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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

“Straight talking” McCain a liability

How would you politically classify a guy who is a die-hard Iraq war supporter, who has stated openly that American troops could remain in Iraq for 100 years, voted against declaring, once and for all, that waterboarding is torture, and is against a ban on assault weapons? Is moderate the first word that comes to mind? I didn’t think so. John McCain, the heir apparent to the Republican presidential nomination, has been called a centrist by the New York Times, and has been generally thought of by some Democrats and members of the political left as a Republican we all can live with.

He’s not.

McCain has, or at least had, his merits. He attempted to push a bipartisan immigration bill through the Senate and he voted against Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He was vehemently against torture, stemming from his time spent in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. But that was a McCain of the past.

McCain said in a recent debate that he wouldn’t vote for his immigration bill if it were on the Senate floor today. And now, he’s a vocal supporter of the Bush tax cuts. But the real show of flip-flopping force comes just recently as McCain voted against designating waterboarding as torture.

McCain seems to be falling all over himself trying to pick up the support of the radical right-wingers. He’s called leaders of the religious right such as Jerry Falwell and James Dobson “agents of intolerance,” but now is courting their endorsement. Even President Bush is getting in on the action, appealing to the right-wingers by praising McCain’s convictions and calling him a true conservative.

But McCain’s real conservative credentials come from his undying, impassioned love for the war in Iraq. This is an issue that he has yet to flip-flop on, surprisingly enough. He’s a true stay-the-course kind of guy, and it seems to be doing well for him, for now.

His support of the troop surge is the issue that’s really helping him. The perceived success of the surge is one of his rallying points and is certainly keeping his pro-war candidacy afloat. If the violence levels start to increase, however, his support for the surge could conceivably bury him.

Now, a conniving, lying, opportunistic, flip-flopping politician is nothing new in this game we call presidential politics. But McCain was supposed to be different.

He was supposed to be the hardliner, the political equivalent of Rambo or the guy from Die Hard (named John McClane, ironically enough), coming into the White House and dropkicking corruption and petty partisanship. He was a “maverick,” as he’s generally referred to in the media, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

But somewhere along the line, John McCain changed his game plan. The Straight Talk Express, the pet name for his campaign tour bus, took a bit of a detour. He should be sticking to what he does best, which is seemingly the ability to compromise as shown with bills on campaign finance reform and the failed immigration bill. Instead, he’s out to prove his crazy, right wing credentials. And there’s nothing more dangerous than an extremist on a mission to become a radical extremist.

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