A Lesson in Lack of Conviction

How I feel about Sen. John McCain–the politician, not the American war hero–is no secret.  He unnecessarily pulled punches or avoided throwing them in the first place throughout the 2008 presidential election, and he was easily the worst GOP nominee that I can remember.  Well, Bob Dole wasn’t sending thrills up anyone’s leg, either.

Time and time again, McCain has crossed the aisle when he hasn’t had to, always at the expense of conservatives and basic conservative values. His lack of understanding of–or utter contempt for–the First Amendment was put on display with his Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act. His failure to comprehend the impact of illegal immigration on our economy, our health care system, our criminal justice system, our culture and more was instrumental in his development–with Ted Kennedy, no less–of his [thankfully] failed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. His obsession with the farce and facade for global socialism that is man-made global warming was at the root of his failed Climate Change bill authored with Joe Lieberman, and his stubbornness on cap-and-trade and Alaskan drilling turned off more conservatives thoughout the 2008 election than Susan Estrich’s voice on the other end of a phone-sex line. He doesn’t understand the value of tax cuts. He still cannot comprehend the need for Guantanamo Bay. He patently refused to drop the gloves and hit hard the most undervetted, underqualified and unknown presidential candidate in our nation’s history.

It took him until near the middle of October to run an advertisement pointing out Barack Obama’s association with William Ayers, the still-unrepentant domestic terrorist who on September 11, 2001 told The New York Times that his organization, the Weather Underground, had not done enough, and who in 2007 told the BBC that violence to advance his fanatical Marxist ideology was appropriate and just fine.  He only gave glancing mention to Obama’s long-time friendship with Tony Rezko, the corrupt Syrian Businessman with whom Obama had dealt with on a number of issues ranging from the real estate deal surrounding his own southside Chicago home to Iraqi government contracts worth tens of millions of dollars (and for which Rezko faced RICO charges).  He never brought up Rashid Khalidi, long-time friend and even babysitter for Barack and Michelle Obama, nor did he satisfactorily touch upon Obama’s Holy Trinity of Hatemongering Spiritual Advisors — Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Otis Moss III, and Fr. Michael Pfleger.

And yet, after McCain watched Obama get elected, he suddenly realized that he had an election to win in 2010, and donned the “conservative” hat–however transparent–that he should have been wearing throughout 2008.  In February of 2009, he came out against the stimulus bill, telling reporters that “no bill is better than this bill.”  (Coming from McCain, I had to read that statement twice.)  Throughout last year and into this year, he came out as downright hawkish when it came to matters of health care reform, going toe-to-toe with the president more aggressively than he ever had done during the election at the Blair House meeting between the parties and gave some great floor speeches during the health care debate.  And finally, when the time came for him to secure his reelection against talk radio host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, McCain kicked it up a notch.

From a piece by Pat Buchanan, which ran Tuesday at Human Events:

When J.D. announced, and surged to within five points of McCain, the senator did not hesitate to call in Sarah Palin, though his own staff aides from the 2008 campaign had been trashing her as a lightweight and principal cause of McCain’s defeat.

McCain then repudiated his famous “maverick” moniker as a misnomer, as it implied that he had been First RINO (Republican in name only), who had relished siding with Democrats against his own party — a practice that had endeared McCain to the mainstream media.

McCain then joined Sen. Jon Kyl in proposing a 10-point border security plan calling for a fence and troops. John Amnesty of 2007 was now doing a passable imitation of Tom Tancredo 2008.

McCain used much of his $20 million war chest to savage J.D. on radio and TV, then created an ad with him walking the border with no-nonsense Sheriff Paul Babeu, saying, “Complete the dang fence!” and Babeu responding, “Senator, you’re one of us.”

While J.D. ran a courageous campaign, he never got the support to which his conservative record entitled him, and lost by 24 points.

McCain’s victory has cost him dearly with a national press that loathed the campaign he conducted. Many concur with the Democratic National Committee, which charged McCain with selling his soul to win his renomination. From the network studios in New York to the newsrooms of Washington, McCain is no longer Lancelot, but Mordred.

