In the 2000 presidential election, Senator John McCain built a reputation as a maverick who said what he believed. More than any other Republican, he inspired Democratic support because of this independent spirit. And as he “spoke truth,” McCain’s popularity with the media and public soared, propelling him to within a stone’s throw of the presidency. Little did we know, the real McCain isn’t a maverick at all.
With his announcement this week that he supports the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, there is nothing left of the independent image John McCain cast in 2000. Instead, the real McCain has surrendered his principles to appease the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. Regrettably, the man has negotiated away his integrity which was his greatest strength. In some aspects, that independent spirit has been picked up by Senator Hagel who has embraced what John McCain once was.
In 2000, McCain proclaimed that the Republican Party was “the party of Ronald Reagan, not Pat Robertson.” In April of that year, he blasted Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for their smears and dishonesty. Remember, right wing pro-Bush allies working the South Carolina primary planted rumors in so-called push polls and leaflets that Cindy and John McCain’s adopted child, who is from Bangladesh, was an illegitimate child conceived from an interracial relationship.
I imagine that most people, if someone deliberately planted such lies about their children, would never forgive the perpetrators. Yet John McCain has hired some of the very people who were involved in those smears. In addition, he has spoken at Jerry Farwell’s Liberty University and has just agreed to speak at Pat Robertson’s Regent University.
Over the last two years, he also supported an Arizona constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (which lost by the way!), supported the teaching of intelligent design in the classroom, proclaimed support for the Bush tax cuts which he voted against, and climbed into bed with every right wing crazy around.
On top of that, he has done Bush one better. While Bush has called for an escalation of 20,000 troops in Iraq, McCain, at one time, wanted to send 100,000 additional troops. He has become the most prominent champion of a failed policy and still believes that a military victory is possible.
Clearly, he is the pro-war candidate in the 2008 election. And at times, he sounds either delusional or despondent about the Iraq invasion and its consequences. Case in point: his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on January 21 to bolster support for Bush’s escalation was one of his least inspiring performances ever. Sadly, McCain has sold his dignity in his pursuit of raw political power.