John McCain

McCain's Da Man?

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Sometime Reason contributor and NY Postie Robert A. George says that, when it comes to torture, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the man:

The great irony here is that McCain managed to use the same Manichean moralism to get the Senate and the House to go along with his anti-torture crusade. The administration argued for flexibility; McCain insisted on a bright line: The United States does not tolerate torture—finesse it as you wish, but that includes things like "waterboarding."

In short, you're either with us or with the torturers. McCain arguably beat the administration at its own rhetorical game.

More here.

I agree with George that McCain was on the side of the angels on this one (or, more precisely, on the side of humanity). But then why does McNasty have to be such a goddamn horse's ass on just about everything else, especially campaign-finance reform? On that score, check out former Federal Election Commission head Bradley Smith's piece in the December Reason, "John McCain's War on Political Speech."

NEXT: Banal Notes From Prague

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  1. Maybe we could talk to him about the error of his ways in Campaign Finance Reform if he wasn’t so busy holding a hearing on Steroids in Baseball.

  2. Has anyone else noticed that the two sponsors of the most illiberal political legislation in our time are also the ones going to bat for us against torture and the Patriot Act?

  3. Credit where credit is due.

  4. that includes things like “waterboarding.”

    So from now on detainees will only be subjected to “freedomboarding”.

    The Sen. did a good thing here. As an American I extend him my sincere Thank You.

    I hope torture doesn’t fall back through the cracks. There are people who issued the orders who’ve yet to answer for it. That, and I’d like to have some assurance that we in really and truly, in fact stopped torturing people. You know, I think this is the one issue that cries out for a zero-tolerance policy.

    Now if only he wasn’t such a free-speech strangling asshole.

  5. Reasonable and decent people disagree about how to keep democracy from turning into plutocracy (rule by those with $$). The same is not true when it comes to torturing living beings.

    Why are you comparing the two?

  6. They are not comparing, they are contrasting.

    McCain is utterly correct about torture on one hand, yet utterly incorrect, if not outright corrupt about free speech on the other.

    nmg

  7. The only reason McCain is good on torture is that it’s one government abuse he’s suffered himself.

  8. Now, now, cut JMcC some slack. It’s important that we not torture people when they’re held incommunicado in our network of secret prisons located in foreign countries. 😀

  9. I generally like anybody who challenges his party’s leadership. He might not always offer something that I like, but people like that are necessary to combat groupthink.

  10. Reasonable and decent people disagree about how to keep democracy from turning into plutocracy (rule by those with $$).
    Comment by: Eric Ross at December 16, 2005 12:29 PM

    About money and politics, McCain said this (Washington Post, April 29 2001):

    For McCain, [Andrew] McKelvey’s willingness to devote millions of dollars to influence lawmakers on issues such as gun control is something to be lauded rather than criticized. “I’m glad a guy with a billion dollars, or two billion dollars, wants to spend is money on an issue he feels strongly about,” McCain says.

  11. Anybody see this yet? The Senate blocked a motion to end debate on renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.

  12. What, no “McCain woulda been worse”?

    I remember in the 2000 primaries I liked the man. But the more I heard him talk, the more I could see him totally losing it and getting us into some crazy war.

    (Hehe.)(shrug)

    I remember saying, “If this nation were to be attacked (not that that’s ever going to happen) I could see McCain retaliating with nukes.”

  13. “The Senate blocked a motion to end debate on renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.”

    I guess this means the terrorists win effective Dec. 31. I better start growing a beard and throw out all my pork products….

  14. linguist, you have McCain all wrong. President McCain would invade Vietnam. Payback time! And only by beating Vietnam can America truly heal its wounds.

  15. But then why does McNasty have to be such a goddamn horse’s ass on just about everything else, especially campaign-finance reform?

    I suspect Franklin Harris has this exactly correct. John McCain’s stared this evil in the face himself. I suspect you have to dehumanize victims of torture in the minds of supporters, and it’s probably real hard to manage that with John McCain. He probably just pictures himself and his fellows, first person.

    Also, I think it’s a character thing with him. If you see character as the triumph of moral determination over hubris, which side of the campaign finance debate are you likely to fall on? …which side of the sports and steroids debate? …which side of the torture debate?

  16. Maybe I’m cynical, but I think the only reason McCain has such a hard-on for campaign finance reform is because he has presidential ambition AND he was a member of the Keating 5. What better way for him to try and remove the taint of that scandal than to be at the forefront of reforming the system that made it possible. American voters love a reformed sinner.

    It’s unfortunate that his willingness to sacrifice the liberty of ALL Americans on the altar of his own political ambition, rather than simply own up to making a mistake, probably makes him more electable.

  17. But then why does McNasty have to be such a goddamn horse’s ass on just about everything else, especially campaign-finance reform?

    Because congrescritters regard public criticism as a form of torture.

  18. Hmmm…on the one hand, he’s leading the fight against torture by our government. On the other hand, he’s making it harder to political organizations to spread money around Washington.

    Anybody who has even the slightest difficulty assigning priorities here needs to have his head examined.

  19. I think Libertarians need to dig a little deeper than daemonizing the man. That is, if they really care about touching the face of their own group think.

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