I used to really like John McCain. Even though he was a Republican and I'm a Democrat, I felt he had honor and integrity, and he was usually above taking cheap political shots and toeing the party line. He was also a Republican candidate that I could envision voting for. Had the 2004 election been between McCain and Kerry, I'd have voted for McCain. However, McCain's appearance on The Daily Show last night pretty much ended him as a viable candidate in 2008 to me.
When McCain started courting the base of the Republican party, people who he'd previously (and rightly) criticized for their intolerance, I got a little concerned, but figured he was just leaning enough their way to get enough necessary support to be a viable candidate.
Last night, in the second segment of his debate/interview, Stewart gave McCain a chance to show that he still had honor, but McCain failed. When Stewart asked McCain to agree that wanting a timetable or criticizing the president doesn't mean "you don't support the troops" and McCain started spouting more talking points about surrender and defeat, it was clear that the Straight Talk Express has turned into the Talking Point Freight Train. Does McCain think that the only way to gain the Republican nomination is to become George Bush's surrogate Press Secretary? Has he seen Bush's approval numbers? Now is the time for realism, not surrealistic idealism.
Dear Senator McCain, here is the proper response to that question, that does not attempt to turn people with a legitimate political disagreement with you into unpatriotic monsters:
"I understand that there are many good and patriotic Americans who love their country, who have friends and family serving in the armed forces that they're concerned about, and they want to bring them home to safety. Expressing that concern doesn't mean they don't support the troops, it just means we need to do a better job of convincing the nation that the consequences of failure in Iraq are dire. The brave men and women of our armed forces have served our country valiantly in a difficult situation in Iraq, and unfortunately, their country has to ask them to continue to serve."
That, Senator McCain, is an honorable answer that shows that you're someone who is reasonable. Someone who doesn't attempt to paint his opponents as unpatriotic, and who is sure enough of his positions that he can fully explore the ideas of someone who disagrees with him without resorting to a ridiculous pissing contest of who has the most yellow ribbons tied on to "support the troops".