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April 18, 2006

How Liberal is McCain?

This weekend, I got some questions on McCain I wasn't totally prepared for. He's not, I have to admit, a guy I spend much time thinking about. So I spent some time thinking about the Arizona maverick this morning, after seeing that The New Republic had launched a series of defenses for his liberalism. And here's my conclusion: If you think John McCain's a progressive, then I'm about to convince you that George Bush is a communist.

April 18, 2006 | Permalink

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George W. is a communist, in the abstract that term takes in the post-Brezhnev era, except that the revolution to which he pays rhetorical lip service took place fourteen decades before the Soviet one.

Shall we play out the argument? Define a post-Brezhnev communist with the following characteristics: a monopolist of central authority supported by a fiercely disciplined party apparat, paying lip service to the proletariat while rewarding the ruling class, utilizing polished propaganda organs to maintain a facsimile of popular support with all decisions made by a secretive claque despite facial pretensions of democratic institutions, and creating and maintaining a loving cult of personality for party leadership reaching its apotheosis in the government's unitary, controlling figure.

This describes, I assert, both the late-Soviet model, the current Chinese one, and George W. Bush. That for vast chunks of the population life in advanced capitalist America is functionally identical to a disfavored existence in 1980s Poland -- but with much better movies -- is merely icing on the cake, and not actually applicable to Dear Leader.

Posted by: wcw | Apr 18, 2006 3:17:34 PM

Any liberal ought to be disgusted as the images of McCain stumping for Bush. That ought to be enough to outright reject him.

Posted by: Adrock | Apr 18, 2006 3:26:08 PM

McCain was too progressive to win the election in 2000, what makes you think finidng an even more progressive candidate for yourselves will get you success in 2008? Your ideology is too far from the mainstream of the American population, the reality of the matter is that it is the conservatives who are the true populists in this nation. Liberals are the party of the intellectual, the impoverished, the immoral and the homosexual. The average working man, whether he be rich or poor is far more intuned with the ideology of the Republican Party than they are with the Democrats.

Posted by: shoelimpy™ | Apr 18, 2006 5:49:34 PM

This, I submit, is today's Young Pioneer. I grant, under the Soviet system he would have known how to spell.

Seriously, Ezra, you're going to need a different counterfactual to score rhetorical points next time.

Posted by: wcw | Apr 18, 2006 6:10:05 PM

nice article.

I've been saying this for a while. McCain's love affair with the media has in turn produced an image of him which is remarkably centrist.

But the reality is, this guy is about as conservative as it gets.

Posted by: Tony | Apr 18, 2006 8:29:00 PM

You're missing something if you don't check out shoelimpy's blog. We've all ventured into the dark waters of right-wing blogs before, but I enjoyed the banal proscriptions and prescriptions on how to make absolutely everything (down to table etiquette) just so to please Jesus. In particular, you can read:

How To Raise Good Christian Children
How to Read a Liberal Blog
How to Be a Good Christian Wife

and my favorite...

How Not to Be a Plagiarist

...which is an admonishment to bitches who steal our posts on How to Be a Good Christian Wife.

What really kills me, though, are the blogger profiles where they describe themselves and their personal tastes. These are loaded with bizarre choices which make no sense whatsoever given the material of the blog. For instance, Steer Pike Pie's profile, for example, announces, "ABOUT ME: I AM GOD". AnnieAngel, the same author of the posts listed above, lists her favorite book as the bible (no surprise there), Boogie Nights among her favorite movies, and Tool and Radiohead among her favorite bands. Frickin' Radiohead! I can understand it's possible to detach your admiration of someone's art from their politics, but admiring the music makes no sense here either because Christians of this kind have always hated anything remotely avant garde. Even if she somehow rationalizes the lyrics to be somehow pro-Christian (or at least Christian-compatible), I don't see how she reconciles taste for 'dark/depressing' music (or anything superficially categorized as such) with her worldview.

Posted by: pantomimeHorse | Apr 19, 2006 6:28:52 AM

McCain was too progressive to win the election in 2000, what makes you think finidng an even more progressive candidate for yourselves will get you success in 2008?

Um, I think you mean win the Republican party nomination. There is clear evidence to suggest that McCain, had he won the Republican nomination, would have siphoned off votes from Gore's majority, giving him an even larger "win" than Dubya.

Posted by: Adrock | Apr 19, 2006 5:21:18 PM

Adrock is correct.

And if the election wwere held today, it would be his to lose.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 19, 2006 5:26:50 PM

And if the election wwere held today, it would be his to lose.

The *general* election would be his to lose? With pictures of him hugging a great big manly hunk of 36% approval? Who are the dems running against him, Kucinich?

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Apr 19, 2006 9:58:01 PM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 22, 2007 8:28:59 AM

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