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November 06, 2005

A Maverick No More

Shakes here...

I really dislike John McCain. It’s not just his politics, which are enough to make me dislike him as a probable presidential candidate, but it’s who he is, which make me dislike him as a person, too. Watching him campaign for Bush during the last election, after his wife and child had been targets of the Rovian smear machine, was enough to make me puke. That he showed up on The Daily Show making wink-wink nudge-nudge comments about Bush, designed to bolster his image among liberals as The Republican You Can Like, in spite of his decision to campaign with his arm across the president’s shoulders, was enough to convince me this snake oil huckster was as disingenuous and dangerous a specimen as the one we’ve got in the White House now.

And like our current president, McCain relies on myths, and it’s no more true that Bush is an everyman cowboy than McCain is a maverick moderate. Maybe he was at one time, but he isn’t anymore. With his eyes firmly fixed on the Oval Office, he has plotted his course straight through the GOP’s most decidedly conservative territory, and has so far stopped at Intelligent Design Outpost, Fort Homobigortry, and now appears to be resting his feet at Falwell Depot. Meanwhile, his new new PAC, Straight Talk America, lists his reform agenda that includes the following (among others):

…supporting the health, strength and dignity of the American family and culture across the span of generations…energizing American leadership in science, technology, medicine, education, training and mastery in the skills of the future to secure the nation's prosperity and serve the upward march of humanity…

The health, strength, and dignity of your family…unless you’re gay. Energizing science…unless it’s politically expedient to undermine science by endorsing the teaching of intelligent design in classrooms. It’s simply more of the same wink-wink nudge-nudge shenanigans that he pulled on The Daily Show, courting the wingnuts with one hand while waving away such kooky conservatism with the other. “Straight Talk” indeed.

This crap isn’t the bold trailblazing of a maverick, but the tired posturing of a desperate old sod who wants his shot at the White House and is willing to sacrifice principle to get there.

There’s little doubt McCain will announce his candidacy at some point, and, when he does, I hope this picture goes up on every liberal blog in the blogosphere:

A Maverick No More.

November 6, 2005 | Permalink

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» Around the Sphere November 6th, 2005 from In Search Of Utopia
This is a Republican Fantasy... The reason we lost the last two elections was about the candidate, not the platform. My caption to this photo. "Man I wish these people would learn to speak english!" Meanwhile, the Right continues to... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 6, 2005 2:01:43 PM

» Around the Sphere November 6th, 2005 from In Search Of Utopia
This is a Republican Fantasy... The reason we lost the last two elections was about the candidate, not the platform. My caption to this photo. "Man I wish these people would learn to speak english!" Meanwhile, the Right continues to... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 6, 2005 2:07:20 PM

» Exposing John McCain - The Money Shot from Bloodless Coup
There are few things I like more in current political commentary than people daring to expose what really lies beneath the myth that is Sen John S. McCain, III of Arizona - so it is no surprise that I love... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 6, 2005 4:28:44 PM

» How many times do I have to tell you? from Common Sense
John McCain was never a Maverick Moderate. To his credit, he's never claimed he was. But some people have it in their head that he was a moderate when in reality he was always a conservative. The question was always [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 7, 2005 12:40:36 PM

Comments

I'll second you on that one, Sister!

Posted by: J Bean | Nov 6, 2005 2:13:34 PM

this snake oil huckster was as disingenuous and dangerous a specimen as the one we’ve got in the White House now.

ooh, baby, I love it when you talk dirty.

and alliteratively.

Posted by: Thesaurus Rex | Nov 6, 2005 2:13:58 PM

My mild (very mild) defence of the guy is that he is, after all, a conservative Republican (conservative Republicans consider him a traitor because he sometimes goes against them, but he agrees with them on most things), and it's not terribly surprising that he would campaign for the conservative Republican candidate, even if he doesn't like him. Liberals felt betrayed by McCain because they thought he was really "one of us," but that's our problem, not McCain's.

Posted by: M.A. | Nov 6, 2005 2:39:48 PM

M.A.: I hear progressives (who aren't paying attention) and moderates say that they would think about voting for McCain all the time. He's done a good job of casting himself as a moderate. If you are paying attention, you know he isn't, but a lot of people have been fooled. His "maverick" positions are carefully considered. When the GOP really needs his vote, they always get it.

He'll be 72 in 2008 and he's had recurrent melanoma. Time to retire, anyway.

Posted by: J Bean | Nov 6, 2005 2:51:24 PM

M.A., it's not that liberals thought he was "one of us." It's that McCain has repeatedly sold himself as a moderate when he is, at best, a very conservative Republican who has sometimes bucked the party line. The 2004 election should've put the last nail in the coffin of any moderate OR bipartisan credibility this guy has.

