The media loves John McCain. He's the "Maverick" riding the "Straight Talk Express" to the Republican nomination. He's the rebel Republican who's stood up to the White House on tax cuts, global warming, and torture.
Hogwash. McCain has given up all of his "maverick" integrity over the last few years. He was one of the least bad of the Republican candidates, but look at his competition! He would make a very bad president. Probably not as bad as the criminals in charge now, but in no way a good president.
Why? Well, I'll start by looking at three of the issues that I'm most concerned about. There's plenty more, so this may turn into a semi-ongoing series of posts.
First though, I'll get the cheapest shot out of the way. Here's how distant McCain is from Bush, even after Bush and Karl Rove attacked his adopted daughter by claiming she was the child of an affair.
Can you hear the romantic music?
Okay, now on to the issues. First, let's start with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. McCain's never been anything but a cheerleader for the war. He supported it when it started, even while we were being lied to about Saddam. He supported every step of the way, every disaster and fiasco. Never voted to force Bush to have any accountability. Pushed for the "surge" and kept hailing its success, even when it wasn't. Never pushed for any new plan, or a defined strategy, nothing.
And from his campaigning, his plan for the future is pretty much "More of the same, but harder!" Even though the same hasn't worked at all and got us into this mess and is making us lose Afghanistan, where we had the best chance.
Oh, and his policy for dealing with Iran? "Bomb bomb bomb Iran
. He's later claimed it was a joke, but if it was, it was a really bad one.
So given that he's one of the people who helped get us into this mess, and helped drive us further into this disaster, why on Earth should we trust him to be competent to get us out of it, and make things any better?
Answer: We shouldn't.
Okay, second issue. Torture. The Bush administration has been holding people without charges, "disappearing" "suspected terrorists", and torturing people. Routinely. In violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions, as well as in violation of decency, morals, and our reputation around the world. It's not just terrorists, since we haven't bothered with little things like trial or evidence to see if the people we've caught are actual terrorists or know anything useful. (Not that torture is good at getting useful information. If you hurt somebody enough, they'll tell you whatever they think you want to hear that will make you stop. That's why dictators use it for forced confessions.) McCain's gotten a lot of credit in the press for opposing Bush on it.
I call bullshit. He hasn't done a damn thing to stop Bush from authorizing torture. Every time a bill's come up in Congress, he's voted against it
. Here's some more
He hasn't lead any bold investigations into the criminal underbelly of the Bush administration. He has, once again, enabled Bush and his cronies every step of the way. Even though he should know all this, from being held captive by the Viet Cong. He's just spoken up enough to get credit from credulous media, not actually DONE anything to really oppose the Bush administration or reign in torture.
And third, the environment. Environmental issues are going to be having a lot more impact over the next many years, between peak oil, climate chaos, plastic islands, and all of the rest. Especially with places like China and India industrializing rapidly. McCain has a reputation as one of the more environmentally friendly Republicans (low as that bar is). So how'd he do last year? Well... according to the League of Conservation Voters,
McCain missed every important environmental vote last year. Every one.Here's his issues page
. It doesn't say a thing, it's just a bunch of vague platitudes. Also, look at this.
McCain was asked at one of the debates if he favors mandatory carbon caps. He says no, his plan is cap-and-trade. Um. Senator McCain. You see that part in your plan, where it says "CAP-and-trade"? The entire way a cap and trade program works is it sets mandatory limits on how much CO2 can be produced, and then sells or gives away credits for that much pollution. Either McCain doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about, or he's flat out lying. In either case, that's hardly a "Straight Talk Express".
There's plenty more too, including his self-professed lack of knowledge of anything to do with economics, his about face to the fantasy that cutting taxes increases revenue, his embrace of scary hatemongers, and many others. Which I may or may not get into.
The saddest part is, even with all this, he's one of the better candidates the Republicans ran this year. I just hope the media gets over their love affair with him and their "Maverick straight-talker" storyline and actually tells people some of this.