To all my friends, Democrats and Independents, who have told me they'd consider voting for John McCain in November, I have only two words. PLEASE DON'T.
For the sake of God, country and Mother Theresa, wise up.
Now that it's clear he's going to be the Republican nominee for president, it's time to end our love affair with John McCain.
Don't feel badly if you were once a “McCainiac.” So was I. We all fell in love with the maverick McCain back in 2000, when he beat the pants off George Bush in New Hampshire. But the McCain of 2000 is not the same McCain we see today. That McCain doesn't exist anymore.
Yes, McCain's a likable guy. He's still an American hero. No one can ever take that away from him. He still has a refreshing, self-deprecating sense of humor. And he was once willing to tell leaders of his own party to go pound sand. But, unfortunately, in order to secure his party's nomination, McCain tossed his independence out the window. He's no longer a maverick. Before our very eyes, the once-moderate McCain has morphed into an extreme right-winger.
McCain's changed his tune on so many issues, he should change the name of his bus from The Straight Talk Express to the Double-Talk Express. There's not one major issue the new McCain has not been on both sides of.
In 2001 and again in 2003, he voted against the Bush tax cuts, saying at the time: “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.” Today, he's the biggest champion of making the Bush tax cuts permanent. He once condemned religious conservatives like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson as “agents of intolerance.” Today, he's sucking up to them. On Jan. 9, 2000, he called the Confederate flag “a symbol of racism and slavery.” Three days later, he insisted: “Personally, I see the flag as a symbol of heritage.” Today, he says he'll leave it up to states to decide what to do about flying the Confederate flag.
Even on his signature issues, John McCain's all over the place. He angered conservatives by standing with President Bush on comprehensive immigration reform. Today, he says, as president, he wouldn't even sign the immigration bill he sponsored. Same on campaign reform. In 2004, he denounced the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for the lies they broadcast about John Kerry's record in Vietnam. Running for president in 2008, McCain, as first reported by The Nation magazine, has accepted over $60,000 in campaign contributions from the same Swift Boat liars. This week, the anti-torture McCain even voted to allow the continued use of waterboarding.
But nowhere is McCain's change-with-the-wind politics more apparent than in his approach to the war in Iraq. In January 2007, he blasted those who led the American people to believe the war would be “some kind of a walk at the beach.” Yet during the buildup to war, McCain himself told Larry King: “I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short time.” Now, running for president, McCain is the chief cheerleader for the war, asserting it's OK with him if American troops remain in Iraq for 100 years.
McCain is equally hawkish on Iran, rejecting direct talks with Iranian leaders and holding out war with Iran as a real option. “There is only one scenario worse than military action in Iran and that is a nuclear-armed Iran,” says McCain — which, of course, is the same policy toward Iran advocated by George W. Bush.
Indeed, that's what's so surprising about the new McCain: He's so much like the old Bush. They were once bitter enemies. Today, it's virtually impossible to tell them apart. Bush praises McCain as a true conservative, while McCain vows to continue Bush's economic and foreign policies and appoint Supreme Court justices like John Roberts and Samuel Alito. McCain even gushes over the man who engineered Bush's ugly attacks against him in South Carolina in 2000, praising Karl Rove as “one of the smart, great political minds in American politics.”Don't be fooled. Vote for John McCain? You might as well vote to re-elect George Bush and Dick Cheney for another four years.