Sinking in polls and struggling to reinvigorate his foundering presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a robust defense of the war in Iraq on Wednesday, declaring that President Bush and the conflict's supporters are on the right side of history in the struggle against terrorism and extremism.I actually used to like McCain back when he ran against Bush in 2000, but now he is just beginning to seem pathetic. I don't, however, fault him for not totally conforming to public opinion. I feel like elected officials should respect public opinion much more so than this current administration has ever done, but in all honesty a leader does not lead by following. In fact, I greatly respect Sen. Obama's courage to speak out against the war back in the beginning when the war was still quite popular in public opinion.
Dismissing public opinion polls as offering nothing but "temporary favor" to the war's opponents, McCain directly confronted the biggest obstacle to his White House ambitions: his unyielding support of a war that more than two-thirds of the country has turned against.
On the other hand, McCain's continued support for (and sometimes outrageous statements about) the war seem to indicate that he has lost touch with reality as much as he has lost touch with the public opinion. It seems to me that if a leader holds a different view than what is popular opinion at the time, he or she must show the public that these ideas are better than those held by the public and have something to back it up. Eventually, if they have accomplished this, public opinion will begin to turn in their favor. In contrast, the current administration and Republican front-runners seem more like ostriches with heads buried in the sand than leader with a real plan.