John McCain

John McCain's Long War Against Honesty

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Roger Simon at the brand-new Politico has a scoop: John McCain is trashing Dick Cheney!

"The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."

Simon, correctly, calls bullshit. When he was campaigning for the Bush ticket, McCain called Cheney "one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had." Simon quotes one instance of this; there were many more than one. From The Carlsbad Current Argus, September 6, 2004:

Appearing as a surprise guest at the rally was Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

"I believe that Dick Cheney is the most qualified vice president we have had in our history," McCain said, raising his voice above the enthused crowd's chant of 'Cheney, Cheney.'"

In fairness, McCain had been criticizing Rumsfeld for years for his unwillingness to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. He only rallied support for one person he knew was losing the Iraq war.

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  1. …flip-flopper.

  2. Perhaps McCain used to honestly think Cheney was a good vice-President but has since changed his mind? I don’t think revising ones’ opinion over time is a sign of dishonesty.

  3. McCain was a vocal critic of the war’s progress as early as mid-2003. He criticized the buildup, too, especially the way we failed to bring France and Germany on board. It’s too much to believe he thought Cheney was blameless for this until yesterday.

  4. proxy, i would be right behind you on that one. i wouldn’t want people to bring up old opinions of mine (if they were on record) from years ago to devalue my current stances. but we’re talking about a guy who guy who ran in 2000 and dissed the christian right who is not sucking up to them. and i used to respect this guy.

  5. proxy, i would be right behind you on that one. i wouldn’t want people to bring up old opinions of mine (if they were on record) from years ago to devalue my current stances. but we’re talking about a guy who guy who ran in 2000 and dissed the christian right who is not sucking up to them. and i used to respect this guy.

    I know what you mean, but I think you have to cut McCain some slack. Our political system kind of requires candidates to say what they think people want to hear. If McCain wants to become President, he has to play the game, and it’s probably best that we not put too much stock in what he says while playing it.

  6. I don’t think revising ones’ opinion over time is a sign of dishonesty.

    So true…and his embrace of the religious right that he so thoroughly despised and openly criticized during campaign 2000, surely is just him re-evaluating his position and has nothing to do with his presidential aspirations.

  7. So true…and his embrace of the religious right that he so thoroughly despised and openly criticized during campaign 2000, surely is just him re-evaluating his position and has nothing to do with his presidential aspirations.

    But we weren’t talking about his relationship with the religious right, but rather if it’s necessarily a sign of dishonesty if you praise someone at one point and then criticize him later.

  8. “I know what you mean, but I think you have to cut McCain some slack.”

    Why this free pass for McCain? For me, this is his defining characteristic: a penchant for an about face whenever the wind direction changes. It happened during the 2000 primaries, it’s happened with the religious right, and now it’s happened with his views of Cheney. This stuff isn’t just slippery politicking, it’s schizophrenic. And it’s far worse than any sort of Clintonian parsing.

  9. pinko, I kind of take the position that all politicans do that sort of thing, so you kind of have to not worry about it and use other qualities to figure out whether they’ll make good leaders.

  10. … but I think you have to cut McCain some slack. Our political system kind of requires candidates to say what they think people want to hear.

    A government by the polls, principle be damned. That point, while probably true, dismays me no end.

  11. Why this free pass for McCain? For me, this is his defining characteristic: a penchant for an about face whenever the wind direction changes.

    I thought his defining characteristic was that he’s a cranky statist.

  12. I should have said “cranky populist.”

  13. A government by the polls, principle be damned. That point, while probably true, dismays me no end.

    Well, to some extent the art of politics involves convincing people that your prinicples are the right ones. But the bottom line is that if you’re going to be successful, people have to like you.

  14. Perhaps McCain used to honestly think Cheney was a good vice-President but has since changed his mind? I don’t think revising ones’ opinion over time is a sign of dishonesty.

    That’d be fine and good if McCain’s comment wasn’t from five months ago, and made at at campaign rally, and so effusive in its praise of Cheney. It’s silly that politicians are punished for changing their views over time. But it’s perfectly reasonable to see McCain’s shifting view for what it is: political triangulation.

  15. That’d be fine and good if McCain’s comment wasn’t from five months ago, and made at at campaign rally, and so effusive in its praise of Cheney. It’s silly that politicians are punished for changing their views over time. But it’s perfectly reasonable to see McCain’s shifting view for what it is: political triangulation.

    It is reasonable to see it that way. I’m just not sure it’s reasonable to care too much when politicians act like politicians.

  16. But the bottom line is that if you’re going to be successful, people have to like you.

    For the majority of the electorate, that is true. I, however, have voted for people I would never go have a beer with. Principle and policies matter to me, not whether you screw around on your wife, or have too much to drink on Friday nights.

  17. So, I’ve got J sub D’s vote wrapped up!

  18. highnumber, you sell yourself short. With your sense of humor, I would likely enjoy an evening of carousing in your company. My vote doesn’t come that easily though.

  19. Fair enough – I’m not running for office yet anyway.
    Thanks.

  20. “I’m just not sure it’s reasonable to care too much when politicians act like politicians.”

    Perhaps not usually, but McCain’s persona is based on the idea that he’s an un-politician. Straight-talk Express, remember?

  21. John McCain is against legal cockfighting.
    He wants to ban the UFC and other mixed martial arts fighting as “human cockfighting”.

    Not only is he unacceptable as a Presidential candidate, McCain should not hold any public office in this country.

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