The biggest problem with McCain is that he's a media darling. He pops up on every other Sunday show and cable shoutfest and is constantly fawned over by pundits who swallow his "straight talk" shtick hook, line, and sinker. I truly hope this has worked too well for him, and ends up sinking him with the right wing, because the Chris Matthewses of the world are stupid enough to sell him to America as a cuddly centrist.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Nov 6, 2005 2:56:54 PM

Hey! No one asked James Garner if McCain could call himself "Maverick"? Time out.

I hadn't seen the pic, and I'm so very sorry I now have. McCain will always be able to trade on his prisoner-of-war status.

But seriously, where do I send my money for this obvious candidate for the top office?

Posted by: catherine | Nov 6, 2005 3:01:23 PM

MCain's an upgrade release: think Orrin Hatch 2.0.

A badly needed sanity module has been added, the interface with the public has been improved, and the biography code has been completely re-written.

Other than that, same old program.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina | Nov 6, 2005 3:07:09 PM

Completely OT, but Davis X. Machina is an awesome handle.

Posted by: TJ | Nov 6, 2005 4:30:52 PM

His "maverick" positions are carefully considered. When the GOP really needs his vote, they always get it.

Sure, but that's true of a lot of "maverick" Democrats too. The point is, dude's a conservative and a Republican, and he votes this way because he thinks it's good. That's why a liberal or progressive would be crazy to vote for him, but it doesn't necessarily make him a party hack, just a party member.

Posted by: M.A. | Nov 6, 2005 4:38:22 PM

McCain is a Republican Party hack. I don't like how he's in CA kissing Ah-nold's ass and saying the special election is about 'change' and about 'reform.' It's another Republican power grab; an attack on public education and public employees as well as a step toward fascism in side-stepping the Democratic majority state legislature. McCain can be counted on to spew RNC talking points and lies (same thing). Hack.

Posted by: cali dem | Nov 6, 2005 6:18:08 PM

I offer up the following qualified defense of a hypothetical McCain presidency: if there is one person in the Senate who both (a) is willing to wage war with the Norquistas and (b) has some shot at winning the presidency, it's McCain.

I could use a little reality-based budgeting.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Nov 6, 2005 7:35:53 PM

On the whole I'm not a fan of McCain's. I saw that hug: classic Stockholm syndrome if you ask me.

That said, the role he's playing with regard to torture is invaluable. We need to reaffirm a broad national consensus that torture is not just wrong, not just illegal, not just immoral, but also un-American.

McCain is serving as an anchor on the right as we reiterate that princlple. With his background and clear determination, it's a role to which he will bring substantial weight and I appreciate that.

Understand that this is not a sideshow: this is nothing less than a battle for the soul of our nation. Our civil liberties are at stake along with our national honor.

The Bush/Cheney administration must be called to account for the abuses it has perpetrated. A clear re-statement of our national repudiation of torture is required before we examine the crimes which have been committed in our name.

Posted by: BroD | Nov 6, 2005 8:26:15 PM

McCain is a tool. His maverick image is great when it serves him or servse the party by making it look like they don't march in lockstep. But when it comes down to the wire, he votes with the party.

Posted by: Terrance | Nov 6, 2005 10:22:27 PM

That's going to be a really bad picture for him in a 2008 general election. Not just because it ties him to Bush, but because he looks like a dwarf.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Nov 6, 2005 11:01:38 PM

I have to agree -I voted for McCain in the primary in 1999 and want to like him but I just heard him on NPR's On Point (110705) and it was predictably disgusting... praising the moron in the whitehouse... and back-pedaling where necessary.

This guy SHOULD NOT be president -irrespective of his anti-torture measures...

Posted by: Brian | Nov 7, 2005 1:14:25 PM

I have to agree -I voted for McCain in the primary in 1999 and want to like him but I just heard him on NPR's On Point (110705) and it was predictably disgusting... praising the moron in the whitehouse... and back-pedaling where necessary.

This guy SHOULD NOT be president -irrespective of his anti-torture measures...

Posted by: Brian | Nov 7, 2005 1:15:25 PM

I don't know that or think that progressives should vote for the guy. With that said, he's probably the least harmful Republican out there among the potential nominees. So if it has to be a Republican that wins (please God, don't let this be the case), I'm hoping its him.

Posted by: Adrock | Nov 7, 2005 1:19:10 PM

I have to agree -I voted for McCain in the primary in 1999 and want to like him but I just heard him on NPR's On Point (110705) and it was predictably disgusting... praising the moron in the whitehouse... and back-pedaling where necessary.

