Senator John McCain had a bad week. A really bad week. The presidential
hopeful had to apologize for a statement he made on “The Late Show With
David Letterman” on CBS.
“We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American
lives,” he told his host as he discussed the 4-year conflict in Iraq.
Many Americans took exception to the idea that lives of their
relatives, loved ones and fellow American volunteers had been “wasted.”
In fairness, McCain didn’t mean it the way it sounded to some.
Photo of the Week
U.S. Senator John McCain
Next, he raised the ire of conservative stalwarts by telling C-PAC his
schedule did not permit his attendance at their premiere annual
gathering of the faithful.
Again, this was really not a case of dissing conservative leaders. If
he went and spoke to them, he would be accused of pandering to the
right. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
It was the cover story of the April 2007 issue of Reason
, the “free
minds and free markets” periodical for those with a libertarian bent,
that capped a hellish press week. The cover sported a full-page color
photo of McCain looking tired and drained, with a blotchy face that
rested on a fat white fist. In school-bus yellow, the headline warned:
“Be Afraid of President McCain: The frightening mind of an
authoritarian maverick.” Usually he revels in the maverick label, but
I’ll bet not this time.
The 9-page spread
by Matt Welch, assistant editorial page editor for
the Los Angeles Times, portrayed the Arizona senior senator’s
philosophical view of the proper role of the federal government. “Like
almost every past McCain crusade, from fining Big Tobacco to
drug-testing athletes to restricting political speech in the name of
campaign finance reform, the [Iraq] surge involved an increase in the
power of the federal government, particularly in the executive branch,”
Welch writes as he notes that President George W. Bush has
deferentially adopted McCain’s hawkish approach to the war.
The author doesn’t miss a chance to point out a weakness that many have
cited could do in McCain, and that is his famous violent temper which
he inherited from his grandfather and father, along with his short
stature and poor academic performance. This was attributed to each of
the three McCains being a “five-star binge drinker and carouser.” To
his credit, Sen. McCain has never hidden this part of his background
and jokes about his fondness for hard partying.
I disagree with the author’s reference to McCain’s war on pork-barrel
spending as “rhetorical.” One of my fondest memories is how McCain
staunchly refused to go along with constructing the new federal court
building in Phoenix some years back like a Taj Mahal. It takes a strong
and principled politician to refuse to accept pork that is for his home
district. Ditto for his speaking out against ethanol subsidies, knowing
what that would do to him in the Iowa caucuses last time he ran.
As much as I praise McCain for his extremely high marks from
conservative organizations that rate politicians according to how much
they snatch from taxpayers’ wallets, I cannot abide the loss of my
First Amendment rights due to his campaign finance “reform” laws and
loss of my Second Amendment rights that his gun control legislation
To top it off, strategist Dick Morris is telling everyone that McCain
is fading fast and falling far behind Rudy Giuliani. The only way it
could be worse is if McCain had loosed the rats and roaches into the
wards at Walter Reed Hospital himself. Some weeks are like that.