Monday, May 30, 2005

Looking at John McCain in Shades of Gray

I see that my quotation of John McCain defending Kerry against the Swift Boat Liars has resulted in a number of comments on Light Up The Darkness regarding McCain's character.

With John McCain it isn't a black or white question.

This comment is useful to have a link to should the Swifties return. It may also be useful should Kerry run again in 2008 and should McCain backtrack on the truth.

As for McCain himself, he is neither the honest straight shooter the media makes him out to be or as dishonest as the current GOP leadership. Certainly McCain played politics and backtracked in his defense of Kerry, knowing that his future in the GOP depended upon being seen as a reliable supporter of their candidates.

A Republican will have a hard time, but it is not impossible to win with the opposition of the religious right, especially if their support is divided up among several people. A Republican has virtually no chance to win the nomination if seen as disloyal to the party itself, and loyalty to the party means supporting its candidates.

If not pulled by political necessity, I believe McCain would run a more honorable campaign than we have seen from recent Republicans. If McCain had won the nomination, and leadership of the party, in 2000, I do not think the party would have engaged in the type of dirty politics which now appears to be characteristic of them. Maybe we would have even had fair elections based upon the true differences in positions between the candidates, as opposed to the GOP tactic of distorting the opponent's positions and record.

Another example of how McCain differs from those running the GOP was seen in his comments on Jane Fonda and others who protested the war. While I disagree with his objection to protestors against the war, at least he sees this as an honest difference of opinion, and not a reason for the type of vicious attacks we have recently seen (including movie theaters refusing to show Fonda's movies). From yesterday's Late Edition interview:

BLITZER: Over the years, on my occasions, I've heard you speak about forgiveness, forgiving those with whom you disagreed during the Vietnam War. When a mutual friend of ours, David Ifshin, died, you gave the eulogy for him, even though he was a radical in the '60s, SDS, and went to Hanoi while you were a prisoner of war.
MCCAIN: You know, but the fact is, David Ifshin reached out to me, and I reached out to him. And David Ifshin is a man of honor and a man of decency and a man of integrity. And I was grateful for the opportunity to call him a friend.

BLITZER: And you've even forgiven Jane Fonda.
MCCAIN: She said she was sorry. If people say they were sorry, then -- I'm a great believer in redemption. All the things I've done wrong in my life and all the times I've failed, I'm a great believer in redemption.

BLITZER: When she went -- while you were a POW, did you know she visited Hanoi?
MCCAIN: Oh, yeah. They played us the tapes and showed us the pictures. But also, they showed us -- when Ramsey Clark, former attorney general of the United States, came. I think he's far more responsible than a young actress.
McCain is also not the moderate he is being depicted as, but not as extreme as those in control of the Republican Party. Unlike those in control of the Republican Party, I do not believe he is willing to destroy the democratic principles this country was founded on. I'd much rather have a true conservative like McCain, despite disagreements on many issues, than this nightmarish marriage of the religious right and neoconservatives.


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