McCain eyes ‘the right side of history’

MCCAIN EYES ‘THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY’…. As I mentioned last week, I’m inclined to retire my ongoing count of John McCain’s Sunday show appearances. I suspect folks get the point — Sunday show bookers continue to be obsessed with McCain, and they shouldn’t be.

And yet, there was the Arizona Republican on television this morning, making his 28th Sunday show appearance in just two years. This time, it was on CNN, where McCain shared his thoughts on the recent events in Egypt, and argued he’d like to see President Obama “get a little bit more out ahead” of developments.

President Barack Obama’s Friday night statement responding to the protests in the Egyptian streets was “good,” McCain said, but that the United States needs to work harder to be “on the right side of history.”

“The past performance of this administration hasn’t been great,” McCain said, noting that they cut off some money for “democratization.”

“Every time we’ve got on the right side of history,” he said, “it’s usually been okay.”

So, “the right side of history” is the appropriate place to be. Got it. It certainly makes sense to avoid the “wrong side of history.”

The trick, of course, is having the wisdom and good judgment to know the difference. With McCain, it’s not quite clear what this policy might be. He warned of a “Tiananmen Square in Cairo,” but McCain also applauded the fact that Egyptian military and its tanks are “in control.”

McCain also sided with neither Mubarak nor the protestors, but suggested Mubarak should remain in charge until some future transition.

I can appreciate how extremely complex the foreign policy dynamic is here, and the scarcity of unambiguous answers. The problem, though, is that McCain continues to have media credibility on international affairs, but there’s just no depth of thought.

The other night I watched “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and saw informative interviews with chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, the University of Maryland’s Shibley Telhami, the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons, the Center for American Progress’ Brian Katulis, and Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin. Watching the interviews as someone who isn’t even close to being an expert on Egypt, I felt like I learned a great deal over the course of the hour.

Any and all of them would have made worthwhile guests on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Instead, we see John McCain and notice there’s just nothing to learn from the senator, beyond platitudes regarding the “the right side of history.”

It’s why the Sunday shows keep inviting him back, and why they shouldn’t.