Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Straight Shooter Doesn't Shoot Straight

Senator John McCain, the straightshooter of yore, is no longer a straightshooter. Too bad. Of all the Republicans, I respected most John McCain because I believed he was an honest straightshooter. No longer. “Maverick” McCain is so thirsty for power that he is flip-flopping like a bird of prey in order to endear himself to those he had formerly abhorred. Instead of shooting straight, McCain is shooting all the way over to the right.

After calling Rev. Jerry Falwall an "agent of intolerance" and an "evil influence," McCain made a commencement address to the students of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell's religious-Right institution. What did McCain say? Nothing much, at least not anything political. He said:

"Americans deserve more than tolerance from one another. We deserve each other's respect, whether we think each other right or wrong in our views."

A beautiful statement, with which I heartily agree. I'm sure most of us Americans agree with it as well. I guess this is why he is getting plaudits from the press and the pundits.

However, McCain has skillfully changed the subject. He had called Falwell an "evil influence" and now Falwell is his budy. It isn't just Falwell. I thought McCain was against America becoming a theocracy. Does he think a theocracy is not so bad now? He let me down.

McCain has made other flip-flops. At one time McCain was the champion of campaign finance reform. He got Feingold to team up with him to produce the McCain-Feingold law to reduce the influence of money. Unfortunately, the law did not work. The influence of money is greater today than it has ever been. Yet, when McCain was recently asked if he would go further with regard to campaign finance reform, he said "No." I did not expect this. He let me down again.

I was especially impressed with McCain because of his position on Bush's tax cuts, when he said in May 2001:

"I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief."

Then in February of this year, he voted to extend Bush's tax cuts on dividends and capital gains. He let me down a third time.

John McCain let me down on fighting theocracy, fighting for democracy by reducing the influence of money and helping the middle-class with tax cuts.

I know what some of you will say. McCain is the same old McCain. He just has to get all factions of the GOP to work with him if he is to ever become president. If this is so, he is not independent, not a "maverick," not someone who will go against the wishes of bigwigs in the party.

The GOP caters to the rich and to the religious right. And so does and will John McCain. The straightshooter is straightshooter no more.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 15, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #148374

John will come on strong and may make it and in due course will be the Jimmy Carter of the r’s.
What will I do now. Who will I appoint. We have to do what? Where did they all go.

Posted by: manormilt at May 15, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #148407

As usual, I agree with Paul, however, McCain has always been an arch conservative( not a Neo Con), his views on choice, unfair trade, unions and pro war issues is to the Right of every Democrat except for the Dumbass Lieberman faction…don’t be surprised if these 2 Fakes team up to fool US citizens again that they really care about the poor and middle class…they don’t. Feingold, Boxer and Dean are great examples of a people with real people’s values that last. Vote Progressive, screw the rest!!
Dan Kenney

Posted by: dan at May 15, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #148413

I share your disappointment Paul. I have always held that McCain had integrity. Politically, he is disintegrating before our very eyes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #148447

Some people will sleep with just about anybody to get elected.

I will remain optimistic until I see his policies.

Posted by: Rocky at May 15, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #148456


McCain is moving to a middle ground, so to speak. He knows that he must move toward the right in order to earn a shot at the Republican nomination. He is doing precisely what Hillary Clinton is doing on the left, though her move is truly toward the middle. It may alienate the left side of the Democratic party, but her hope is to have a chance nationally. If she is the darling of the left side of the Dem party, it puts her in more trouble with the national electorate.

I’ve expected McCain to take heat from the left. Many candidates look good from a distance, but the closer they get, the more nits there are to pick. Also, McCain has been the ‘other’ guy for the past 6 years, and as such, the Dems have loved every time that he went against Bush. Now that he is again a viable candidate, they turn on him like a pack of wolves, and will pick some ‘other’ guy to support.

Its all part of the game.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at May 15, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #148464

JBOD, McCain’s platform has never been mainstream. His stand on issues alienates many on the left and right. The one quality and trait that commanded respect from the mainstream was his integrity. He has always stood for religious freedom and implicitly for the wall between religion and government. He has caved on that stand for political gain. There goes his integrity. Having given up integrity for political gain will become easier and easier for him, from now on. That is the way of addiction to power. That is one of the many ways power corrupts.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #148467

I was disappointed when McCain caved on the Torture Issue. I suppose it is to be expected from someone who cooperated with the VietCong and later fathered a Black Baby.

Posted by: Aldous at May 15, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #148473

Why do all Dems assume that McCain is actually a moderate and not the worst weathervane the Dems or Republicans could ever hope for. If he says something that sounds remotely sane he will recant as he probably ran into Denny Hastert, Bill Frist or Trent Lott somewhere in a Capitol Building hallway. McCain is all over the place when it comes to any issue and says what he says to save his own behind and campaign contributions from the RNC, nothing more.

