Maybe my reasoning is flawed. But why would Americans want to give a third term to the most unpopular administration in American history? While many Americans still envision John McCain as the straight talking, special interest-disdaining maverick candidate of the 2000 election season, the fact is that he's never really been any of those things. To make it worse, he's even changed his position on the issue of waterboarding. Why? Now 71 and perhaps sensing his "running" days are coming to an end, he is John McCain, candidate for President of the United States and it is now or never. Be afraid. Be very afraid. A vote for John McCain is a vote for George W. Bush and a McCain win is akin to giving our current imperial president an undeserved third term.
Mr. Bush recently stated that the GOP will prevail in the 2008 election so that we can continue what he no doubt feels is the good fight in Iraq. If this is the case, then Bush's worldwide aggression is in good hands. John McCain is a full-fledged "hawk" and a staunch supporter of President Bush's war effort. Not only is he on record stating that the surge is "working," but McCain also believes that the Iraq war is winnable and that winning is essential. Citing our long-term occupation of Korea, Mr. McCain has no problem at all seeing U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq for many years to come. He has acknowledged, however, that he must convince the American people that the war is noble and worthwhile during the campaign's stretch run. Another notable point is that McCain is in lockstep with George Bush on Iran. There is no question he'd use military force against Iran if he deemed it necessary. This is a dangerous equation, given the milquetoast character of Congress. Would they stand up to John McCain or roll over and play dead as they have for George W. Bush?
America's reputation has deteriorated under the Bush regime. Regardless of the thought process behind the "Bush Strategy," his unwarranted invasion of Iraq has reduced America to worldwide bully status. George Bush proudly refers to himself as a "war president," and he is right. In seven years, George W. Bush has, excuse the term, "pissed away" more than two hundred years of diplomacy, favoring instead the pre-emptive strike position so strongly advocated by the neo-cons. The Bush administration was so intent on attacking Iraq that it managed 935 outright lies to justify American aggression in the lead-up to the invasion.* Make no mistake that John McCain was one of the leading advocates of the Iraq war, he is presently one of the most vocal "cheerleaders" of the Iraq war, and he will no doubt carry on with (or expand) Bush's Iraq policy. Invading Iran remains on the table now and, unless Mr. Bush twists a few facts and tells a few lies to justify invading Iran before he leaves office, it will remain on the table for the entire term of a John McCain presidency.
Out of touch with reality on reproductive rights
An issue that should be of concern to all American women is that of reproductive rights. On this count, the National Right to Life Committee gives McCain a 72% rating for the years between 1997-2000, while NARAL Pro-Choice America gives him a 1% for the same time frame. Senator McCain is generally out of touch on this subject. When pressed on the issue of contraception during a bus trip between campaign stops, McCain fumbled around for an answer, sounding like anything but presidential material. It was actually painful to read this exchange. Yet, when McCain was asked specifically if grants for sex education should speak to the the use of contraception or if it should adhere to Bush's "abstinence only" position, he chose abstinence only. McCain's mentor on all things reproductive is none other than Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), whose name he invoked several times on that bus trip. Coburn is not only a Senator, but also a doctor who has delivered more than 4,000 babies during his career. Senator Coburn believes that life begins at conception and opposes abortion in all cases, except in the rare case where the mother's life is in danger. It should also be noted that Senator/Doctor Coburn advocates the death penalty for abortion providers, a position that is – at best – disturbing for a doctor to take.
A sudden change of heart on torture
Up until recently, Senator McCain has been vocal critic of the President's use of waterboarding and other extreme (and inhumane) interrogation techniques, having been subject to torture himself as a POW in Viet Nam. When both Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney bowed out of the race, McCain's nearly DOA campaign was not only given a new life, but also thrust into "frontrunner" status. With Mike Huckabee dropping out after the Texas and Ohio primaries, McCain is officially the GOP candidate for president. Now comes the need to cater to the very vocal and powerful right wing element in the Republican Party. Make no mistake about it, this is one faction of the party that is not enamored with John McCain and the candidate knows it. Suddenly waterboarding isn't such a problem anymore. In fact, on February 13 of this year, the new John McCain voted against an intelligence bill designed to effectively outlaw torture by making the Army Field Manual the law of the land.
A legend in his own mind
McCain's outward disdain of special interests and "soft" money donations is as legendary as Bush's fundraising prowess. In fact, in 2002, Senator McCain and Senator Russell Feingold (D-Wis) teamed up to pass the McCain-Feingold act in an attempt to eliminate large donations from corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals. They even won the Profiles in Courage award for their efforts. Do not be fooled. Here the only difference between McCain and Bush is that McCain quietly straddles the line that he himself draws in the sand.
In spite of his rhetoric to the contrary, McCain has done his share of favors for donors over the years. Few recall that McCain was one of the infamous "Keating Five," five Senators who sought to influence the investigation into the failed Lincoln Savings & Loan and its chairman, Charles H. Keating, Jr. Mr. Keating was faulted for that failure, which reportedly cost taxpayers anywhere between $2.6 and $3.4 billion. After a reprimand, McCain won re-election as a congressman from Arizona's first congressional district and was then elected to the Senate in 1986. In spite of his efforts to convince people that he and Keating were not friends, the facts show something different. By the time he entered the Senate in 1987, he had received $112,000 in donations from Keating, his family and his employees.