John McCain has an extremely impressive record – war hero, POW, statesman – he has it all. Twenty years in the US Senate. He’s traveled extensively around the world, getting close-up views of all the trouble spots. He’s on a first name basis with world leaders and other key people everywhere around the globe. He really and truly knows his stuff.
Four years ago when the presidential face-off was between George Bush and John Kerry, I found myself wishing McCain had run instead, because I would have almost preferred him over Kerry.
At that time, McCain was a centrist. He was a true maverick, disagreeing with George Bush and his party on key issues such as the use of torture and on tax cuts and other important issues.
But no more.
Since that time, McCain has undergone a metamorphosis – as he tried to mold himself into what he or the republican party saw as a contender for the 2008 presidential race.
He’s moved a good ways farther to the right. He’s become a more doctrinaire republican, embracing many of the same right-wing ideas and values he used to oppose.
The centrist John McCain is gone, replaced with a Karl Rove clone version.
While McCain has taken great care to try and distance himself from George W. Bush, the facts stand by themselves. Looking at his voting history, McCain has toted the party (Bush) line more than 90% of the time – a fact he was once quite proud of.
Prospectively, McCain’s plans for the future show few substantive differences from the path chosen by his predecessor. Time and again, McCain says things will be different under his administration. But in reality, under McCain, we’ll be in Iraq “one hundred years or however long it takes to win,” the environment will be raped beyond recognition, and the rich will get richer and the poor will continue to get screwed.
That’s a George W. Bush kind of status quo. That’s the kind of administration that’s involved us in two unjust wars and has driven the US and world economies into the toilet.
Then there’s McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
I’ve read various accounts of how she may have come to be selected. That McCain had met her a year ago and was smitten with her charm and good looks. And also how her name was rushed through without proper vetting and background checks.
This is a big problem.
Because however smart, good-looking and politically attractive she may be to the republicans, Sarah Palin is not even close to being qualified to serve as vice president.
It doesn’t matter how her appointment really came about; any way you cut it, it shows a tremendous lack thoroughness and poor judgment on the part of McCain.
Right now, Palin is like a big anchor tied to McCain’s neck. Her appointment has alienated people from all parts of the political spectrum – from the far right, all the way to moderates like Colin Powell. She may end up being the largest single factor in securing his coming defeat.
But that was not his only lapse of judgment in recent weeks. Sadly, there are quite a few other examples.
Starting off, the one time when McCain was offered a golden opportunity to exhibit leadership – during the Wall Street bailout crisis – he blew it, by claiming he had negotiations wrapped up and then later the same day was repudiated by the leaders of his own party when the deal he brokered fell apart. People from his own party were complaining publicly that he was impeding progress, if anything, by politicizing the issue. He came out of that whole mess looking ineffectual and impotent.
Another example of poor judgment – or perhaps desperation – is the style of his campaign.
The ads McCain has been running have been particularly nasty – mostly negative attack ads. McCain hasn’t really said anything about any solid plans for pulling our country out of the various messes we’ve got going. No proactive content; all reactive.
Then a few times at rallies in the past couple weeks, it looked as though things actually went too far for McCain’s liking when for example, a lady in a crowd called Obama an “Arab” and McCain had to stop and explain – on TV – that Barack Obama was a good, honorable, Christian, family man – not a bad person at all – just someone who he shared some disagreements with.
There were two or three similar events that occurred within a span of a week where McCain had to stop and defend Obama against different right-wing kooks – right-wing kooks who were his own supporters.
My heart went out to McCain at that moment. It must have been tremendously hard for him to defend Obama. It reinforced my notion that at least deep down inside, he really and truly is a good, honorable man.
I got the strong impression from all that that McCain was probably in a helluva war with his campaign leaders at the moment. They were pushing things towards new levels of viciousness and sleaze, and McCain didn’t like it. He was reacting, pushing back publicly.
The old John McCain wouldn’t have stood for that kind of shit for even one minute. But still, the sleaze – however toned down it might be – does continue to this moment. This bodes ill for McCain.
Like they say, a man is known by the friends he keeps. And actions do speak louder than words.
What it looks like to me, is that even though deep down inside, John McCain is a good, decent honorable man, that to get where he is today – the republican presidential candidate – he’s sold his soul to the devil – in the persona of the Karl Rove, NeoCon wing of the republican party.
And as a result, he’s changed completely from who he was in 2004. This is quite sad.
Even if he was the only candidate available, I couldn’t in good conscience vote for John McCain now. He’s sold out; compromised his own values and ideals; he’s exhibited some really poor judgment and bad leadership. And he offers only a stock, doctrinaire republican approach to the various messes we’re in – strategies that under George W. Bush, have proved to be completely disastrous.
Voting for John McCain would be voting to give George W. Bush four more years.
Say NO to John McCain.