Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Maverick No More

I had intended to post a much longer comment on John McCain's recent activities, but there's just no time. Suffice it to say that I'm very, very disappointed. Although we differ on a whole raft of issues, during the 2000 campaign I admired his independence, his forthrightness, and even his occasional (at least apparent) unscriptedness. He called his campaign the "Straight Talk Express" and the name seemed to fit. It was gratifying to hear a conservative Republican speak out against Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance" (a remark that, though both honest and accurate, was also grossly impolitic and may have cost him the nomination), and again later to stand up to his party's disastrous tax cuts:

I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us.
That was then.

As E. J. Dionne writes, "McCain has decided the only way he'll ever be president is as the Republican nominee." This means that he has to play nice with the powers that be in a party controlled by agents for monied interests and the Religious Right. His maverick days are over.

The one-time opponent of tax cuts for the wealthy voted last month to extend cuts on dividends and capital gains taxes.

Now we hear that he's accepted an invitation to speak at this year's commencement ceremonies at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. I'm guessing he won't be calling Falwell an "agent of intolerance" this time around.

Falwell, of course, hasn't changed. But McCain has.