His Campaign Finance reform was frought with wily loopholes, His stance on torture a beleagered compromise, his anything is always a duplicitous mess. He speaks popularism and can throw a fairly good one liner, that’s his claim to fame—empty charisma. The record is an overly compromised mess that smacks of political popularity and not principal.

The dems need to get over this idiotic love affair. He seems likeable—that’s it.

But to be fair, the right wing does hold his campaign funding and could cull them back should he not “play ball”.

Posted by: Novenge at May 15, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #148478
the Dems have loved every time that he went against Bush. Now that he is again a viable candidate, they turn on him like a pack of wolves, and will pick some ‘other’ guy to support.

JBOD, the left is disenchanted with McCain because he caved on the issues Paul points out in his article. I hope he’s just posturing and — after the election (win or lose) — will once again be his own man, but who knows.

Aldous, you’re right. The right wing of the Republican Party will never trust him. It’s like a lot of GOP strategists tell Bush when, once in a while, he wants to pursue a middle/lower class agenda: “Those guys won’t vote for you no matter what you do for them. Why bother pandering to ‘em?”

Anyhow, I think McCain’s shooting himself in the foot. He’s alienating the independent vote and he won’t make any serious gains on the far right.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #148481

Correction to above: “…smacks of political popularity and not principal.”

I meant “smacks of political ‘opportunism’ and not principal” as that actually makes more sense.

Posted by: Novenge at May 15, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #148486

JBOD, I can’t equate McCain chumming with Jerry FoulMouth as moving toward the middle ground. Jerry FoulMouth is as far from the Middle Ground of Americans as the Communist Party is in the other direction.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #148535

I was very simpathetic to straight talkin McCain when I witnessed his political sodomy in the GOP primaries at the hand of the Rove Bushco team in 2000. I actually thought I would vote for him if he ever got the nod for President…..until 2004 when he stood on stage and gave his endorsement to Bush.

I really thought he sold out to the far right for political gain. I had hoped he would put his conscious ahead of his political ambitions and call out the swiftboaters in defense of Kerry. I believe that showed his true colors and in doing so lost my support.

Posted by: reed at May 16, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #148565

I agree with the sentiment that he is doing what he has to do to win the nomination. I give him credit - he could have said the hell with it all. He is playing it smart.

If elected, he will either be the reasonable person he can be or extreme. My bet is reasonable.

Posted by: Schwamp at May 16, 2006 8:18 AM
Comment #148566


I wasn’t all that clear about McCain’s move to the center. I meant the center of the Republican party, as opposed to the national center. He has been seen as much further left than the mainstream Republican party, so his move is to the right, which puts him more central in the party. It would be the same thing (in reverse) as a Joe Lieberman moving left in order to center himself in the Democratic party.

The reality is that McCain in the past couple elections might have had a better chance running as an independent than as a Republican. I stated a couple months ago that a third party made up of McCain, Lieberman and members of the Gang of 14 might be the only truly viable 3rd party. Most 3rd parties are at the outer fringes of the Dem and Rep parties, meaning they are not central at all. So they appeal wildly to a small group of voters, but not to enough voters to be a factor. But a 3rd party made up of those in the middle—-that might have some promise.

Lastly, David, you should know that while I disagree with your opinions and conclusions often, I have a high level of respect for your logic and thought process. Which is why I am left wondering about your descent into namecalling. Its not something I’ve seen from you before—it was rather surprising to see something that far from your usual standards. There will always be those with whom we disagree, but calling them childish names is….well, its simply childish, don’t you think?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at May 16, 2006 8:25 AM
Comment #148577

I really don’t understand why all you liberals are ganging up on poor old Johny Mac. Big deal, so he sold out to try to win an election. He’s a Republican and that’s what Republicans do. Duh!!

Posted by: Gedunk at May 16, 2006 9:41 AM
Comment #148582

Senators make bad Presidential candidates. Their records are full of compromises and they are accustomed to playing all sides of an issue. You have to be a deal maker to be in the Senate, and those deals often come back to bite you.

They’ll bite both McCain and Clinton in ‘08.

Posted by: George in SC at May 16, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #149116

JBOD, I consider anyone who justifies the righteousness of death and suffering at the ravages of natural disasters in the name of his god, to be Foulmouthed, indeed. Anyone who preaches god’s wrath should fall on those who do not agree with him, is Foulmouthed.

I consider FoulMouth an appropriate adjective for Jerry, not name calling.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 17, 2006 11:33 PM
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