John McCain has just wound up his latest "Straight Talk Express" tour and his efforts to "reintroduce" himself once again to voters. In fact, if anything, McCain has probably been the most expert at "reinventing" who he really is every time he finds himself in some difficult political position. In fact, McCain has been on so many sides of so many issues that he could probably even debate himself if he really wanted to generate some publicity to the voters.
From 1982-1987, when McCain received political contributions from the corrupt Charles Keating who was responsible for Lincoln Savings & Loan Scandal, McCain attempted to change his image into some sort of campaign finance "reformer" to shake off his image as one of the "Keating Five" in Congress. This was probably McCain's first attempt to create a new image for himself when scandal threatened his political career.
McCain still plays up his reformer image, and complains about special interest influence to voters, although he has 59 lobbyists involved in his campaign raising funds or providing political advice to his presidential campaign.
McCain offered an apology for only his one vote against a 1983 bill to establish an MLK holiday, and never mentioned to voters that he also opposed establishing an MLK holiday in not only 1983, but 1987 and 1989 as well. McCain also has one of the worst records in the Senate on any issue involving civil rights legislation, and even had an advisor, Richard Quinn, who was a South Carolina political advisor in 2000 that was a supporter of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on his campaign. McCain's record on civil rights legislation is anything but moderate, but on the extreme side of most Republican legislators. Even Ronald Reagan and George Bush condemned David Duke, while McCain put one of Duke's strongest supporters in this key campaign position by comparison.
McCain would like voters believe that he can manage the serious problems with the economy such as the problem with so many home foreclosures. Yet McCain offers no real answers to these people who were often victimized by scam loan artists. McCain and his wife own eight homes and McCain is one of the wealthiest men in the Senate, and is far out of touch with the problems that many working people have with trying to buy a home.
McCain also wants voters to believe that he is somehow "pro-environment". Yet the League Of Conservation voters gave McCain a 0% voting record on issues dealing with the environment last year. All of McCain's double talk about supporting the environment just doesn't square with his record.
Privately many of McCain's Republican friends in the Senate are worried about his erratic and wild personality, and fits of temper. McCain attempts to portray himself as some sort of level headed "moderate" or mainstream "conservative", but his goofy fits of anger and rage make even many military suppliers wary of contributing campaign funds to his presidential campaign. He's simply viewed as being too unpredictable, even though he's the most hawkish of any Republican candidate who ran for president this year. McCain was even rated by one conservative organization as the second most conservative Senator during one year.
McCain has long attempted to portray himself as something of a "moderate" or "maverick" within his party. However the extent of his bipartisanship is hardly any stronger than other Republican member of the Senate. In fact while McCain long attempted to question the Bush Administration's support of torture, McCain was quick to voice support for Bush when Bush vetoed a ban on torture of political prisoners. McCain wants it both ways on this and many other issues.
McCain's latest ads only focus on his past such as his POW background, and really offer no real vision for the future. Even conservative commentator George Will termed McCain's views on economics as "adolescent" compared to what is really expected of someone who is a serious presidential contender.
McCain may hope that voters will be taken in by all the myths about him. But at some point all of the double talk, rather than "straight talk" will only catch up with the McCain campaign. You simply can't keep up fooling some of the people forever who you really are.
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!