Monday, October 13, 2008

The Trouble with John McCain

For a long time, I've sought a handle to my thoughts about John McCain. Long have I supported him. Long have I watched in anticipation of his second run at the presidency. Then, on the eve of it, I doubt.

As the California primary drew near last summer, I hesitated. I started shopping for a new candidate. The old John McCain wasn't showing up. Something had changed. In the end, I voted for him and on Super Tuesday he didn't win the nomination, but he made it almost unreachable for anyone else.

Now, 22 days from the general election, I hesitate once more. I haven't been able to say just why. I haven't been able to get the handle on the ideas lurking below the surface. Then, today I read Esquire's endorsement of Barack Obama. Beginning the second section were these words:

"Obscured by Obama's dithering is the fact that his Republican counterpart is one of the first presidential candidates in history to run as a parody of himself. John McCain has decided on a cheap and dishonarable campaign. He has embraced the tactics with which he was slandered in 2000, and he has hired the people responsible for them. In so doing, he has become something of a mockery of everything he once purported to be."

That's it. Those are the words I was missing. I've been waiting for 18 months for the John McCain of 2000 to return. I kept thinking that once the nomination was done he'd stop bending to the will of "the base" of his party. When that didn't happen, I kept thinking that John would return at the convention. Then he nominated Sarah Palin and while the tactician in me thought it might have been a brilliant move, whatever passion I had left for John McCain evaporated.

He's not the same man he was. He is a mockery. He has sold his own soul to be the president and it pains me to watch. I liked his immigration plan. I liked his position on torture. I liked the Gang of 14. I didn't like campaign finance reform per se, but I liked the idea of fairness in elections.'s all gone. Lost in the murmur or "Rovian" advisers and focus group panelists. McCain is running the George W. Bush campaign while trying to be distinct and different from Bush. John, you can't have it both ways. You look like a fool trying.

If I wasn't staring at the idea of Nancy Pelosi having a rubber stamp in the Oval Office, I'd hesitate longer. When push comes to shove I'll do like I've done for the entirity of this presidential campaign and hope that once the ballots have been cast my old friend John McCain will come back.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

AmyER said...

Amen my brother. I was pretty sure McCain wasn't always a douche bag, but he sure is now. I don't love everything about Obama, but there is nothing for me to love about McCain (least of all his VP) so I find my choice to be easy. I didn't vote for Bush the first two times and I won't vote for his doppelganger now.