This guy SHOULD NOT be president -irrespective of his anti-torture measures...

Posted by: Brian | Nov 7, 2005 1:20:06 PM

I have to agree -I voted for McCain in the primary in 1999 and want to like him but I just heard him on NPR's On Point (110705) and it was predictably disgusting... praising the moron in the whitehouse... and back-pedaling where necessary.

This guy SHOULD NOT be president -irrespective of his anti-torture measures...

Posted by: Brian | Nov 7, 2005 1:25:23 PM

The Bush presidency should be an instruction about why it's not conversatism that's bad, but just genuinely despicable politicians that are bad. Liberals have known this for a while, but now the rest of the country is finally waking up.

McCain is a conservative Republican and I remember in 2000 preferring the supposedly moderate Bush to him. Clearly that was wrong, but I think it's important to keep in mind that he would in no way be the crony-ing, war-mongering, financially illiterate, bible-thumper we have now.

Shakes is upset that McCain hasn't picked a side, and that he hasn't picked her side. I don't think she'd be happy unless McCain picked our side. I certainly don't know of any Republican Senators who she would accept as mavericks or moderate. The point is, if you aren't going to hate ALL Republicans, then McCain is the first one to not hate.

At the moment: McCain is leading the battle for an anti-torture law, reasserting Congress's power against a secretive executive, and is the only person in the military command structure that seems to be concerned about egregious misspending. These are all pretty important things, more so than "he gave Bush a hug".

Posted by: Tony Vila | Nov 7, 2005 2:22:00 PM

When McCain stumped earlier this year for Bush's Soc. Sec. deform, he told Arizonan citizens that the Trust Fund could not mail any more checks out after 2042. Sensing that the Senator lied to his own citizens, I wrote his office asking him to explain this odd statement. What I got back was a letter signed by McCain sensibly stating what really might happen after 2042 - which of course was the polar opposite of what he said to that Arizona audience. In a word, McCain lied to his own voters in an attempt to scare them. Of course, McCain has been lying a LOT. Yet our press pretends he's honest. Give me a break!

Posted by: pgl | Nov 7, 2005 9:59:01 PM

McCain exaggerated in a stump speech? Wow I'm sure a Democrat has never done that.

Look, I don't like them and I don't think most of the people here do either. There isn't a single Republican Senator I wouldn't replace with a random Democrat if I could. That's what makes me a partisan.

The McCain as a maverick is not supposed to appeal to well-informed passionate Democrats. We know he votes with the party 90% of the time and that's what matters. The vote for Bill Frist as Maj. Leader is the most important vote he makes each session, to us at least.

But it's not for you. It's for the moderates, who share some issues with Republicans, some with Democrats, don't care on other issues, and are looking to be swayed. And he really is better than any other Republican when looked at from that perspective.

Would I want McCain to win a Presidential general election? Heck no. Would I want McCain to win a Presidential primary? Heck yes.

Posted by: Tony Vila | Nov 8, 2005 1:05:14 PM

McCain exaggerated in a stump speech? Wow I'm sure a Democrat has never done that.

Look, I don't like them and I don't think most of the people here do either. There isn't a single Republican Senator I wouldn't replace with a random Democrat if I could. That's what makes me a partisan.

The McCain as a maverick is not supposed to appeal to well-informed passionate Democrats. We know he votes with the party 90% of the time and that's what matters. The vote for Bill Frist as Maj. Leader is the most important vote he makes each session, to us at least.

But it's not for you. It's for the moderates, who share some issues with Republicans, some with Democrats, don't care on other issues, and are looking to be swayed. And he really is better than any other Republican when looked at from that perspective.

Would I want McCain to win a Presidential general election? Heck no. Would I want McCain to win a Presidential primary? Heck yes.

Posted by: Tony Vila | Nov 8, 2005 1:06:03 PM

McCain exaggerated in a stump speech? Wow I'm sure a Democrat has never done that.

Look, I don't like them and I don't think most of the people here do either. There isn't a single Republican Senator I wouldn't replace with a random Democrat if I could. That's what makes me a partisan.

The McCain as a maverick is not supposed to appeal to well-informed passionate Democrats. We know he votes with the party 90% of the time and that's what matters. The vote for Bill Frist as Maj. Leader is the most important vote he makes each session, to us at least.

But it's not for you. It's for the moderates, who share some issues with Republicans, some with Democrats, don't care on other issues, and are looking to be swayed. And he really is better than any other Republican when looked at from that perspective.

Would I want McCain to win a Presidential general election? Heck no. Would I want McCain to win a Presidential primary? Heck yes.

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