The rather sad history of John McCain’s political trajectory, from his younger heroic Navy days wearing the white hat among a sea of black caps, ending in these latter days with a hat so gray it might as well be black, has roots in his history, his character, and his choices. In his Naval career, where he pledged to defend his country from all enemies foreign and domestic, the choices were very clearly white vs. black. To the credit of the man, and at horrific personal cost, he made the right decisions, returning rightly to an hero’s acclaim. When he decided to turn his attention to politics, however, he may not have done as good a job at recon as he should have–or maybe he did.
In his history since 1986 in the Senate of the United States, one only need recall the travesty of hand holding across the aisle in the most recent couple of senate terms (accelerated after the 2000 election cycle by his bitterness about President Bush’s victory) to assemble a list of ill conceived projects which have contributed to the degradation of personal liberty and of the principles put forward in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: weakening the legal back bench and SCOTUS with his “Gang of 14” interference in the appointment of conservative judges to protect the original meaning of the Constitution; McCain-Feingold interference in the clear intent of the First Amendment, and his support for regulation of the internet; McCain-Kennedy interference in immigration and defending our borders and nation, opposed official English language then changed his mind, supporting barely disguised amnesty; called water boarding torture and gave away the farm on coercive questioning of terrorists, wants to close Guantanamo Bay and give the terrorist citizen’s rights in civilian courts; voted for the Kyoto treaty, shilled for man made global warming, in favor of cap and trade, and against drilling in ANWR; and has leaned further progressive as he has courted the press and done anything he can to tweak the GOP, conservatives, and solidify his reputation as the ‘maverick’. Unfortunately he hasn’t recognized that ‘his’ side can’t count on him, and ‘their’ side uses him to their advantage. Sad to see him so proudly self deluded, and so ‘progressively’ Republican.
Choosing to emphasize ‘character’ as key in his senate primary race against JD Hayworth is the height of irony. Character does matter; whether one takes the broader definition of “qualities that distinguish one person from another” or the more focused “moral or ethical strength” or even “reputation”, or becomes the embodiment of “an eccentric person” or “a person portrayed in a drama or novel” (The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Ed, 1992), Senator McCain has grabbed the extreme end of the tiger’s tail! His sneering, mud-slinging, truth twisting campaign against JD Hayworth certainly highlights some lack in moral and ethical strength. If he has done such a great job in his senate career, why doesn’t he step up to the plate and make that case to the people? Truthfully, his career has not been such a faithful representation of the state of Arizona and her citizens’ needs and benefit, so he chooses the easy and low road in his campaign now. What character? Not so much.
Lastly, John McCain has indeed created one definitely lasting impression, one that the citizens of Arizona would do well to remember, no matter who they wish to support. John McCain has not changed his spots. He held a grudge against President Bush for winning the support of the people in 2000, and he never let go. His occasional positive comments toward Bush carried the bitter sarcastic undertone that never quite demonstrated forgiveness or a change of heart. He never publicly repudiated his staffs’ savaging of Sarah Palin in the press and despite holding her to campaigning for him in his closely contested race, he has been noticeably thin on gratitude. His recent ‘build the d**m fence’ comments not withstanding, he has not had a Damascus road moment regarding the illegal immigration problem; that would require real humility, an asking, “what would you have me to do?” that is not evident in his choices or campaign. The real John McCain, should he win, is most likely to hold that anger and bitterness against the very people of Arizona he vies to represent, while he goes more ‘maverick’ than ever before in his resentment of their ‘turning on him and his years of service’, making him work so hard for what should be his by right! Think Pharaoh facing Moses over the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Don’t expect him to be grateful for the correction and come to see the light of true representation desired by Arizonans. Expect exactly what John McCain has given us since 1986–progressively more government control and loss of personal liberty, with a bitter twist.