Sen John McCain
(R-AZ), still soiled from a chummy sit down with his favorite “agent of intolerance,” Rev Jerry Falwell of the new and improved Moral Majority, has put out a feeler for a speaking invitation to Bob Jones University – the premier madras of Christian fundamentalism. Apparently BJU’s policy against interracial dating is no longer an issue for McCain, as it was in 2000. True, when it became public knowledge, Reverend Bob rescinded his racist, control-freak diktat, but have his separatist impulses gone away, too? Just like that?
Supporting Bush and his war may have been McCain’s self-imposed, partisan, and “patriotic” duty, but as a candidate for president he runs the risk that all this sucking-up to his former mortal enemies might alienate the people who gave him an 18 point victory over Bush in the 2000 NH primary. Granite Staters proudly wear the mantle of having the lowest per capita regular church attendance in the nation.
Reaching out to all Americans is an admirable strategy for a presidential candidate, but it’s not the same as being all things to all people. As another Republican upstart once said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time…”
The aegis of the religious right is crucial to winning the Republican presidential nomination. No one’s arguing that point – not yet anyway. But would John McCain rather be president than be right? Maybe not. He refuses to sign on to the gay marriage amendment; he supports stem cell research, and opposes torture – it seems all he has in common with his preachy friends are impeccable pro-life credentials, tax-cuts for the rich, a thirst for power, and his warmongering.
And warmongering is the word for it. Since he went to Congress in 1983, McCain has strapped himself like Slim Pickens to every cruise missile America has launched. In fact, John McCain has met nary a military option he didn’t adore. His best buddy in the senate, fellow NamVet Sen Chuck Hagel (R-NE), took a principled, if un-Republican, powder from Bush’s Iraq debacle earlier this year. But McCain soldiers on, acting more like an administration official than a member of the upper house. If Bush has given him a single rationale for the war in Iraq that has even a whiff of truth to it, he should share it with us.
While other “mavericks,” such as Rep Chris Shays (R-CT), are leaping from Bush’s ramparts, McCain remains steadfast – as he did for Reagan’s invasion of Grenada, the illegal contra war against Nicaragua, and the air-strike on Khadafi that killed his 3-year old daughter; he was first in line for Bush1’s invasion of Panama, and then for the Gulf War; he endorsed Clinton’s air war in the Balkans and the land invasion of Somalia; he defends Bush2’s occupation of Iraq as if it were his own idea, and: now he’s on the Iran kick:
"To preemptively forswear options is to weaken our diplomatic hand," said McCain. "In the end, there is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran."
And that’s why he was the neo-con candidate-of-choice in 2000, and should he choose to run, will be again in 2008.
McCain has never been discriminating about when and where to send in the troops, but that’s a virtue for a Republican candidate. His problem is that he desperately needs the imprimatur of Republican officialdom, which unfortunately for him and the rest of the country has been hijacked by a bevy of thieves, thugs, and holy rollers. How having their blessing will ultimately affect the fans of the legendary, straight-talking McCain is a calculated feint that he’s apparently willing to make.
Instead of plotting a strategy that he believes will play well in Talabama on Super Tuesday 2008, he might, at 70-years old, be content with elder statesmanship – using his power to truly serve his country by moving his party back to where the man he replaced in the US Senate, Barry Goldwater, could stomach it. Goldwater was a true conservative who once sagely said, "I don't have any respect for the Religious Right. Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass.”
C’mon John, show us some of Goldwater’s guts.
Also see: John McCain, McCaining, One more time