Monday, June 09, 2008

McCain's Reputation Precedes Him

Andrew Sullivan fails to discern the difference between The McCain Myth and reality:
The notion that Barack Obama has no bipartisan achievements in the Congress is untrue and unfair [...] But it is equally true that the kind of bipartisan initiatives that McCain has pioneered have had much more far-reaching scope and were more likely to piss off his own party. Tim Pawlenty, who is probably going to be McCain's running mate auditioned and made the case yesterday:
Look at Senator McCain's record on the big issues of our time. Changing the strategy in the war, being for climate change, cranking down on pork barrel spending, being against earmarks, reaching across even on things that are controversial like campaign finance reform. as a United States Senator. Not casting a vote as a state legislator, but leading, being the person that's in the middle of it.

Gang of 14, that Senator Obama was against, that gave us Justice Roberts and Alito... Senator Obama was even against that. Senator McCain was right in the middle of it, Leading that bipartisan charge. again, whether it's energy, whether it's ethics, whether it's reform, whether it's spending, Senator McCain time and time again has been saying I'm willing to lead, I'm willing to take risks. We have not seen that kind boldness from Senator Obama.

I think that's true.

No, Andrew, it's not. Only looking at McCain's reputation as a "maverick" can you say that crap is true. The reality doesn't support it.

Gang of 14? I regard that as a horrendous capitulation by the Democrats, and NO risk for McCain or the Republicans involved. Bush and the GOP got the Justices they wanted AND neutered the Democrats. Getting a handful of cowardly Dems to cross over and join a Republican initiative does not a "bipartisan initiative" make.

Energy? I'll grant McCain that he strays from the GOP on this (less oil, more nukes—which I don't have a problem with, btw), but he is still heavily industry/corporate-oriented in his solutions, and I'm not sure he or Pawlenty can point to anything McCain's actually accomplished here besides demagogue.

McCain IS out in front of his party on global warming—though that's not saying much— and the cynic in me suspects this is a moderate-appeal campaign stance only, and he will not DO anything about it.

Ethics? Is this separate from "reform?" I think there is plenty going on right now with his campaign to torpedo the substance of this. I don't even have to go back to his corrupt past with The Keating Five.

Reform? Perhaps he means McCain/Feingold? This is crap, too. While it was risky at the time to pursue—only in regard to his party, not popularity—I think his naked abuse of the system and manipulation of loopholes he crafted negates any "credit" he earns here.

Spending? Gas tax pander. Next?

Perhaps Pawlenty would like to expand on the countless instances when McCain "talks" a "risk-taking/maverick" line but fails to follow through—each and every time... Like, perhaps... on torture. McCain has used his POW status as a bludgeon to silence any critical analysis of his positions here, but despite whatever pre-vote postures he and Lindsay Graham take, they have upheld the Administration every time on this. Every single time.

I have linked repeatedly to Sullivan over the last year, mostly for his stuff on Obama, but he clearly has a higher-than-deserved regard for McCain. He regularly mentions how this is the best matchup for America and democracy because McCain is the bee's fucking knees. It's not true. While McCain is certainly the best that's going to come from the GOP, there is a world of difference between McCain and Obama, in addition to the issues.


Toast said...

Bush and the GOP got the Justices they wanted AND neutered the Democrats.

AND then turned around and used that horrible, awful, must-be-done-away-with tool, the filibuster, to stop the Democrats from passing anything once the Republicans were in the minority.

S.W. Anderson said...

It doesn't much matter what McCain's purported maverick positions are because the second it looks as though they'll cost him more support in the presidential race than they'll win him, he'll flip-flop.

In fact, McCain has done so much flip-flopping, you get an excellent index of how McCain/GOP-friendly the MSM are by how they almost never mention it. That's in sharp contrast to the way they jumped on, or more aptly got out back and pushed, the "Kerry is a hopeless flip-flopper" bandwagon four years ago.

Roadkill Refugee said...

Agree, but I wouldn't worry about it. I think Obama already beat the A team - Hillary and Bill. McCain is turning out to be amateur hour. The only reason McCain is still standing is because the other GOP candidates were even worse, and Thompson and Huckabee gave McCain help by colluding to take out Romney in the final phase of the primaries. McCain keeps making unforced errors, and looking pretty old and grumpy while doing it. He's going to be playing defense the entire general election. I smell big victory.

Chris Howard said...

I'll never understand how anyone sees the "Gang of 14" as anything but a complete unconditional surrender for the Democrats. What else is it when you give away everything you want and get nothing in return? Even right-wingers have to know how they got over. Is Sullivan that dense?

Deb said...

I hate the idea that I might be overconfident, but I agree with Roadkill on this one. McCain spent Obama's announcement night talking about how he isn't the third term of Bush. It just shows McCain doesn't own his brand anymore. His days of being touted as the maverick are over, because he's stood beside Bush (literally and philosophically) a few too many times in the past months.

Don't get me start on Pawlenty's job as my governor. McCain better pick someone with more substance than his friend from Minnesota or this race will be over before it begins.