In other words, Americans are looking for the equivalent of Kadima. Isn’t McCain the obvious Sharon? ~Andrew Sullivan

Sen. McCain might kindly thank Mr. Sullivan to not compare him to Ariel Sharon, unless the senator wants to play up his own belligerent and wild-eyed interventionist streak. I know that the new conventional wisdom in some circles is that Ariel Sharon played the role of far-seeing statesman in his final years and his abandonment of Likud should win him some credit (I suppose it might win him a little), but the comparison is still very odd.

McCain does not represent some new Kadima-like consensus center with respect to Iraq (which, the Kadima/Sharon comparison suggests, has become our Occupied Territory), but represents something much more like an über-hawkish Netanyahu position. Sullivan has managed to confuse McCain’s habit of dabbling with the left in domestic politics and canoodling with the press with a foreign policy view less radical or irresponsible than that of the administration. It must pain the new McCainiacs to recognise that McCain is more radical and even more committed to projecting American power in blunt and provocative ways than is Mr. Bush (hard as it may be to imagine such a thing). Where Ehud Olmert, the actual Kadima PM, is committing to withdrawing settlers from the West Bank, McCain would commit more soldiers to Iraq in pursuit of ever-changing, ever-elusive victory.

If the Democratic “approach” is the opposite of this, how then is McCain the American consensus-builder putting a “responsible” face on a popular policy, when he does not support the “approach”? On Iraq, he has continued to peg himself as more hegemonist than Bush. This is not, contrary to the new picture of McCain as “real conservative” (who has achieved this reputaton mostly because he now gladhands with Christians in token gestures), because McCain is showing his conservative side, but because his general center-left orientation in domestic politics matches up very nicely with the center-left foreign policy pursued this administration.