With the publication of the NY Times article on John MCCain’s dubious relationship with an attractive Washington lobbyist, it’s time to examine the man and his candidacy.
With the failure of talk radio’s efforts to hand the GOP nomination to Rudy Guliani and Mitt Romney, both of whom would have been shredded like a White House memo in November…the electoral process has worked the way the Republicans should have hoped it would…producing a presumptive nominee who was the only GOP candidate with a chance of winning.
You can’t help but smile when a prominent member of Congress is accused of being in bed with a lobbyist…feel free to name one who isn’t. Maybe McCain actually did have a sexual relationship with her. I’m not nearly as interested in that as I am his clearly questionable judgement. This is a man who prides himself on being a rebel, a man who charters his course outside the political mainstream (at least since the Keating Five scandal). He seems to be a man who is convinced that he really is above the fray, able to “mingle” with and take money from lobbyists and still be shocked when people see the appearance of influence.
Remember also, all this happened eight years ago, not months or eight weeks…and in that eight years John McCain has projected a remarkable image. He is a legitimate American hero, respected legislator, and a moderate voice in an increasingly immoderate party. A man who often finds the common ground in a very partisan time.
So, let’s put the Vicki Iseman relationship aside for now and examine what I think is more important, the central issues of the campaign.
- Iraq…McCain believes we should stay in Iraq as long as it takes to provide a stable framework for the country we dismantled to put itself back together. The Democrats want to begin pulling US forces out quickly. McCain is right on this one. Even though the war was perhaps the biggest foreign policy blunder this country has ever made, we have a moral obligation to finish the job…and beyond that, pulling out now would leave a huge power vacuum in an already unstable region, guaranteeing obscene oil prices and the possible need to reenter the theatre militarily. In addition, putting together a secure Iraq would send a priceless message to the rest of the world about U.S commitment and resolve.
- Immigration…I believe all the candidates underestimate the passion many Americans feel on this issue. We don’t like to see people rewarded for doing the wrong thing, and in essence that’s the problem voters see with a “path to citizenship “(amnesty). McCain took a lot of heat on the immigration reform bill he helped to craft for just that reason. He’s largely immunized on this issue, because even though he’s far to the left of most voters, he’s comfortably to the right of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama.
- Healthcare reform…all negative for McCain, he advocates market reforms, tax rebates and health savings accounts. What the country needs is a revolution in healthcare not a gentle nudge. Both Democrats have better plans.
- The economy. McCain admits he doesn’t know much about economic issues. A remarkable fact and a remarkable admission. Go with the democrats on this one. He also says he will not raise taxes no matter what…which I guess is proof he doesn’t know much about the economy. The voters like to hear candidates say they won’t raise taxes, but you never know what will happen in four or eight years (see George H.W. Bush).
- The Environment and Global Warming…McCain is very forward thinking on environmental issues and was an early supporter of action on global warming. Still, he is far less likely to take substantial (and expensive) action than either of the Democratic candidates, and we don’t have the luxury of time.
As I may have pointed out before I’ve always been an Independent, neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I’ve always voted for the person and the issue, not the party. I’m a John McCain fan, always have been…maybe it’s my military background, and maybe I like the fact that he’s pretty damn hardheaded.
Still, a lot can happen (and will) between now and November. My mind will likely change several times between now and then…and if you’re paying attention…yours will too.