Yet, he did what he had to do to keep his job. And he has kept his job for six more years.

Had he been as ruthlessly opportunistic and pragmatic in his run against Barack Obama as he was in the campaign against J.D., McCain would be president now.

That last sentence, “[h]ad he been as ruthlessly opportunistic and pragmatic in his run against Barack Obama as he was in the campaign against J.D., McCain would be president now,” is the reason I wanted to touch upon Sen. McCain today, as I await my flight to the city which seems to have such a commanding effect upon people so as to render them soulless.

Now, I still maintain that, in the long-term, the United States of America is better off for having had Barack Obama win the 2008 presidential election, provided that we survive until 2012.  I have always been of the opinion that, just as a perennially reckless driver needs a newfound perspective on the importance of life that only a nasty car wreck can bring, most Americans need a reminder of just what freedom and liberty mean to them.  This administration should provide that kick in the pants.  I only hope that the Jaws of Life are successful in extracting America from the pile of twisted metal.

Still, Sen. McCain’s overt repudiation of his own self makes me sick to my stomach.  While I never appreciated his failure to understand–nonetheless espouse–conservative principles, I understood all too well that John McCain was John McCain, and I knew what to expect from him.

Even worse is the lack of contrition.  I have heard, over and over again from Republicans that I trust, that they have learned their lesson from when the GOP was so spendthrift as to look like the Democratic Party at quick glance.  From McCain, all I see is a change in position. No explanation.  No apology.  Nothing.  It’s as if he’s hoping nobody will notice.

Well, I notice.  Pat Buchanan noticed.  And, after taking a look at the advertisement Buchanan referenced in his piece, if you haven’t noticed already I think you’ll notice as well.

How sad that this is the man in Barry Goldwater’s seat.



  1. Randy Wills says:

    Great piece, Jeff, and I agree with you 100% on McCain. Maybe the good news is that he DOES respond to voter opinion (at least when his own hide is in jepordy) so perhaps he will at least vote with the Conservatives on immigration and economic-recovery issues after election day.

    Obviously, running up to the national election for the presidency in 2008, his motivation was not to demonstrate any true convictions but to embrace the greatest number of voters possible, regardless of where they were positioned on the issues.

    John McCain lost the election when he “suspended” his campaign, returning to D.C. and then demonstrating zero influence or leadership on the bank bailout.


  2. Anonymous says:

    “I only hope that the Jaws of Life are successful in extracting America from the pile of twisted metal.”

    Looks like the Jaws of Death are ahead right now.

  3. Pale-in comparison says:

    Such a stale politician, sure picked a refreshing running mate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shoot, I was pulling for J D.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another Robert Byrd in the making. Why do people insist on turning to dust in their Senate seat before giving someone else a chance?

  6. Anonymous says:

    He should have stuck to flying A4′s.

  7. Gail B. says:

    Back during the 2008 campaign, I watched obama give his pep talks, watched his style, watched his mannerisms, and listened to his “no message” message. I watched John McCain stand still, talk quietly, stir no emotion, offer no argument, challenge no one.

    And then he said, “Complete the danged fence.” Why not just say, “Complete the damned fence” and be done with it?!

    McCain is a military hero, to be sure; but a political leader? Not so much in my opinion. Sarah Palin was an absolute blessing for him–the MSM put her in the spotlight–and so McCain, too–during the campaign. The fact that Sarah had to come to his rescue tells me a lot about who should have been the presidential candidate for the Republicans.

    ANYBODY would have been better in the WH than what we have stealing from us now!!!

  8. Mike says:

    He went far right to kiss your ass in 2008 and you’re mad because he happens to be pragmatic on a few issues that miff you guys off like immigration and environment.

    Go ahead, purge him out. While you’re at it, purge out the gays, blacks, Hispanics, women, youth, the whole country so you can have your pure true conservative party! Oh wait, that already happened.

    I forsee Democrats winning the White House for many years, way to go guys!

  9. Gail B. says:

    Wonder what Mike has been smoking?!

  10. Anonymous says:

    R O F L M A O

    Mike is delusional

    Been hitting the Oval Office weed?


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