In this day and age of non-stop news does a man running for President get away with accusing his opponent of everything under the sun while staying relatively clean, even though his views on most major issues have changed? I have not been able to figure it out, but I feel I must point out some of the issues John McCain, the self-proclaimed "straight talker," has flipped on, mostly over the past couple years, as he has changed his political persona to fit whatever wind happens to be blowing. But somehow, many people still see him as a "maverick" who "sticks to his deep, rock solid beliefs." Nothing could be further from the truth, and I suspect the Democrats will begin to point these out more and more as the right and McCain's campaign have all but thrown issues into the garbage disposal as they have begun the big attack campaign we have seen the last two elections (Rovian politics at its finest this past week).
McCain has flipped on his constant urging of a issues campaign...this past week has proved he will endorse just about any ad they think will work, regardless if it is true or not. Case in point, how low is the statement that Obama "is willing to lose a war in order to win an election" because he is for a timetable? A despicable statement, in my mind (for what it is worth, the Iraqi Prime Minister essentially endorsed the Obama plan). Or that they used comments from one of the Marines in Iraq who said Obama did not spend any time with troops, but only went for photo-ops...the Marine's letter was recanted, but the ad still ran. And then there is the one about the Obama celebrity. Yes, Obama draws large crowds, as he is a relative newcomer who is a curiosity for many people. But what about the real TV and movie star in the campaign...let's not forget McCain hosted "Saturday Night Live," appeared on "24" and made an appearance in the movie "The Wedding Crashers." His sudden lack of memory of these jaunts into Hollywood is almost laughable.
McCain is the "foreign policy expert," with decades of experience. How many times has he confused Sunni and Shia clans, or Iraq and Iran, in press conferences, or forgotten that the country my grandfather came from in the 1920s, Czechoslovakia, is no longer a country?
But now for the list. Here are some of the issues voters need to take into consideration when voting for President, and may be confused as to where McCain stands (since he has been on both sides of all these issues):
- the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy
- the status of Roe v Wade
- gay marriage
- finance reform (and, by the way, had over 50 current lobbyists working with his campaign)
- drilling for offshore oil
- torture (was against, but voted to allow Bush to use certain methods he opposed)
- certain members of the Christian right being "agents of intolerance;" suddenly they are good guys (eg Jerry Falwell)
- will run an issues, clean campaign
- confederate flag in South Carolina (first thought it was offensive and thought they should not fly it, now doesn't have a problem with it)
- immigration amnesty
- English as the national language
- at a primary debate on Nov 28, 2007, said "voters do not trust us (GOP) because of our failure with Katrina and failure in Iraq." Now claims Iraq is won.
- claimed he would not raise taxes to bail out Social Security, then said everything, including raising taxes, would be on the table when trying to fix it, then came out and said "No new taxes." This all happened in the past month. What's it going to be, John?
- blasted Obama for his view that if we had hard, solid intelligence of where someone such as bin Laden is in Pakistan we would hit it militarily even if the Pakistanis were against the action, but then praised a Predator strike which killed an upper level leader of al Qaeda in the Pakistan mountains
- the use of medical marijuana
- the estate tax (or death tax as the GOP calls it); he was for the continuation of the tax, and is now against it
- stand on Cuba (he said in 2000 he would want to normalize relations with Cuba, now does not want to talk with Cuban leaders, but keep embargo)
There are many YouTube videos showing the endless stream of flips and flops. The point is, McCain is the one who is doing and saying anything that will get him elected. He is no maverick, he is an old-time politician who is recreating himself at will to get the job. Certainly Obama has changed positions on some issues as well, but I suspect that list is not nearly as impressive as McCain's. I do fear that if history holds true, two things will happen: the allegations that Obama flips on 'everything' will get a grip with voters just as they did against Kerry (when Bush flipped on countless issues himself), and that negative campaigning will also work with the average American voter. John McCain is NOT the kind of politician he likes to claim, and his experience is not a saving grace. Look where the enormous amount of experience in the Bush foreign policy and national security team has gotten us...botched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a team that ignored the Israeli-Palestinian talks for years when so much progress was made under Clinton, North Korea developed the bomb, continued civil war and genocide in Africa, and Iran had an all but free reign for several years as all U.S. attention focused on Iraq, leading to the present status of issues with Iran. McCain went along with all this, showing how his judgment is as flawed as the Bush judgment when it comes to foreign policy. I simply cannot buy into his experience argument, and lo and behold what Obama has been talking about is looking like the better approach, where talking with leaders and nations makes some sense (the latest round of diplmacy with Iran, engaging recently with North Korea, etc). But I do not know if this time around the average voter will be fooled once again. We will see.