No one can take away that John McCain has a public image as a nice guy or is viewed as a true American hero. Unfortunately, his record since his two terms in congress and four terms in the senate has not always really lived up to this public image.
Few remember that John McCain only narrowly survived the Keating Five Scandal of the 1980's involving the corrupt dealings of Charles H. Keating and the Lincoln Savings & Loan. Keating was responsible for the collapse of Lincoln, yet gave McCain and four other members of congress over $1.3 million in political contributions to help influence banking and other legislation. McCain later attempted to whitewash his role in this scandal by becoming the poster boy in the congress for campaign finance reform.
However his most famous piece of legislation, the Feingold-McCain Act of 2002 was written by McCain more as an act of revenge against George Bush for his campaign's skillful use of particular forms of donations to help defeat McCain in the January 2000 South Carolina primary, which set back McCain's political ambitions for the White House by eight years.
Often McCain attempted to inspire some sort of "maverick" reputation while in public office, although this hardly squared with his overall 82% conservative voting record given him by the right wing American Conservative Union. In fact, one analysis by Voteview even placed McCain as having the second most conservative voting record among those in the senate in the 109th congress. Is this really any "maverick" record?
The real extent of McCain's "maverick" image was often little more than normal bipartisanship on a few issues, or just some attempt to whitewash his Keating scandal role or some part of his ongoing political feud with George Bush until McCain decided that playing the role of a Bush "yes man" since 2004 and becoming a super supporter of Bush's Iraq War might just better serve his path to becoming the Republican nominee in 2008.
If anything, McCain has only been a typical manipulative politician playing up any issue that might work to his advantage rather than any refreshing new personality for American politics.
And McCain's attempt to appear as tough on crime by strongly supporting capital punishment and mandatory sentences doesn't really square with his opposition to hate crimes laws making it a federal felony to assault or murder persons based on their sexual orientation. Why attempt to appear to be a law and order candidate on one hand, but then condone violence and lawlessness against sexual minorities? Such is just part of the McCain hypocrisy on many issues.
Publicly, McCain has sometimes given in to some creepy notions that give some disturbing insights into his real personality. He once publicly used the term "gook" to refer to his Vietnamese captors. He once joked that Chelsea Clinton was "so ugly" because her father was Janet Reno. And more recently, McCain sang a parody of the Beach Boys with "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb Iran", when asked about the possibility of military action against Iran.
Given McCain's ultra-hawkish military views on Iraq, this is a really disturbing insight into a potential president who might way too easily flex American military muscle while in office. McCain is certainly the most pro-war of any leading candidate running for president this year. Voters should be really wary of voting for any candidate so obsessed with the flexing of American military muscle around the world.
A vote for McCain is almost certainly a vote in favor of starting some new war somewhere. Is this what Americans really want? Is this really a "maverick" politician who should have great appeal to many Democrats or independent voters, or just a typical disturbing politician, hell bent on militarism? .
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!