Snuggles McCain demonstrating his vaunted ‘independence’
It seems more and more people are finally paying close attention to Mitt Romney and John McCain. While I’ve talked about Romney’s idiocy before, The Boston Phoenix did a great job of skewering McCain, so I’ll turn it over to them:
Arizona senator John McCain appears to be the nation’s most popular Republican. That, at least, is what most polls show. It’s not entirely clear why. He has authored little noteworthy legislation during his 20 years in the Senate and, in fact, has accomplished almost nothing beyond co-sponsoring the McCain-Feingold Act — campaign-finance legislation that has failed to stem the influence of money in politics.
Not that he cares. McCain took up the cause of campaign finance only to salvage his reputation and political career, after getting caught as one of the “Keating 5,” who pressured federal agents to drop their investigation into one of their biggest campaign financiers.
McCain is not only cynical and opportunistic, he’s a hypocrite: when asked this past Sunday by George Stephanopoulos whether he intends to opt out of his own campaign restrictions, as John Kerry did in 2004, McCain would not rule it out.
McCain specializes in seizing on, and grandstanding about, feel-good issues like campaign-finance reform. He decries torture, steroid use in baseball, and Internet porn.
On tougher issues, he bends to whatever his political needs might be at any given moment. Currently seeking the Republican nomination, he is tacking hard to the right. He once defended Roe v. Wade; now he staunchly favors overturning it. Last year he stopped the Senate Republicans from deploying the “nuclear option” to confirm reactionary judges; last week he spoke to the conservative Federalist Society about the importance of appointing and confirming ideologically pure “originalists.” He voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003; this year he voted to make them permanent.
But his most cynical, and dangerous, campaign ploy is his insistence that the US must send more troops to Iraq.
As with his shameless embrace of campaign-finance reform after getting caught out on the issue, McCain has taken his most recent position on Iraq to salvage his reputation — now that his longstanding Iraq-war boosterism has turned into a political liability. By calling for more troops — which he knows will never happen — McCain will be able to claim that he could have averted whatever horrible events are in store for Iraq in the future.
Of course, to flog this policy he must, as he did on Sunday, agree in principle to sending already over-used troops back for third and fourth tours in the killing zone.
How can a former prisoner of war do this to US soldiers? Well, how could he tacitly approve of the Swift Boat slander of his friend John Kerry’s heroic military service? How could he bite his tongue at the convention where Republican delegates wore purple Band-Aids to mock Kerry’s Purple Heart?
John McCain has proven he is capable of doing anything if it serves his own political interest. He almost got America to buy his act in 2000; voters should be warier this time around.
Not so much ‘straight talk.’ Regarding Iraq, I don’t know if McCain is cynical or just insane. Either way, we need a coherent plan to leave Iraq. More of the same isn’t a plan, and that’s all we’ll get with Snuggles McCain.
One more thing: McCain has attempted to build an anti-pork barrel spending image. Yet, despite his annual complaints about how much Congress spends, he has never once even attempted a filibuster. Another question someone needs to ask the Straight Bullshit Express.