The Selling of John McCain

I was gonna vote for John McCain if given the opportunity, progressive populist though I am. I figured–and I think I’m echoing RTFirefly here–that a conservative presidency, and the concomitant Supreme Court nominations, would be worth it if we finally got someone in the Oval Office who was serious about campaign finance reform.

Of course, McCain withdrew from the race before most of the country had had a chance to vote for his candidacy, and we were left once again with two veritable corporate shills from which to choose.

And now, in the name of party unity, John McCain is getting up at the Republican Convention and praising Bush to the stars as a man of integrity and character. More than that, he’ll be actively campaiging with Dubya in several states, mine included.

So has McCain utterly compromised his principles (not to mention his stance on campaign finance) by backing Bush? Or is the success of the party more important than any single issue, no matter how crucial to the health of the nation you might believe that issue to be?

I’m sure that McCain realizes that there are two choices for president and Bush much more closely resembles what he’d like to see in that position.

That’s not a sell-out. You’ve got a choice of X and Y. You look at what you believe is important and pick the best choice, then run with it. Any other choice, including no choice would be detrimental to McCain’s best interest.

Oh, I was really excited about McCain too. Quite a shame. Although, I disagree with him about Campaign Finance Reform.

No, he’s a sell out. There are ways of showing that “we are all in the same party & by-gones will be by-gones” without actaully kow-towing. I has HUGE respect for Mccains Integrity, too. Oh, well…

These aren’t incompatible, are they? I think both are true.

If the Demos pull this one off, McCain, by this allegiance to the nominee and his campaigning for Congressmean, will be the 2004 candidate.
If Bush goes down, we’ll get McCain in 2004 and hopefully forever break the power of the Country Club Republicans who inherit their political affiliation along with daddy’s money (this will be their 3rd nominee who crashed and burned). Also that should finally break the power of Limbaugh. (I will never forgive him for trashing McCain but, hey, that is what his corporate masters told him to do.)
Hey Republicans, this is not like electing the President of the local Chamber of Commerce. Let’s get some charisma next time and we might win one.

I voted for McCain in the primary election ONLY because I dislike George W. Bush slightly more than I dislike Al Gore.

Come general election time, I’m probably gonna vote for the Libertarian party’s guy, what’s-his-name.

I disagree, mipsman. McCain’s commitment to campaign finance reform was, is, and will be antithetical to the interests of the entrenched party institution. As long as he favors the end of corporate-sponsored elections, he won’t be the preferred Republican candidate.

And Bill H., I understand what you’re saying, but surely campaign finance is a polar enough issue–given the fervence with which McCain decried our current, corrupt system–as to abjure “lesser-evilism” in this case. Both Bush and Gore oppose campaign finance reform (with Bush, of the two, the least likely to change his stance), and campaign finance reform was an issue about which McCain cared deeply: why, then, would either candidate be palatable to McCain, were he not abandoning his previously stated principles?

I dunno, maybe his stance on campaign finance reform was just political positioning; perhaps it doesn’t mean that much to him after all. It’s just disappointing to see someone base his candidacy upon assailing the corruption of the process, and then turn around and endorse a candidate who embodies the process.

I’m still in shock that a politician, of all people, would compromise his ideals (or “whore himself out” in commonspeak) just for the sake of falling into party lines. I can only guess that George Bush must have spoken eloquently, and thoughtfully, to McCain, thereby causing the latter to recant.

I can understand your disappointment, Gadarene. However, don’t well at some point have to back off one of our political stances in order to preserve our other stances. McCain is still a senator and I’m sure he’d really like to see a Republican president who won’t knock down all of the Republican’s pet legislation.

I think McCain has seen that there is nothing else he can do for campaign finance reform from a Presidential election platform. He’s not giving up his belief in reform, just setting it aside for the moment, for other more pressing interests.

IMHO, for what it’s worth.

McCain is no more of a sell-out for endorsing Bush than Bill Bradley is for endorsing Gore. This is standard stuff in politics for anybody who wants to retain Party support (either party).

Mysterecks, I think that’s exactly what I said. Minus the witty satire of course.

My political leanings are quite similar to Gadarene’s on this issue; I came very close to voting for John McCain in the California open primary even though I’m a very liberal independent. Like mipsman though, I see John McCain doing what is necessary to put him in position for a presidential run in 2004, assuming Bush loses. If that happens, I can’t believe that the Republican establishment could successfully install their own candidate without causing a major rift in the party.

Even though he barely mentioned it in his speech at the convention (from what I read), I don’t think McCain is backing down on campaign finance reform. In an interview just prior to his speech, he said there would be “blood all over the floor of the Senate” if campaign finance reform was not passed next year. He also claimed he would do whatever is necessary to pass it, regardless of who the president is or whether the president agrees with him.

