I am struck by the contrast between playing poker and shooting craps.
Poker is a game of skill which includes reading other players, bluffing, deciding if other people are bluffing, considering odds. It is in the setting of social interaction and a means of relation with other politicians. Obama is good at it. Truman, Nixon and Johnson were all poker players. It is a game that it is possible to win at. Kenny Roger’s song says a lot about it.
The word crapshoot itself is a metaphore. It describes a situation of which you have no control and if the stakes are signifacant , it should be avoided. If you play craps, the house always wins over time. There is social interaction on an emotional level around a crap table. It is not rational or cerebral like poker. McCain has spent 17 hour stretches and lost huge sums of money at craps. What is characteristic about compulsive gamblers is that they like to throw good money after bad. That has been exactly what he wants to do in Iraq. He thinks that the possible bragging rights of “victory” whatever that is is worth the lives and money.
I want a poker player taking that 3AM call.