He seemed like that rarity, an honest politician. A Vietnam vet and former POW, he stood up to the Religious Right for their intolerance, and to the Swift Boat Veterans for their lies. He seemed like one of the few Republicans I could vote for.
But the more I learn about him, the more I discover that it's all a front.
In 2000, when we listened to Candidate McCain, we heard things like this:
McCain said he hoped his February comments about the "agents of intolerance" of the Christian Right did not "alienate the voters of so-called Christian Right...I value their commitment to moral values and family standards but I as a person want our party to be an inclusive party."Almost a year ago, on Meet the Press, Tim Russert called him on his spin.
"I don't believe the leadership of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson is healthy for my party...I want a party that says we care about everyone, a party of addition not division."
MR. RUSSERT: You came out and said we should teach intelligent design in classes as well as evolution. Jerry Falwell... you’re now giving the commencement address at Liberty University in May. This is what you said about Jerry Falwell in February of 2000. Let’s watch.So what happened to the "Straight Talk Express"? Did it run off the rails?
(Videotape, February 28, 2000):
SEN. McCAIN: Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right.
MR. RUSSERT: "Agents of intolerance." And you were asked about that speech and you said this: "I must not and will not retract anything that I said in that speech at Virginia Beach. It was carefully crafted. It was carefully thought out." Based on that, do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?
SEN. McCAIN: I met with Reverend Falwell, he came to see me in Washington. We, we agreed to disagree on certain issues and we agreed to move forward. I believe that speaking at Liberty University is no different from speaking at the New College or Ohio State University...
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator, when you were on here in 2000, I asked you about Jerry Falwell, and this is what you said.
(Videotape, March 5, 2000):
SEN. McCAIN: Governor Bush swung far to the right and sought out the base support of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. That’s—those aren’t the ideas that I think are good for the Republican Party.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think that Jerry Falwell’s ideas are now good for the Republican Party?
SEN. McCAIN: I believe that the... "Christian right" has a major role to play in the Republican Party. One reason is, is because they’re so active, and their... followers are. And I believe they have a right to be a part of our party. I don’t have to agree with everything they stand for, nor do I have to agree with everything that’s on the liberal side of the Republican Party...
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?
SEN. McCAIN: No, I don’t. I think that Jerry Falwell can explain to you his views on this program when you have him on.
MR. RUSSERT: After September 11th... Reverend Falwell had [this] to say. "What we saw on [September 11th ], as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve. ... I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle... I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' " ...Are you embracing that?
SEN. McCAIN: I am speaking at the, at the graduation of his, his university. I’m not embracing all of the tenets that are expressed at the New College in New York City, nor other liberal universities and institutions that I have spoke at.
The Arizona Republican told The Dallas Morning News that he has "established a very good relationship" with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and has reached out to Richard Land, a one-time Criswell College professor who heads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.Let's go over those names again.
In Texas, Mr. McCain said, he has met with San Antonio evangelist John Hagee to express a shared "commitment to the state of Israel."
Jerry Falwell: Well, I think enough was said about him during the Meet the Press transcript up above. An egotistical hypocrite, but one who's managed to make himself rich off the donations of his flock (which, incidentally, is true of the next two guys, too).
Richard Land: One of Bush's closest advisors, Richard Land is also outspokenly homophobic and violently opposed to abortion. He called the FDA's approval of the Plan B pill a "sad day for America;" however, Plan B prevents the release or fertilization of an egg, which means that Land is opposed to an option that would prevent the abortion of fetuses. Go figure.
John Hagee: One of the highest-paid evangelists in America, Hagee blames the sinful people of New Orleans for Hurricane Rita, he supports the idea of a nuclear war in the Middle East, because he's an ardent believer in the coming Rapture.
These sanctimonious Dominionists are the people John McCain is sucking up to? That's bad enough to lose my respect for the man. And I didn't even touch on McCain's flip-flops on other issues. Like backing off of a torture ban after initially proposing it. Or hiring the company that produced the "Swift Boat Veterans" ads, who he once called "dishonest and dishonorable."
(Russert mentions several of McCain's sudden reversals in the MTP interview above. Go read it.)
I don't have time for McCain. He points whichever way the wind is blowing. Let's elect people willing to stand up for what's right this time around.