By Tucker Carlson
“We advance our own interests by helping reformers and advocates for democracy”? That was Bush’s position on the Middle East immediately after 9-11 and, remarkably, it remains his position. He said it again tonight. But can he actually mean it? Would it really “advance our interests” to have a democratically-elected government in Saudi Arabia? In Egypt? In nuclear-armed Pakistan? In every case, democracy would all but guarantee the election of Islamic lunatics who hate us. Those countries and others (Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar) would likely become dangerous enemies overnight. Bush’s democracy doctrine—it sounds good if you don’t think about it very long. And apparently he hasn’t.
Imagine that you’re John McCain. You’re running for president for the second time, and this time you’re widely considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Knowing that, you’ve got to expect that whomever is directing the television coverage of tonight’s speech is going to point the camera your way. You’re going to be on primetime TV, no doubt. With that in mind, you’re going to want to stay awake. If you’re McCain, who will be over 70 by 2008, you’ll want to make doubly sure to demonstrate your alertness and vigor. You definitely won’t want to slump in your seat, out cold, when Bush starts talking about Iraq. And yet that’s exactly what McCain did tonight, napping on camera for ten agonizing seconds. Lack of self-control? An expression of contempt? Embarrassing in any case.