Post-Vacation Political Musings on McCain Part 2
Ehh… I’m really not entirely sure that I want to do this. It makes me ill to look too long at stuff like this. That’s why I usually leave it to people like Ric at Grumpy Lion. (Hint: that’s a recommendation, folks!)
Everyone always has to start with acknowledging McCain’s military service. It’s real: he’s a war hero, suffered torture, the whole nine. What I used to like about him, back in the day, was that he’d downplay it; emphasize that it was just something that had to be done, make a little joke about how it didn’t take much to get shot down. Needless to say, that’s all in the past now. He manages to slip in some reference to his war service in every speech, usually implying that unless you have a similar military background (not being shot down and tortured necessarily, but being in the military) is a prerequisite for being the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces of the United States.
(Which is bullshit, of course. The military powers of this country are ultimately under civilian control, and that’s no accident. If you want to know why, look around the world and have a gander at any nation whose head of state has a military title. That’s also, by the way, the reason it’s a bad idea to put spy agencies under the control of the military, but I’ve digressed enough already.)
What baffles me with its sheer sliminess, of course, is how in the hell a former torturee, and one who used that history as a source of moral authority in opposing the military of this country using torture (when it was politically expedient and suited his ‘maverick’ image), can turn around and vote against a law banning torture by civilian representatives of this same country. WTF? I mean, sure, everyone’s entitled to change their position over time, and it’s only ‘flip-flopping’ for ex-military heroes to do that if they’re running against Bush, but fuck me, isn’t opposition to torture by a torturee who knows first-hand how inhuman and ineffective it is, a value that’s kind of… fundamental?
Which, of course, brings me to the second little, insignificant change of mind McCain has recently displayed. I quite frankly cheered when McCain called out the Republican establishment for pandering to fundamentalists like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as ‘agents of intolerance’ – a stance that was rare enough on the Democratic side of the fence, and seemed to show that there was some genuine maverick left in there. Now, of course, those same intolerant crackpots are his new best friends, and he shows enormous reluctance to distance himself from them even when they do the old fire and brimstone on other religions such as Catholics, Jews and Muslims.
Of course, McCain claimed that comments calling the Church of Rome “Whore of Babylon” and “anti-Christ” and “Ba’al worship” and a “false cult system” were taken out of context; I’d love to ask him what context would justify remarks like that, but I’m unlikely to get the chance. (Actually I kind of agree with the last one, but then I feel the same way about true cult systems.) I’ve had the opportunity to peruse Hagee’s book “Jerusalem Countdown” because, well, I live in South Carolina, and a disturbing number of my cow-orkers are infected with this crap and actually think that that confused mishmash of millenarian warmongering madness is a book worth reading. I can assure it is not; it is utter crap, badly researched, turgidly written, and shot through with jaw-dropping ignorance and bigotry.
McCain has now gone on to publicly accept endorsement from a man he describes as a spiritual advisor who has publicly urged Christians to wage war to the death on “Islam, the false religion” – a televangelist by the name of Rod Parsley who seems every bit as extreme and weird as Hagee. Naturally both these guys are also publicly on record as opposing the separation of church and state, forbidding women to control their reproduction (both oppose legal contraception as well as legal abortion), and toleration of homosexuality. Strange company for a ‘moderate’ to keep, but as I said to my older brother, I don’t think my definition of ‘moderate’ matches that of the average Republican.
Oh, and lest we think he’s just accepting support without pushing the agenda, McCain supports teaching the disguised creationism known as intelligent design in schools, and has associated himself with the demented fuckwits at the Discovery Institute. Hell, he may be sincere on that one, but who could possibly tell? Besides, I wouldn’t count sincerity on this as a plus; at best it means he lacks the mental chops to distinguish real science from pseudo-scientific babble, at worst that he actually gives credence to the latter.
Neo-cons do love their Orwellian double-speak, so Intelligent Design fits right in with Healthy Forests Initiative, Clean Skies Act, PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, and so on. Now, in regard to the first two I’d have to say that McCain has so far talked pretty green for a Republican; I guess he must be a maverick after all. I can trust him on this, right? It isn’t as if he has a history of appearing to support things until the chips are actually on the table. On the latter two, well, there’s no hypocrisy there; he’s always been a prat on civil liberties and education issues.
Still, he’s all about getting private money out of government, right? After all, the thing he’s most famous for is the McCain-Feingold Act, which reduced the influence of ‘soft’ party money and independent ad buys which allowed big donors to get around legal contribution limits. So at least the Mac is against using legal loopholes in fund-raising, right? Well, not so much. He may or may not have broken the law he helped write, but for damn sure he violated the spirit of it. Certainly he hasn’t demonstrated any independence from lobbyists, not even when American jobs or national security are involved. I truly don’t care if he fucked any of his lobbyists, the point is that he’s their bottom.
Independent maverick my ass, he’s just another bought-and-paid-for political hack, and if he becomes President it will be nothing but a continuation of the same endless sucking cesspool we’ve endured for the eight years since Shrub’s handlers stole the country.