To most people, elections are complicated. Not so to some pundits. Enter Gerson:
By the summer of 2007, the Republican presidential candidate most closely identified with the war, John McCain, was in serious trouble. Moderates and independents no longer seemed impressed by the fierce, lonely advocate of what many called "escalation." Political observers argued that McCain's money troubles and staff resignations and firings — he went from 120 campaign workers to 50 — were "another nail in Mr. McCain's campaign coffin," showing that "the wheels came off," and leading to "a death spiral that is almost never survived."
If cliches could kill, McCain would have been embalmed and buried.
Yet the Republican candidate most closely identified with the war and the surge performs well in head-to-head polls against the Democrats. The revival of McCain's campaign was possible for one reason: the revival of American fortunes in Iraq. Most categories of violence in Iraq are now down by more than 60 percent, and sectarian attacks in Baghdad have fallen by 90 percent. Sunni tribal leaders are conducting the first large-scale revolt of Arabs against al-Qaeda thuggery — which includes, we learned last week, strapping explosives to a mentally disabled woman and setting off a blast in a market.
McCain seems well suited to deal with this kind of evil — precisely because he would diagnose it as evil.
Every Republican save Ron Paul embraced the most energetic and belligerent of Bush's policies. How McCain alone is helped by this seems a bit of a mystery. Besides, someone might even say that the surge hasn't worked (because it has exhausted its own ability to continue without achieving any of its stated goals), but I guess that person would, as Gerson earlier says, would "embrace retreat at any cost." But Gerson's claim about McCain's surging success is just run of the mill causal fallacy stuff–a little post hoc ergo propter hoc or perhaps some oversimplified cause. The real travesty is the remark after the dash.
There is another theologian in this race. If diagnosing something as evil constitutes a qualification, then why isn't Gerson supporting Mike Huckabee?