McCain: Maverick or Just Unpredictable?

20 03 2008

Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”

Perhaps John McCain has those words plastered on the insides of his Straight Talk Express. I always thought of McCain as the minimal government loving, deficit hawk watching, military defense, pro business conservation. So, earning the undying ire of his conservative base has always struck me as more than a bit odd. But Hendrik Hertzberg in the New Yorker summed up why McCain is as dizzyingly unpredictable for liberals as he is maddening to conservatives.

Over the years, McCain has performed this delicate task with some success, pairing up positions like Noah bringing animals aboard the ark. He plumped for lobbying reform but has lobbyists running his campaign. He opposed enacting Bush’s tax cuts for the rich but supports extending them indefinitely. He supported a “patients’ bill of rights” but refuses to treat health care as itself a right. He voted against banning same-sex marriage in the Constitution but favors banning it state by state. He once disdained the likes of the Reverend Jerry Falwell (who blamed AIDS on God’s alleged hatred of a “society that tolerates homosexuals”) but now embraces the likes of Pastor John Hagee (who called the Roman Catholic Church “the great whore”). He was for starting the Iraq war but against the way it was being fought; now he’s for the way it’s being fought but against discussing whether it should have been started.

I am at a lost for what this means for McCain’s soul. But I am sure Pat Robertson has an opinion on that.

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