I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately if I still plan to vote for McCain in November. It is a fair question. In the past few weeks, I’ve lobbed more than a few spitballs at Sarah Palin, and even a few at the Man himself. So in response to the accusations that I’ve lost my conservative bona fides, let me tell you what keeps me in the camp despite this recent spate of disappointments.
My devotion to McCain has always been based on his record as a maverick. I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but it actually means something to me. It means that a man who belonged to a fiercely partisan generation of Republicans (or at least served during one) had the sack to cry bullshit on his own guys. When George W. Bush chose to give enormous tax cuts to a lot of very wealthy people during a war for “freedom”, John McCain stood up and said it was a very bad idea. When the rest of the GOP had their heads stuck in the sand on the reality of global warming, John McCain stood up and said that it should not be ignored. When the Right To Life movement threatened to repeal Roe v. Wade, John McCain dissented because “it would force women in America to undergo illegal and dangerous operations” to terminate unwanted pregnancies. When legions of Christians were following the morally diseased leadership of hatemongers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, McCain called those charlatans out for what they were. Ergo, maverick.
I think liberals have a hard time understanding why this is significant because there is dissent in their ranks all the time. They are disorganized and sloppy, their message is often a mess, and the crutch of moral relativism guarantees disagreement on every issue. Being a modern day Republican, on the other hand, is easy. Just repeat after me: Taxes bad, Flag good, Abortion bad, Guns good, Gays bad, Jesus good. There, you’re a Republican. It’s not rocket science. But John McCain, in a show of moral clarity that I find inspiring, went against the party line and said things like “yes, taxes are usually bad, but there’s a war on, you dumb assholes–sacrifice something.” He looked at issues on their merits and offered common sense solutions. This is what people meant when they praised his “straight talk”.
So fast forward to 2008, and John McCain realizes that now he has to lead the party he’s been trying to keep in check for all these years. He knows, based on the cold hard realities of Gallup, that the positions he’s taken over the past decade simply will not fly with the base. But he loves his country profoundly, and he wants to lead it to a better place. So what does he do? He tells them everything they want to hear. He says, in no uncertain terms, “Taxes bad, Flag good, Abortion bad, Guns good, Gays bad, Jesus good.” And to seal the deal, he finds a running mate who’s literally the woman Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would have created if they had access to that computer in Weird Science.
At first glance, it would appear the old man had lost his aforementioned sack, but John McCain never changed his mind on any of these issues. By bending over for the Right, the man is simply taking another in a long series of bullets for his country. He sees that Washington is broken and he wants to fix it, but he knows that the only way he can win is by pandering to the same Philistines who voted for George W. Bush in 2004. So he’s doing just that. Then, once President, he will govern like the maverick he is. He will find common ground and run a pragmatic and sensible White House. And the base won’t even notice. (They didn’t realize that Bush failed to deliver on his promises, why start now?)
Ironically, McCain is pulling the same stunt that Bush pulled in 2000, but in reverse. Instead of running as a Compassionate Conservative and then taking a hard right, McCain is running as freedom-addicted religious fundamentalist supply-sider, with every intention to find a comfortable place in the middle once he’s passed the smell test of our country’s vast panoply of moron deciders.
That is why I support John McCain, because he’s taking one for the greater good. And like those five years in a Vietnamese prison camp, the man will not break. Fellow Americans, that is the true definition of Country First.
And that is why John McCain will get my vote in November.