John McCain is unhappy that Democrats are trying to realistically clean up Bush's mess.
Mr. McCain, a Republican presidential candidate whose candidacy has been shaken by his support of the war, spoke in vivid and even apocalyptic terms as he offered a forceful call for the United States to press on with the battle of Iraq. And he repeatedly portrayed Democrats as acting out of political opportunism — and Republicans as acting on principle — in the debate in Washington over the future of this war.
If you want to understand what's happening to McCain, look no further than Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:
To understand why he's doing this, we need to go back to his own experience in a faraway war. "This is all about Vietnam," says a longtime diplomat who insists on anonymity because he's supporting another candidate. "You can see it in his face. This triggers all the complexities of his father and grandfather and the code of honor he has written about and believes in deeply. It's hitting him in his gut. It's not a rational thing. If it were, he'd listen to the advisers who are telling him to move toward a diplomatic solution."
John McCain may be playing the political angles on various social issues, but not on Iraq. Henry Clay, the great 19th-century senator, once said, "I'd rather be right than be president." Sadly for McCain, the odds are growing that he'll be neither.
The article lists very nicely all the things that are not working for Honest John, but here's the big one:
McCain has essentially lashed his presidential prospects to Petraeus. If the surge succeeds, McCain's campaign will surge, too. If it fails, as most analysts outside the Bush administration believe it will, McCain will either have to reverse course in the fall or go into the primaries as the fiasco's main cheerleader. To ratchet up the irony, he has said repeatedly that he doesn't believe that Bush is putting in enough additional troops. That means McCain is betting his political future on a strategy he believes is flawed, executed by a president he has never much liked.
emptywheel notes the issue of Bush's competence (or lack of same), and so here lies John McCain's Presidential aspirations, casualty of Iraq.