Friday, January 19, 2007

Thoughts on the McCain Interview

Senator McCain and I covered quite a bit of ground on last night’s Kudlow & Company. There were however, two rather interesting points he made that really stood out.

Here’s what he had to say when I asked him whether a “President McCain” would be even more aggressive with Iran:

I'm very concerned about Iran, their continued acquisition, attempt to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Their president declared at the United Nations his country's policy of extinction of the state of Israel. Of course, I'm concerned. And I think it's very appropriate if there are Iranians who are inside Iraq or on the borders who are training, equipping and paying terrorists. Then it's our obligation to do what's necessary to protect the lives of our men and women in the military who are serving.

You know, Larry, it's awfully easy to sit back on the sidelines and to second-guess. I probably would make it more clear to the Russians that this is a determining factor in our relations with the Russians. They're really the only ones in the region that have, as you know, significant influence. And I would not look into Mr. Putin's eyes. I'd stare him in the face, and I'd say, `Look, pal, you've got to help us out here, and otherwise, the consequences will be significant in terms of our relationship.'

I also asked him if he thought a time would ever come that we would need a special consumption tax, or national sales tax, designated to beef up the Pentagon’s budget to cover all our needs in the war on terror, including an enlargement of the Army and Marine Corps. His response:

I don't think so. Larry, I just don't think it's necessary. We have to get into the position--into the mode of acquisition reform. One of the untold scandals in Washington, DC, today is the cost overruns associated with our weapons systems. Virtually every contract is now a cost-plus contract. We just put a stop order on a ship that was being built for the Navy that's up $400 million overrun. We need acquisition reform so that the taxpayers get the maximum amount for their tax dollars, long before we ask them to contribute more tax dollars. It's a scandal, it's a scandal, these cost-plus contracts which have inflated the costs dramatically of the weapons systems, and we've got to get about acquisition reform.