This bit from a John McCain conference call, via Phil Klein, manages to drop your jaw without actually surprising you.
A questioner named Jonathan… asked "Should federal law supersede the will of the people in a given state when it comes to medical marijuana?"
McCain started chuckling. "The will of the people, my friend, is that medical marijuana is not something that the quote 'people' want," he responded. "Certain people feel strongly about this issue, and they show up at most town hall meetings, obviously feel very strongly about it. There is no convincing evidence…there's evidence, but no convincing evidence to me that medical marijuana relief of pain and suffering cannot be accomplished by prescriptions from doctors… So, when you're talking about the will of the people, you're going to have to show me the will of the people besides the will of a small number of people who feel very strongly about the issue, as obviously you do."
The questioner mentioned that voters approved of medical marijuana in a California referendum.
"There may be times when the will of the people, for example Iraq, the will of the people, unfortunately is that we withdraw from Iraq immediately or very very soon," McCain shot back. "I don't share that view of the will of the people."
There's an obvious point to make here which I'll let Pollster.com demonstrate. The "will of the people," apparently, is that John McCain be humiliated like Carrie White on prom night and be thereafter kept at quarantine distance from the White House. But stop and marvel at the marvelous incoherence on display: McCain ignores Jonathan and claims that small clusters of crazy folk support medical marijuana, and then he agrees that vast majorities of voters want MM and says it doesn't matter. Shocking, but not so much if you've read Matt Welch on McCain:
McCain's attitude toward individuals who choose paths he deems inappropriate is somewhere between inflexible and hostile.
It's odd when McCain is put forward as an heir of Goldwater, a champion of the Republican West: As Time magazine pointed out this week, voters in Western states are rapidly rolling back marijuana laws. And to McCain they either don't exist or don't deserve their say.