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If You Tell A Lie Often Enough, Eventually People Believe It
Back in 2000, John McCain was running for President as an outsider. This was necessary because Boy George Bush already had all the insiders locked up, so if his candidacy was going to have any chance at all of succeeding, he needed to attract votes from outside the traditional ultraconservative evangelical base of the Republican Party. As we well know, McCain's 2000 campaign ended in failure, but he did manage to convince many Americans that he was a different kind of Republican, a Republican who was a maverick.
The fact that 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry reportedly considered McCain as his running mate before settling on John Edwards, further bolstered McCain's image as a moderate Republican, and just the type of Republican who could give Democrats fits if he could make it through the primaries.
The only problem with this scenario is that it's all a lie. A big, fat, hairy, Republican lie.
McCain will point to rare occasions when he bucked the party leadership and went in his own direction as proof that he's not really a cookie cutter Republican dittohead. No less authorities than FactCheck.org and Congressional Quarterly Voting Studies reported that McCain had supported President Bush 95% of the time in 2007.
It is true that over time, McCain's support of the Republican party positions have not always been this strong. However, after losing so handily in 2000, McCain, 72, knew that his last chance to be elected President was in 2008. He knew that without a Bush or a Dole in the mix, he finally had the opportunity to be the candidate of the Republican establishment. Such a stature, however, does not come without a price. In order to be that candidate, he had to show Republicans that he was able to play nicely with them.
And so he has virtually marched in lockstep with the Republican Party, and all those evangelicals who flocked to Bush in 2000. Now, do you suppose that after working so hard to gain their support that McCain is going to throw it all away after he gets into office? Of course not, especially if he wants to run for re-election in a few years. So the 95% voting record with the present administration is the John McCain we can expect to see.
Of course, McCain and Palin are likely to continue to advance the lie that they are mavericks, ready to reform the government in Washington, no matter who they have to steamroll. That's the John McCain moderate voters will like. Those of us who see his appointment of Palin as his running mate as the ultimate pandering to the evangelicals of the world know the truth. It is incumbent upon us to say, "Stop! You can't have it both ways John!"
The Republicans like to say that Barack Obama is the most liberal Senator in Washington, the same way they said that John Kerry was the most liberal Senator in Washington four years ago. They say it as if being liberal is a bad thing. Liberals, however, would not have waged an ill-advised war in Iraq that has killed thousands of our brave men and women, injuring many times more.
John McCain deserves our respect as a veteran who sacrificed much for his country in Vietnam. That does not mean he deserves to be President. Tell John McCain to stop proliferating this lie. It cheapens his legacy.