Monday, November 21, 2005

McCain: Dream Candidate?

Ever since Bush's swiftboating of McCain in the 2000 primaries, the senior senator from Arizona has been hailed as the moderate, thoughtful Republican. Lately, however, people on both left and right, including myself, have been starting to question the veracity of the conventional wisdom regarding McCain.

My curiosity on this subject was picqued today when I found this from Atrios:
I'll never understand certain liberals love affair with John McCain. I'll set my bar slightly higher than "not as obviously incompetent and evil as George Bush" thank you.

Now we find out that McCain is speaking at a fundraiser for George Wallace, Jr, someone who gave a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens four times, including once this year.

The CCC is one of those rare explicitly bonafide racist organizations: one that considers African Americans "a retrograde species of humanity," and fought previously for segregation (it currently takes a stand against "integration of the races").

That McCain was willing to fundraise for such a despicable organization's congressional mouthpiece is bad in itself, but it seems like merely the latest in a pattern of McCain pandering to hard-right groups. The Carpetbagger notes that, in 2000, McCain took a stand against Falwell and Robertson (calling them out by name) during his presidential bid, but that McCain has reconsidered such principles now that Christian conservatives appear to hold the keys to the White House. Earlier this year he met with Falwell, too, which wouldn't be all that significant by itself, but it follows on the heels of McCain's endorsement of Intelligent Design and an anti-gay amendment in Arizona (nota bene: contrary to popular belief, the anti-gay marriage actually jives with his beliefs as late as last year when he opposed a similar ban on the federal level: he's just always believed the states should be the ones to enshrine his bigotry).

In a mediocre article called "The Bushification of John McCain" Ari Melber notes that McCain has even caved on Bush's tax cuts, in September supporting keeping them despite rising Katrina costs. Yet McCain opposed those very tax cuts and voted against them previously.

So, how exactly is McCain "moderate" or a "maverick"? Are we supposed to consider him "reasonable" just because he's against torture now, 2 years later, when EVERYONE is angry about what's going on? Is that really how low our standards have sunk? Or on the other hand, is he actually moderate, but willing to sell out on his principles for a stamp of approval from the wackos, the lobbyists, and the bigots? Is that any better?

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