Who does McCain plan to ‘test’?

WHO DOES MCCAIN PLAN TO ‘TEST’?…. Last weekend, Joe Biden predicted that U.S. enemies may try to “test” Barack Obama with an international crisis early on if he’s elected president, but Obama’s “spine of steel” will serve him well when faced with these challenges. The McCain campaign, ever since, has tried to characterize Biden’s remarks as some kind of important development.

Yesterday, McCain, again citing Biden’s comments, added some new rhetoric to the mix.

“I’m gonna test them,” Republican John McCain said at a campaign rally in New Mexico this morning. “They’re not gonna test me.”

So much for walking softly.

Maybe McCain could take a moment to elaborate on what this means, exactly. He’s going to “test” rivals? Which ones? How will he “test” them?

If Biden’s remarks suggest U.S. enemies may try to create an international crisis, it sounds as if McCain’s message is, “I’ll show them; I’ll start an international crisis first!”

Given McCain’s record of saber-rattling towards Iran, aggression towards North Korea, and antagonism towards Russia, McCain’s vow to “test” U.S. rivals isn’t exactly reassuring. What is it, exactly, he’s promising to do?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.