I sincerely doubt both. McCain may be around in 2004, but in order to secure a Republican endorsement in the primaries he’ll need to win over the conservative right. And I don’t see that happening. Also, it’s pretty well established in recent years that the Republicans favor former governors. I suspect in four years another governor will pop up out of the woodwork to claim the nomination. For instance, here in Ohio, we have Bob Taft, who: 1) comes from a long line of Republicans (he’s related to a former president, for pete’s sake); 2) is a governor of a key state which carries a lot of electoral votes; and 3) does not have an emotion or any discernible personality that we can see. In fact, he may be a mannequin.

So if W. loses, look for Bob Taft in 2004. Safe,familiar, and boring.

Abandoning your party over one issue is somewhat similar to abandoning your nation over one issue. Some people may choose to do so, but most choose to seek reform from within. I was not a McCain fan, but there is nothing wrong with living to fight another day.

If Bush loses it this year, in 2004, Republicans will be so desperate that if somebody stands up and says (slipping into Sam Kinnison mode) QUIT NOMINATING STAID, WOODEN, CARDBOARD CUTOUTS. HOW MANY MORE OF THESE DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE? YOUR ESTABLISHMENT ONLY BRINGS FORTH LOSERS. OHHHHHH, OHHHHHHHH. BIG BUSINESS-BIG GOVERNMENT COALITIONS HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH SOCIALISM THAN CONSERVATISM. NOMINATE SOMEBODY WITH CHARISMA RATHER THAN YOUR TYPICAL GS-100 REPUBLICAN BUREAUCRAT. OHHHH, OHHHHHHH.

It is only the Chamber of Commerce people and the big Fat Cats (who now seem to be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans) that benefit from the corporate welfare state.
If somebody would bring this to rank and file conservative voters’ attention, McCain (or his successor) will be a shoo-in.

“whore himself out”?

“follow the lead of their corporate masters”?
Whoa.
In any case, I think McCain saw Bush as the better President. Sure, campaign finance reform was an important issue to McCain. But that’s not the only issue McCain feels strongly about, or even has an opinion about. Given that Gore has shown, at best, tepid interest in campaign finance reform, McCain probably came to realize that on 90% of the other issues, he agreed with Bush.

For those of you who think McCain “sold out”- what makes you think that? Do you really think that McCain was only about campaign finance reform, and that no other issue was important to him? If so, why do you think he was a Republican? Did you hear his speech at the convention talking about Bush’s optimism as contrasted to Gore’s negativism, and calling Bush his friend? Or do you immediately assume that Bush’s “people” handed McCain a speech and said, “Read this, or get kicked out of the party!”

I continue to be amazed by the McCain supporters arguments. Can one of his followers please help me understand a few things?

McCain was cruising along as a reasonably well known Senator. Most casual followers of U.S. politics recognized him by face and name. He got on the campaign finance reform bandwagon and suddenly the media chose him as their preferred Republican candidate. Being generally known as a one issue candidate, why does he have such a following?

One of the arguments used to support McCain is that his family isn’t in national politics. Several questions come to mind here. Why do his followers continue to mention this with regards to GWB? I don’t hear any of these people raising a stink about Al Gore Jr. taking over daddy’s senate seat on his way to the white house. Nor do I hear these same people complain about the Kennedy ownership of the Senate seat on the far left. What difference does having had George Bush as president make in having GWB as president. Methinks that the “family” argument is really just cover for not wanting GWB.

I’ve got lots of questions. Let’s start with these.

Thanks,
SS

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Come general election time, I’m probably gonna vote for the Libertarian party’s guy, what’s-his-name.

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Harry Browne and Art Olivier are the Libertarian candidates for prez and veep respectively. I was, like tracer, was going to vote McCain. Now the Libertarian Party is getting my vote.

As far as McCain selling out, he has obviously not thrilled to support Bush. Did you hear his speech at the convention? He didn’t seem too happy to be there.

I think that McCain realizes that he would destroy much of his support within the Republican party if he acted overtly bitter about Bush getting the nod. He has to show party loyalty and do what needs to be done if he wants another shot at the Whitehouse, which I sincerely hope he gets.

I wouldn’t say he is a “one issue candidate”. That issue may be what the press decided to report about the most, but that is not the only issue he was campaigning on. He is also far more open minded about the abortion issue than Bush, for example. He may not be purely pro-choice, but religious conservatives in the Republican party mounted a TV ad campaign claiming he was.

The media chose McCain as their preferred Republican candidate because they liked him better.

Let me clarify: McCain was far more accessible to, and much friendlier to, the media than Bush during the primaries. The Straight Talk Express (the bus that McCain campaigned in) was always full of reporters. McCain answered almost any question they asked him. He was friendly to the press, so they were friendly to him.

Bush, OTOH, severly limited his availability to the press. It could take weeks to get an interview scheduled. He was sometimes rude, and cut interviews short when asked questions he did not want to answer.