The Real McCain vs. the Newspaper McCain

Matt Welch has an excellent, link-filled article asking newspaper editorial boards to, if they are going to endorse McCain, endorse the real McCain, rather than the “straight-talking”, “maverick”, “Iraq war skeptic” that newspaper editorialists tend to tag with the name “McCain”.

Considering that McCain in New Hampshire this month railed against “negative ads” while running them, and then bragged in his victory speech that he “always told you the truth,” it seems timelier than ever to double-check, rather than rubber-stamp, the new front-runner’s honesty. Particularly since his voluminous writings are filled with warnings like: “the worst decisions I have made, not just in politics but over the course of my entire life, have been those I made to seek an advantage primarily or solely for myself.”

Read the whole thing, especially for the context and copious citations. Frankly, I’ve never been a big John McCain fan, even though I’ve predicted that he will take the Republican nomination. I don’t like his “national greatness”, give up your life for the state brand of conservative authoritarianism. I don’t like his warmongering. I don’t like the fact that a member of the Keating Five somehow has the audacity to be the guy who “stands up to corruption” and doesn’t get called on it.

That said, one of the most heartbreaking things about this election season is that John McCain is actually an attractive candidate. Not because he’s become a better candidate or politician, but rather because the rest of the field is just that bad. I will give McCain credit for his standing up to the Administration on torture. I’ll also definitely give him credit for trying to push through immigration policies that at least have some modicum of decency, as opposed to the Know-Nothing position of the rest of the Republican Party. But those are small potatoes compared to his numerous flaws as a Presidential candidate.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    Please, Alex, disagree with whatever you like, but setting up a strawman so you can knock it down is seldom a good idea, especially around OTB where you’re gonna get called on it fairly quickly.

    So let’s set the record straight: calls to end illegal immigration and reduce the illegal immigrant population is not the same as being anti-immigration. As many times as you and others repeat that lie, it’s still a lie.

    And either you know it’s a lie, and are therefore a liar, or you’re a damn fool. Take your pick.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    So let’s set the record straight: calls to end illegal immigration and reduce the illegal immigrant population is not the same as being anti-immigration. As many times as you and others repeat that lie, it’s still a lie.

    Oh really? If you were correct, then amnesty and a path to citizenship for at least some illegals would not be vilified by opponents of illegal immigration. This is due to the simple reality that there are about 12 million illegals in this country, most of whom have been here for years, and deportation is a completely unworkable (and inhumane) policy.

    Additionally, if this were truly the case, opponents of “only illegal immigration” would be pushing for an increase in the total number of legal immigrants allowed in the country, and a more streamlined process for immigration in order to provide incentives for people to immigrate legally.

    But most opponents of “only illegal immigration” vilify both of these options, which only makes sense if they’re opposed to immigration generally, not illegal immigration specificially.

  3. Boyd says:

    First, opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants does not make one an opponent of legal immigration. Another strawman. Again, just because you say that a lie is the truth doesn’t mean it’s not a lie. Just because I’m against a particular proposal doesn’t make me anti-immigration.

    Additionally, opponents of “only illegal immigration” don’t have to “push” for anything. Personally, I would support relaxing our byzantine and hellish immigration policies, as well as establishing a true guest worker program (meaning, one that isn’t just a backdoor to amnesty).

    So, where are these “most opponents” who vilify these positions? Just saying “build the fence first” doesn’t mean one is opposed to those other changes.

    Again, you’re setting up strawmen.

  4. LaurenceB says:

    For a legal Hispanic immigrant, it makes perfect sense to describe many of the “anti-illegal-immigrant” proposals as “anti-immigrant”.

    For example:
    A county near where I live has attempted to enact a law that would penalize landlords that rent to illegal immigrants. Now, the intent of the law may be reasonable, but the implementation of it – where inevitably landlords would be very hesitant to rent to hispanics – can appropriately be described as “anti-immigrant” or “anti-hispanic”.

    In a nutshell, that’s one reason why it is indeed often valid to describe those who advocate “anti-illegal-immigrant” measures, as “anti-immigrant”.

  5. Bill H says:

    I will give McCain credit for his standing up to the Administration on torture.

    Except that he didn’t really. He made a big show of doing so, but in the end the MCA passed with provisions permitting torture fully intact and McCain voted for it.