The Editorials of E. Desiderius

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Senator McCain: The Death of An Honest Man

Senator John McCain was a rare breed of politician: a “maverick” who spoke of integrity, courage and character, a uniter who reached across the entire ideological spectrum and a war hero, who bravely served his nation. He endured the pain and humiliation of torture, and then returned home to dedicate his life to public service. Admiration and respect for Senator McCain defied party lines. In the darkest days of the Bush presidency, liberals and progressives cheered a good many of his high profile stands against the Bush Administration and their Congressional Republicans allies. Independents and even Democrats crossed party lines to vote for McCain in 2000, giving him a string of victories, starting in New Hampshire and continuing until Mr. Bush’s slightly underhanded victory in South Carolina.

Which makes it even more unfortunate that the man who was once revered for his principle and lack of partisanship has now so blatantly become the latest victim of political opportunism. McCain’s sharp rightward tact has been well-covered: Paul Krugman in the New York Times [1], the New Republic’s blog [2] and Daily-Kos [3] are among the venerable outlets who have commented on McCain’s sad string of panders and policy reversals. The facts are in: McCain will vote to preserve the fiscally irresponsible tax cuts which he once opposed, has made up with Jerry Falwell, who believes that Jews are damned to the firepits of hell (and who McCain once decried in the strongest of terms), and has embraced the worst elements of the religious right.

Senator McCain’s book for young people, “Character is Destiny” is a look at thirty-four inspiring stories from history, such as Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Thomas More, Ghandi, and others. This author must sadly wonder if Mr. McCain has truly taken these tales to heart. For a long time, the Senator was the model of intellectual and public honesty, and the mold of a great politician in an age of blind partisanship. His newly found love for the most intolerant elements of the Evangelical Right, and the intellectual dishonestly and bad fiscal policy of the Bush Administration do not diminish his accomplishments on issues like the torture ban, or campaign finance reform, nor his years spent as a courageous maverick. However, they indicate a man jaded by Washington, and possessed by a Machiavellian desire for a stab at the Presidency. Mr. McCain would do well to re-read his own book, for character in Washington is too often just an empty catch phrase, and for a long while, it seemed that Mr. McCain was one of the few who possessed any.

-E. Desiderius

[1] NY Times Select – John and Jerry
[2] The New Republic Online – The Plank – Straight Talk Follies
DailyKos – Straight Talk Spinning on Meet the Press

Posted by George Gordon | Monday, April 03, 2006 | E-mail this post

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