06 October 2008

Why you don't sell out

John McCain was seen a man of principle. All politicians have to backflip occasionally, and McCain was forgiven his involvements with the Keating Five and other not-a-good-look measures of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton years because he was basically a man of principle. When he was brought down by his own side in 2000, it was fair to assume that the Republicans would put him in reserve if things really went pear-shaped for them, which they have.

However, the Republicans have so tarnished the McCain image that they may as well not have bothered with him. More to the point, McCain should have stood up to them and built an insurgency, as Reagan did in taking out the East Coast moderates in the 1970s. McCain had become an old man in a hurry.

The trouble with selling out is that when you ultimately lose, you lose everything.

McCain endorsed US torture and its rampantly contradictory and silly immigration policy, he has signed onto All War All The Time, and is owned by K Street. His campaign is winding down in marginal states. he only lively thing about this moribund campaign is his running mate, Spiro Agnew in drag, who makes a mockery of his experience. She gives hope only to those determined that George W. Bush is looked upon favourably compared to those who follow him. All Obama need do to seal his victory would be to call a vote for "McCain "Re-electing the Republicans".

Michael Schaffer thinks McCain will be forgiven, and he may well be right. Palin will have to crawl out of the rubble of that campaign and she'll do so by bagging McCain; people who castigate McCain for selling out will rush to defend his essential decency. It's just a shame that this decency looks moribund in the face of challenges now before America: the financial bailout that follows the ethical one, the All War All The Time foreign policy, bloat and listlessness generally. It's as though McCain had nobody to turn to when he sought to craft a post-Bush Republican legacy.

Mind you, had McCain stuck to some semblance of principle he'd have been as stuffed as this guy. Being in an exhausted political movement can be a real bastard.

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