Who is John McCain?

The free ride that John McCain is getting from the mainstream media continues.  McCain has been around so long that the cozy relationship that he’s built with the media for many years is turning out to provide a super-Teflon coating for the candidate of 2008.  The flip flops, back-flips, miss-statements, and outright deceptions go uncovered by reporters eager to curry favor with the candidate.

The Nation magazine this week does a brilliant job of first acknowledging McCain’s likability, then his blatant pandering, and lying.  It’s both common knowledge and unspoken criticism that the candidate McCain of 2000 is vastly different than the candidate of 2008.  Eric Alterman and George Zornick sum it up succinctly below the fold:

Let’s take a moment to sum up: the anti-torture candidate supports torture. The pro-immigration candidate opposes immigration. The candidate who opposes tax cuts for the rich supports them. The pro-campaign finance reform candidate has a campaign that is run almost exclusively by lobbyists, and exploits loopholes in the law to skirt spending limits–even the laws the candidate wrote. The candidate who opposes “agents of intolerance” in the Republican Party embraces them. The candidate with the foreign policy experience frequently confuses Sunnis and Shiites and misreads Iranian influence in the region, but is proposing permanent war. The candidate who claims to be a fiscal conservative wants to bust the budget. The candidate who claims to take global warming seriously does not want to take any serious action to address it.

It seems as though the issue of trust is at stake.  Which McCain do we trust?  The one that panders to the various conservative Republican constituencies to win election, or the one called “maverick” that truly believes in bi-partisanship, campaign finance reform, and legitimate immigration reform?  I makes me wonder because he last time we heard from a candidate that talked the game of “moderation,” “compassionate conservatism,” and “quiet determination,” we got a completely different President Bush.  What in the world will make us think that McCain would be any different?

 On issue after issue, and from every side of the journalistic political spectrum, a campaign of deception and distortion has helped to ensure that McCain’s extreme positions and politically inspired flip-flops remain far from the consciousness of the average voter. Just as the media-promoted notion that George W. Bush was the kind of guy with whom one might enjoy a few beers managed to obscure the predictable catastrophes that lay in store for this nation once he became President, so too can the deep-seated media denial of McCain’s extremist policies and addiction to political expediency mask the fact that his victory in November would result in a continuation–and even, in some instances, an expansion–of the very policies that have brought the nation to the brink of irreversible disaster.

From this Chinese menu of disingenuous pandered policy positions, one can pick which seems most egregious.  Is it the tax cut reversal?  Is it the tax cut reversal coupled with the call for endless war?  Is it the supposed “fiscal conservative” breaking the bank with an even bigger tax cut coupled with the aforesaid endless war?  Or perhaps you object to the fact that his campaign is being run by the very lobbyists he seeks to control?  If you are into the “guilt by association” game you can always label McCain a Nazi-loving, gay-bashing, homophobic, Christian zionist supporting, war-mongering gigolo.  Whew!

Folks there is so much to be wary of in the candidacy of John McCain.  It is certain that we simply won’t know who we will get, should he pull the upset and win the election.  It is also certain that McCain will continue the love-fest with the reporters who cover his campaign who will most certainly continue to write about the McCain that they’ve largely created out of their own imaginations.  You know, the President we’d all like to have, JOHN mcWAYNE!  Beware, this is a make-believe hero they are writing about!  That Republican Dream World has brought us to the brink of disaster already.  Let’s put an end to it in November.