McCain Disses Rumsfeld on Fox

Senator John McCain, appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, indicated that he wished Don Rumsfeld’s term as Secretary of Defense had not been extended. Wallace, seemingly shocked, noted that “that doesn’t seem like a vote of confidence.” McCain replied, “Sadly, no.”


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. too true says:

    I suspect he wanted the job. Heh heh.

  2. anon says:

    Another reason that “real” republicans hate McCain – he undercuts the Bush administration almost as often as democrats.

  3. McGehee says:

    McCain’s one saving grace is that, every once in a while, he saves his Republican fratricides for after the election.

  4. McGehee says:

    Though I would add that I think it’s more likely the friction between him and Rumsfeld is more a function of the adage about how two prima donnas can never get along with each other.

    If I had to choose between them though, I’d stick with Rummy.

  5. Anjin-San says:

    God forbid that a member of the GOP should fail to march in lockstep… maybe McCain, a war hero (not a chickenhawk like most bushites) remembers how the Bush campaign slimed him in 2000.

  6. bryan says:


    McCain must have forgotten that fact while he was CAMPAIGNING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FOR BUSH IN 2004!

  7. Larry Pleasant says:

    Our future is less bright everytime we shoot the messenger and minimize the message. McCain is an American first and a Republican second.

  8. Larry Pleasant says:

    Our future is less bright everytime we shoot the messenger and minimize the message. McCain is an American first and a Republican second.

  9. Doug/Detroit says:

    McCain is a sad case.
    Consider the difficulties in the Senate — indeed
    the nation and world — over the past four years.
    If McCain had not been an unglued self-drunk egomaniac
    ala Slick Willy, think what he could have done.
    Helping Bush in the Senate, and overseas,
    he could have become the second most important elected official in the U.S.
    And an obvious leader for you know what in four years.
    Sad case, sad senator.

  10. kappiy says:

    I think it is Rumsfeld who is the sad case. He is perhaps the worst Secretary of Defense we have ever had. While I think that McCain is a radical opportunist, there are very few objective measures by which one could label Rumsfeld’s tenure as anything other than disastrous.

  11. Lee says:

    McCain is McCain first.

  12. bryan says:

    By the sole standard of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, I think we could label McCain’s legacy as disastrous.

  13. danman says:

    Only George W. Bush would keep Donald Rumsfeld and kick Colin Powell out. Now you know why this administration’s defense and foreign policy is in the crapper. Dont be surprised if things continue to get worse!!

  14. kappiy says:

    On moral grounds alone, Rumsfeld should be fired–or ideally, brought to trial at the Hague for war crimes. The repeated evidence of torture in Iraq, US-controlled Cuba, an Afghanistan is enough for anyoune guided by morals, a respect for humanity, an understanding of basic human rights, and the ideals of the civilized world to recognize the dire failure and barbarism that Rumsfeld’s “leadership” has wrought.

    For those people who aren’t guided by morals, Rumsfeld has been a tragic failure from the standpoint of military execution. There was no pre-war planning on how governance should take place in the absense of Saadam. Paul Bremer–who was the choice of Rummy–proved to be horribly incompetent whose arrogant policies pushed Iraqi sentiments against the occupation.

    Rummy and his deputy Wolfowitz failed ON THEIR OWN TERMS as well, making one wonder why Bush is keeping them on.

    Wolfowitz: “I do think in a way that’s our principle target, is the psychological one, to convince the Iraqi people that they no longer have to be afraid of Saddam. And once that happens I think what you’re going to find, and this is very important, you’re going to find Iraqis out cheering American troops.” (Feb. 23, 2003)

    “It’s interesting that even al Qaeda has kind of come out in defense of Saddam Hussein. They’ve declared that Saddam Hussein [is bad]. There’s also no question that the defeat of this terrorist regime that terrorizes its own people, that has weapons of mass terror and that has ties to terrorism will be seen throughout the terrorist world as a defeat for their side. No question about it. I mean one of our first priorities going into Baghdad will be to look for these people that are hiding there”

  15. McGehee says:

    On moral grounds alone, Rumsfeld should be fired—or ideally, brought to trial at the Hague for war crimes.

    And the legal basis for this would be…?

  16. McGehee says:

    I mean, I thought it was supposed to be only us red-state types who wanted to impose our moral code on the judicial system.

  17. kappiy says:

    “And the legal basis for this would be…?”

    The legal basis would be the Geneva Convention and the 1996 law enacted by congress to enforce, domestically, the UN Convention Against Torture. I think that Gonzalez’s memo from 2003 is pretty clear that the administration understands that POWs must be treated according to international standards and that the need to proclaim “enemy combaitants” was a deliberate way to evade the law.

    In fact, some are pursuing legal routes right now:

    Rumsfeld should have his day in a court of law.

  18. Bithead says:

    Why is anyone taking McCain seriously?

  19. jb says:

    The reason people should take McCain seriously is because there are people like me who would come back to the GOP were he to lead it. I say that having been raised in the GOP, having worked for a Republican Senator and a Republican Governor. I was born and bred Republican.

    However, I can’t support hypocrites who shirk their duty, only to give the perception that they casual about others giving their blood when proclaiming “bring em on” with regards to insurgent strikes in Iraq.

    Nor can I support someone who was by all accounts a party animal in his day only to waste $150MM on “abstinence only education” during a time of exploding deficits. During capitivity, McCain had plenty of time to think about what was really important in life. Meanwhile Bush was doing whatever he was doing before he found Jesus.

    Right now the right wing of the party is feeling pretty good, but remember, you only recieved 51% against a self absorbed Northeastern Liberal from Massachusetts. George McGovern would have beena better candidate. I am not impressed.

    McCain has made sacrifices in his life. Due to the reckless fiscal and foreign policy adventure embarked upon by this admin, there will come a time in the not to distant future when the nation will need someone who has the moral authority to ask us all to make sacrifices for one another. McCain is capable of this. That is why you should take him seriously.

  20. Rick W says:

    Perhaps McCain honestly thinks Rummy is doing a lousy job. He certainly has ample evidence. Why are “conservatives” unable to examine the message rather than the messenger?

  21. Jean Rice says:

    As a Democrat who seeks to get a different slant on things (from Republicans), I can find very few Republicans whom I admire. Even if their intent (build democracy around the world, restore morale values) are honorable goals, I don’t think that is their chief motivation. They don’t seem to be able to think things through, make course adjustmemts as circumstances change, even admit mistakes. Wonder if that nice Laura wasn’t horrified by the prison scandal and Rumsfeld’s harsh policies. This administration is leading our country down the drain, lain and simple. How they could choose such a simple-minded person to lead them – how embarrassing! Kerry was the much better choice. McCain is a hundred times more competent than Bush. So is Kean, Collins, but most Republicans do not seem to care about the average person, the world’s poor and hurting, our environment. I find Democrats, on the whole, to be more morale, better educated, more understanding and compassionate. Even with his personal failings, Clinton was well-read and intelligent, tried to build relationships with other countries. The world’s problems are so large and deadly that we need the most competent people we can find to lead this country.