When asked last Thursday at a Town Hall meeting, “When are you going to take the gloves off?”, McCain’s smirky reply was, “How about Tuesday night?” One can guess that McCain will continue to besmirch what credibility he once had even further in tonight’s debate. At what point does someone realize just how far they’ve sunk and decide enough’s enough?
To quickly encapsulate McCain’s fall from grace, here’s a snippet from yesterday’s THE NEW YORKER article by its editors:
In South Carolina in 2000, Bush crushed John McCain with a sub-rosa primary campaign of such viciousness that McCain lashed out memorably against Bush’s Christian-right allies. So profound was McCain’s anger that in 2004 he flirted with the possibility of joining the Democratic ticket under John Kerry. Bush, who took office as a “compassionate conservative,” governed immediately as a rightist ideologue. During that first term, McCain bolstered his reputation, sometimes deserved, as a “maverick” willing to work with Democrats on such issues as normalizing relations with Vietnam, campaign-finance reform, and immigration reform. He co-sponsored, with John Edwards and Edward Kennedy, a patients’ bill of rights. In 2001 and 2003, he voted against the Bush tax cuts. With John Kerry, he co-sponsored a bill raising auto-fuel efficiency standards and, with Joseph Lieberman, a cap-and-trade regime on carbon emissions. He was one of a minority of Republicans opposed to unlimited drilling for oil and gas off America’s shores.
Since the 2004 election, however, McCain has moved remorselessly rightward in his quest for the Republican nomination. He paid obeisance to Jerry Falwell and preachers of his ilk. He abandoned immigration reform, eventually coming out against his own bill. Most shocking, McCain, who had repeatedly denounced torture under all circumstances, voted in February against a ban on the very techniques of “enhanced interrogation” that he himself once endured in Vietnam—as long as the torturers were civilians employed by the C.I.A.
On almost every issue, McCain and the Democratic Party’s nominee, Barack Obama, speak the generalized language of “reform,” but only Obama has provided a convincing, rational, and fully developed vision. McCain has abandoned his opposition to the Bush-era tax cuts and has taken up the demagogic call—in the midst of recession and Wall Street calamity, with looming crises in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—for more tax cuts. Bush’s expire in 2011. If McCain, as he has proposed, cuts taxes for corporations and estates, the benefits once more would go disproportionately to the wealthy.
It sure seems, to anyone not afraid to look, that McCain has been bought and sold; that his desire to be president is greater than his desire for decency. John McCain is probably not a bad man, but he is most certainly a very misguided and very bitter man. And that makes him a dangerous man if given presidential authority. As a self-proclaimed “maverick“, his snap decisions are often ill-considered and do more damage than good. With the power bestowed to the president of the United States, I do not personally feel comfortable with the imprudent decision-making qualities of a “maverick” like John McCain. And, just a pet-peeve of mine, calling yourself a “maverick” is like calling yourself a “brilliant artist”. It’s really something for others to decide. Sarah Palin jumping on that bandwagon and adding herself to that terminology (“We’re just a couple of mavericks.”) is somewhat embarrassing to watch. Not to mention a little creepy.
But I digress… A senior Republican operative told the Washington Post outright:
“There’s no question that we have to change the subject here.”
McCain adviser Greg Strimple was even more direct. He said McCain is “looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis.”
In her reflections on John McCain’s campaign and his fall from grace, Arianna Huffington stated:
McCain and his hatchet mom VP nominee are hoping to expose the “real” Barack Obama to the people of America; but what they are really exposing is how morally corrupt McCain has become. And how complete has been his transformation from a noble reformer, willing to stand up to his own party when it failed to meet his moral code, into an ignoble hack, willing to abandon his most deeply held values in his lust for the presidency.
Back in 2000, John McCain lambasted George Bush and Karl Rove for their disgraceful attacks against him during the election:
“Sooner or later people are going to figure out that if all you run is negative attack ads you don’t have much of a vision for the future, or you’re not ready to articulate it.”
So what happened? Especially now that McCain has hired those VERY SAME PEOPLE to run his campaign!
It would seem to me that promises were made and the price for those promises is extremely high. And though John McCain may pay for them with his reputation, dignity and pride, it is we as Americans and the world around us that will pay an even deeper price. One no amount of therapy could repair.
Tonight’s debate will be fascinating and telling. It may also be upsetting. It’s altogether possible, in fact highly likely, that we’ll be hearing the names “Ayers, Wright and Rezko” pouring from Sen. McCain’s lips more than we’ll be hearing about his policies, ideas, ideologies, solutions or even simple opinions. We can only hope that Sen. Obama will maintain his dignity and poise throughout and lead by example. Even though the Obama campaign decided to bring up the Keating Five scandal yesterday, let’s hope it’s the only skeleton they choose to pull out of McCain’s stuffed closet. The Keating Five scandal is directly linked to the financial crisis and is not uncalled for, though it could backfire if seen simply as a reaction to McCain and Palin’s smears. As for Palin herself, one can only assume her role in all this will be historically viewed not unlike Catherine Harris‘ role in the Florida recount scandal: a misguided pawn thrust into the spotlight, too detached from reality to truly recognize the ridiculousness of her own situation and too self-absorbed to have the decency to know when she is in over her head. She has made a mockery of the office of the president and vice president, even more than George Bush and Dick Cheney have. Which I wasn’t sure was possible given the outrageousness of actions taken and statements made these past 8 years.
And in response to McCain’s recent accusation that Sen. Obama is “dangerous”, ask yourself, while watching tonight, what you want America to be. For yourself and for others. Both here and abroad. And what kind of President you would want to represent us, both in his actions, demeanor and ideals? And who will make decisions based on thoughtful introspection and the advice of those around him who are suited to the task? John McCain’s campaign is in trouble. Tonight may be an indicator, good or bad, of how he will react in a crisis. Certainly his immediate response to the economic disaster on Wall Street was widely seen as “panic” when he suggested halting the presidential campaign and postponing the debates, something everyone agreed was ill-considered and unnecessary. Even many McCain-supporting Republicans.
Imagine John McCain as president during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Do you think he has what it takes to come to the same conclusions that John Kennedy did; a decision that pulled us away from the brink of nuclear disaster? I do not believe, from anything he has said or done, that he would have made the right decision. Certainly not based on his proposed foreign policy approach, nor on his actions during this campaign, nor on his voting record. However, I believe Mr. Obama would not just “react”, but would deeply consider all possibilities, hear all points of view, before making a decision of such magnitude.
Now ask yourself what Sarah Palin would do.