One of the more annoying fictions promoted by the media is the one about John McCain being a moderate. A plain-speaking independent who states it plain and calls it the way he sees it. Of course, it’s long been obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention that he’s a staunch right-winger, but don’t tell that to any of the drooling sycophants who host cable news chat shows. The idea that McCain was some sort free-spirit should have been allayed by the sickening spectacle of his embrace of the President in the 2004 campaign. This is the same President who won the 2000 South Carolina primary only by virtue of a disgusting smear campaign against McCain. But on the off chance that you still find anything to admire in the political career of John McCain, have a look at this article from the New York Sun.
Consider the following excerpt, describing the Q&A following McCain’s presentation to the Manhattan Institute:
Mr. McCain, who delivered his prepared remarks in an even, almost perfunctory manner, was at his best in the question and answer session that followed. Responding to a question about a report that he thinks “intelligent design” should be taught in schools, the senator mocked the idea that American young people were so delicate and impressionable that they needed to be sheltered from the concept, which says God had a hand in creation and which has been challenged by Darwinists as unscientific.
“Shhh, you shouldn’t tell them,” he said, mimicking those who would shield children from the fact that some people believe in intelligent design. The former prisoner of war said he also disagreed with Cold War-era efforts to prevent Marxist-Leninism from being taught in schools, saying it was better for Americans to understand their enemy. He noted that he didn’t say that intelligent design needed to be taught in “science class,” leaving unclear exactly what class he thought it should be taught in. He said he believed local school boards, not the federal government, should determine curricula.
“From a personal standpoint, I believe in evolution,” Mr. McCain said. At the same time, he said, “When I stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and I see the sun going down, I believe the hand of God was there.”
I will revise my opinion of McCain if he seriously meant to imply that the ID folks are the enemies of America in the same way that Soviet style Communism was an enemy during the Cold War. But somehow I don’t think that was his point.
Basically, here we see McCain trying to play all sides of the issue. He begins by aping the creationist talking point that we dogmatic evolutionists are afraid of exposing students to rival ideas. Then he tries to present himself as a courageous, open-minded, present all sides free-thinker. Having thrown a bone to the idiot wing of the party, he then backtracks and says that he never said that ID should be presented in science classes (which, we note, is not the same thing as saying that ID should not be presented in science classes). As the reporter duly notes, he also does not say where he thinks this should be taught. Then he switches gears again, saying the issue is really local control. (That’s a political euphemism for: Please don’t make me take a clear stand on this controversial issue. Discoursing about who ought to decide an issue is a standard way of avoiding having to take a stand.)
And then, just so we don’t think he’s totally in bed with the religious right, he tells us that actually he “believes in” evolution. That’s something, I suppose. But wait! He’s also a deeply spiritual guy. He sees the hand of God in a pretty sunset, after all.
I’ll say it again. “Pro-science Republican&rdquo is an oxymoron. Find me one Republican Presidential hopeful who will defend quality science education and I will revise my view.
Incidentally, in light of my previous post, we shouldn’t let slip the reporter’s statement that Darwinists dismiss ID because it is unscientific. It really drives me wild that this meme is so widespread.