iraq sooner rather than later,” said William Kristol in The New York Times (free registration). But McCain is right to showcase his courage to “tell Americans the hard and unpopular truths that we’ll be there for a while, and that there’s no sacrifice-free path to defeating our enemies and securing a lasting peace.“ Still, emphasizing his biography won’t be enough to get him elected, so McCain “should be working overtime on a broad reform agenda—education reform, health insurance reform, tax reform, government reform, Wall Street reform—that is also worthy of his pedigree.