Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Resting on His Laurels

Okay, one more post about why John McCain is no longer the "maverick" and the man of integrity he once was.

I just read over at ABC.com that McCain has hired Tucker Eskew to assist in preparing Sarah Palin for her role as a running mate. It goes on to say, "Former officials of Sen. John McCain's 2000 campaign expressed shock and disbelief Monday to learn than the GOP presidential nominee had hired South Carolina political consultant Tucker Eskew. Eskew, along with Warren Tompkins and Neal Rhodes, were key members of then-Gov. George W. Bush's South Carolina team during the 2000 primaries. McCain and his team long held Bush, Tompkins, Rhodes and Eskew responsible for the various smears against McCain and his family in the Palmetto state during that contentious contest." Asked if there would be any comment from the McCain campaign on its use of a person who previously "left a deep scar on" the McCains, "McCain 2008 spokesman Brian Rogers emailed, 'No.'"

These are the people who conducted polls in SC reminding voters of the Keating Five scandal and saying that the McCains' daughter Bridget (adopted from Bangladesh) was an illegitimate black child fathered by McCain. As I've said before, attacking my child would immediately and forever render those people dead to me no matter how high I ever made it on the political ladder. I would think that any parent would feel the same way.

But not John McCain. He now not only takes advice from Karl Rove, the mastermind of those smears, he has just hired the very man who executed the smear strategy against his family. This, to me, goes to character. This tells me that John McCain will do anything to win, even abandon his principles--and his family honor. Everyone keeps saying that McCain is a "man of honor," that he has "integrity." I'm not seeing it these days, folks. Maybe he used to be. Maybe there was a time when John McCain was the maverick of his party, when he said what needed to be said damn the polls. But if we are all honest with ourselves, we all know that this is not the John McCain running for President of the United States today. The John McCain running today is counting on people maintaining their opinion of him from 8 years ago rather than opening their eyes and seeing the John McCain who exists today.

The John McCain who actively recruits and hires the people who smeared his daughter.
The John McCain who runs patently false ads about his opponent, and who refuses to stop running them even when multiple media outlets report on the clearly false and misleading elements of the ads--all after pledging to run an honest and decent campaign.
The John McCain who minimizes the sacrifices of so many POWs by using his experience as an excuse to not answer valid questions about his policy positions.
The John McCain who so desperately needed to shore up the hardline evangelical base of his party that he impulsively picked someone he had barely vetted. (Why else are the McCain people only NOW going to Alaska to do the research? See this NYT article detailing the almost non-vetting of Sarah Palin nytimes.com)

No, folks. John McCain is a maverick no more. He's no longer that guy we remember (and who I once actually considered seriously voting for). He's no longer the guy who will tell us what we need to hear rather than what we want to hear. In fact, he's now specifically the guy who is telling each wing of his party what they individually want to hear. He's picking running mates based on political considerations rather than governing considerations. He's making impulsive decisions on important issues. He's using his POW years as a means of not having to explain his decisions. He's showing himself as an impulsive, easily-led decisionmaker. In short, he's a walking, talking definition of projection:

Been in a few movies and on Leno 13 times? Obama's a celebrity!
Own seven houses and wear $500 shoes? Obama's an elitist!
Pick an unqualified running mate to be a hair's breadth from the Presidency so that the right wing Christians will vote for you? Obama doesn't put country first!

I've seen all I need to see to know that the image of John McCain as this outsider, this principled maverick, this straight-shooting do-gooder is just that: an image. The real John McCain, the one running in 2008, bears no resemblance to that image; but he's sure hoping you won't notice.

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