I got to see McCain speak on Meet the Press over the weekend. His appearance there, along with his recent appearance in the straw poll in Tennessee shows me that McCain has jumped the shark and has passed into the oblivion of once respectable politicians.
McCain has become the flip-flopper of the right. Shedding his once maverick and political independent skin, McCain has thrown his lot in with the hard right of his party. Once a person who chastised Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for their intolerance of all things not evangelical, calling them the extremes of intolerance, McCain has now endorsed their positions of bigotry and intolerance. Falwell, who claims 9/11 was caused by feminists and homosexuals, and Robertson, who thinks Hurricane Katrina was caused by poor lazy black people living off the dole, was once on the opposite side of the Republican fence from McCain. But no longer.
Additionally, McCain has decided to give up the banner of fiscal responsibility that he once carried with pride. In yet another flip-flop, McCain has decided to endorse Bush's tax cuts that are leading to the nations largest deficits ever. McCain once called the tax cuts imprudent. Now he prefers to pander to the party base instead of reality based voters.
McCain, a pro life Republican, but one who respects the notion of freedom of choice is now endorsing the South Dakota ban on all abortion, and is also endorsing a constitutional ban on gay marriage is state courts find that such a legislative ban is unconstitutional because it does not provide for equal protection of every American. He has also decided to endorse the teaching of creationism in the classroom.
Yes, McCain's presidential aspirations have got the better of him. Prior to the past two weeks, he was in a position where he would easily win a general election, but would have a hard time winning the Republican primary. Now, because of his flip-flopping, he has alienated the moderates of his own party, is still held with great reservation by the hard core right, and has now lost the respect and support of many moderate democrats who would have voted for him in a general election.
I think McCain misplayed his hand. There are many non-vocal moderate Republicans who are looking for a candidate who can represent the middle. By running hard to the right, McCain has made himself indistinguishable from the other candidates on the hard right, while giving up his independent, moderate aura that led him to narrowly loose to Bush in 2000. This is a position that he cannot regain easily, if at all.
This is too bad. I would have not minded the old McCain as our president. But the new McCain is a shell of everything that made him worthy of support. He has devolved from being a political independant to a political opportunist. This is why I think McCain has jumped the shark and has written himself out of contention for the 2008 election.
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