Let me preface by saying that John McCain for many years has been someone I had a deep respect for, the Republican candidate for whom I rooted in the 2008 Republican primaries just a few short months ago to defeat his rivals such as Romney, Giuliani, et al. He was an American hero, and one of my political heroes. Admittedly I am pleased that Obama will crush him in November, but I do not relish watching Mr. McCain’s hard fall into ignominy in the fashion he has dug for himself.
McCain endured the type of pain for his country in Vietnam that I cannot imagine or even wish to imagine. For many years he was a voice of reason in Congress and the Senate, speaking out his mind when he thought he was right, taking the high road at political risk, yelling out against his own party when it was wrong, and taking moderate positions on the country’s large problems. I looked forward to his race against Obama, because I took him at his word when he said it would be a civil race, a high-minded debate for our nation at a perilous time when bipartisanship is necessary more than at any time in generations, and I expected an intelligent fight between two inspiring individuals.
However during this general election he has done the opposite: he has proven that when the stakes are the highest, when the power of the presidency came to be within his grasp, he could turn into a truly disgusting human being. That is what John McCain is today.
Although he has left much of the dirty work to his campaign surrogates, most notably Sarah Palin, McCain has decided that his strategy would be one of tearing down Obama and those who support him, rather than engaging in civil discourse about our country’s future. Here are just some of the factors behind the ugly conclusion to an otherwise great American political career.
Sarah Palin. In a nutshell, Sarah Palin represents all that is wrong with Johnny-come-lately, and America. McCain says country first on the one hand, but on the other flubs his most important presidential campaign decision by choosing a completely unqualified running mate. One who has abused her power to pursue unethical ends in Alaska’s Troopergate. A gun-humping and dangerous radical who has no business coming within miles of the White House, let alone inches. An empty glass of a human being whose most notable achievement so far is trying to equate Obama with the terrorists who threaten our country. Not only is she ignorant and a liar, but she is proud of it and expects that these traits would endear her to the American people. She would get ahead at all costs by bringing others down, just as she did in Alaska. This choice was the beginning of the end for McCain. Thank God Americans see through this phony ice queen.
Backtracking on his previous positions. McCain sacrificed his moral standing to court the right wing. Everyone understands pivoting toward the center in a general election; even Obama is doing it. However, McCain has sold his soul and turned his back on some of his life’s work to get votes: his opposition to torture is now a shadow of what it use to be, his ethical conduct is an embarrassment, and his opinions on the insalubrious activities of the Christian Right have suddenly changed.
A Nasty Campaign. Although McCain made a token effort last week to contradict one of his supporters at a town hall who asked him if Americans should fear Obama because he is an Arab, he did so only when there was no other option. Of course Obama isn’t an Arab. But are we surprised that the majority of the audience booed him when he said Obama wasn’t supposed to be a human being to fear if elected? That fear had been instilled largely by the campaign, which has taken great pains to point Obama as a scary and foreign individual who "pals around with terrorists" because he has such "a low opinion of America." McCain’s ads are pure visual vitriol. This is dirty, dirty pool.
An Incoherent Message. Are you for experience and maturity, the backbone of your early general election campaign, or are you against it? Obviously against it if you are willing to put the reins in Palin’s hands. Are you really against government spending or do you want to buy $300 billion worth of bad mortgages, turning the government into a giant mortgage lending corporation? Are you for or against regulation- can you tell us honestly? Do you want to be a respectful human being, or act like Obama does not even deserve to stand on the same stage as you, as was made apparent in the last two debates? Do you really think that calling for the suspension of the democratic processes of a fair presidential campaign due to a market crash was a wise decision or a politically expedient one? McCain has not been a part of the solution to our economic woes, largely because he does not have the ability. And worst of all: was your brilliant military service to your country an honorable achievement that should speak for itself, or is it a political crutch you are going to use to try and claw back into the race by clubbing it against voters’ heads every day for the next three weaks?
My friends, I am saddened deeply by the fall of John McCain. Not because he is about to lose the race in a pathetic way, but because he chose to do so.