[Update: heh. See also bk’s diary on the subject.]
WASHINGTON — Not long after Senator John McCain returned last month from an official trip to Iraq and Pakistan, he received a phone call from President-elect Barack Obama.
As contenders for the presidency, the two had hammered each other for much of 2008 over their conflicting approaches to foreign policy, especially in Iraq. (He’d lose a war! He’d stay a hundred years!) Now, however, Mr. Obama said he wanted Mr. McCain’s advice, people in each camp briefed on the conversation said. What did he see on the trip? What did he learn?
Over the last three months, Mr. Obama has quietly consulted Mr. McCain about many of the new administration’s potential nominees to top national security jobs and about other issues — in one case relaying back a contender’s answers to questions Mr. McCain had suggested.
Mr. McCain, meanwhile, has told colleagues “that many of these appointments he would have made himself,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a close McCain friend.
I mean, on the one hand, McCain’s not exactly setting himself up here to be taken any more seriously by conservatives than he already is (i.e., not at all). We’re going to be fighting the two major factions of the Democratic Party* over the course of this next election cycle; egregiously playing nice-nice isn’t going to be particularly welcome.
On the other hand… John McCain. So wrong about national security issues that Barack Obama used him to vet his foreign policy picks. To the point where Obama acted on McCain’s concerns about at least one candidate. Anybody think that anybody from the antiwar movement got the courtesy of having Obama ask a few clarifications from Gates or Clinton?
All in all, I figure that we’re ahead on points. If for no other reason that this story indicates that pretty much everyone who actually matters agrees that the GOP had the right stance on the war.
*Legislative and executive.