March 21, 2008

He Just Wants to Be Liked--And Other Reasons to Fear John McCain

People respect John McCain. Not because he's the best-looking presidential candidate. (But, then again, who can compare to Pretty Boy Obama?) And not because he's all that bright. (At Annapolis, he graduated 895th out of a graduating class of 899.) No, people respect John McCain because he's genuine, a straight shooter, a man of his word.

Well, that's the perception anyway. The facts tell a different story.

McCain, it seems, is very much of a ... well, very much of a politician.

To put it in plain English, he flip-flops, waffles, pathetically and shamelessly panders to whichever group he's currently trying to win over.

Let's look at a few of the most egregious examples.

  • Abortion. In August 1999, McCain told the San Francisco Chronicle, "[I]n the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade." In the months that followed, he learned how difficult it is to win a Republican primary without the support of Evangelical Christians and by 2006 had completely reversed his position. In November of that year, when George Stephanopoulous asked if he favored overturning Roe vs. Wade, McCain answered, "Yes, because I'm a federalist."

  • Immigration. In 2005, McCain joined forces with Ted Kennedy and introduced a bill which, among other things, would have offered amnesty to illegal immigrants. In an interview with Tim Russert in January of this year, he said that, as president, he would sign the bill into law. Then, in a Republican presidential debate just a few days later, he claimed that, if the bill came to the Senate floor, he would vote against it.

The list of McCain flip-flops goes on and on, from campaign finance reform to whether South Carolina should fly the Confederate flag. Which raises the question: Why on earth is he almost universally lauded as a man of courage and conviction? If Bill Clinton was a deemed a waffler, then why is ole Johnny getting a free pass?

Some might be tempted to point out that, unlike Slick Willy, at least McCain isn't afraid to admit his faults. Regarding the Confederate flag controversy, for instance, he eventually came around and apologized for leading South Carolina conservatives to believe that he supported flying the flag. "I feared that if I answered honestly," he later admitted, "I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles."

But, wonderful as it is that McCain sometimes admits his wrongdoing, this doesn't excuse him for continuing to do wrong! Even loving, forgiving Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more.