I have always had trouble warming up to the political ego named John McCain. It seems to me that the man has exceeded all his war hero worship credits long ago. He lacks principle and he lacks the intuitive and academic intellect to define our problems, much less to propose a solution. He is not a charismatic leader and he makes for a grumpy, testy, self interested follower. If you’ve bested him in battle, such as Bush and Obama have, he will sulk initially and then seek retribution by opposing myriad presidential initiatives. It doesn’t matter if those policies are conservative or liberal, brilliantly plotted or inordinately inept. When questioned, he is quite capable of reciting talking points and demeaning the integrity of all opposed. But he is not good at evaluating situations and he is even worse at defining approaches to those situations.
Of course, now the Tea Partiers have him in the crosshairs. They consider him to be less than a conservative and quite possibly a conspirator with the left. His actual voting record is spotty, at best, and he has been identified negotiating with liberals (not lately,however). He says he is against big government, but now he is aligned with voices of other affected southern politicos to ramp up big government (what???) against the Gulf oil spill and unrestrained immigration. The irony here is obtuse. It says leave us alone unless. . .
Now he finds himself in a battle for his political life. J. D. Hayworth, a rag tag political blowhard who confuses conservatism with regression, has forced McCain to lurch far to the right. For reasons not immediately obvious, McCain, at 73 years of age, cannot consider retirement. He reminds me of the Dylan Thomas poem for his dying father wherein he must “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Most of us saw the twilight of McCain’s career when he chose Mrs. Palin to absurdly pose as his running mate in the 2008 election instead of choosing someone actually intelligent enough and qualified to be Vice-President. His motto, “Country First”, was often and justifiably mocked to mean “Me, First”.
Palin, of course, continues to expose her incredible lack of acquired intellect in rambling speeches across the country, while McCain grouses and flails against the “dying of the light.” No longer the maverick, the negotiator, the abused and misunderstood centurion of the Senate, he is now simply a prick, mouthing lusty, if not productive, epithets that are not only pathetic but untrue. He singular campaign against health care reform and now Wall Street reform, depicts him to be a tiny man with nothing to live for but spite. His public attacks on President Obama are as trite as they are meaningless. And Obama had it right when he told McCain on national TV that the “campaign is over, John.”
But John was the maverick throughout the Reagan era and the Clinton era. He opposed Reagan’s efforts to introduce ground troops into Lebanon but generally supported later intrusions in the Middle East. He was in the forefront of American opinion, looking, dare I say it, presidential.
But where is he now? He is little more than a sniper, nipping at the heels of the man who crushed him only a year and a half ago. His political stances seem superficial, not so much principal as belligerence. Promenading with his pocketful of political attacks and mean spirited grudges, John McCain has left the proverbial building, a building that should only house people who have the best interests of the country at heart. But, then again, those people are rare.
Good night, old nemesis. Two wars of unrelenting attrition, a global climate and environmental disaster, an economic recession of inestimable proportions and a personal battle against all those who would dare oppose thee have done thee in. Go Home (where ever that is), enjoy your nine houses and your indecent wealth. Those of us committed to progressive ends will not miss you. In the end, being a war hero did not qualify you to be a Senator, least of all a Senator from Hell. . .
May 19, 2010