The Cynicism Of John McCain -by Josh

08/29/08 7:04PM
The Cynicism Of John McCain
I’ve never bought into the “experience” argument with regard to the presidency. There is no job on the planet that can adequately prepare someone to be President, so no one can be considered truly experienced for this job. Good judgment and values are far more important in a presidential candidate than experience. After all, look at all of the experience among the members of the Bush Administration, and look at the horrendous mess they have gotten us into.

But, the experience argument is really beside the point with regard to McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running-mate. What this decision demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt is that John McCain has no integrity whatsoever and will do or say anything in order to get elected. McCain has spent the last few months making the argument that Barack Obama is “dangerously inexperienced” and that electing him would put the country at risk. How can he then turn around and put Sarah Palin (a woman with zero experience in national politics and a grand total of 2 years experience as the Governor of Alaska) a heartbeat away from the presidency? There is one (and only one) explanation for this unexpected move. John McCain is a pure politician and believes that putting Palin on the ticket will help him with key demographics that he needs to win in November.

This conclusion should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed McCain’s career over the years. The fact that McCain has been able to reinvent himself as a “maverick” and “straight talker” is one of the most impressive PR jobs in recent history. This is a man who was investigated and cited by the Senate Ethics Committee for interfering with a federal investigation of Lincoln Savings & Loan – a bank which eventually went bankrupt and cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars. Five Senators (the infamous “Keating Five”) were cited and investigated in the matter – three of them had their careers ended, while one of them re-branded himself as a “straight-talker” and is now the Republican nominee for President.

The only thing that is surprising about McCain’s selection of Palin is that he believes the American people will either not notice or will overlook the blatant hypocrisy and political opportunism that this move so clearly demonstrates. Does McCain really expect us to believe that his decision was motivated by the desire to select the most qualified person for the job of Vice President?

The selection of Palin is obviously motivated by two factors. First, many recent polls have indicated that a large percentage of Hillary Clinton’s female supporters have not lined up behind the candidacy of Barack Obama. McCain’s selection of Palin is an obvious ploy to try and win over feminist voters who feel slighted by Hillary’s loss. McCain supporter Mike Huckabee stated today, “Governor Palin … will remind women that if they are not welcome on the Democrat’s ticket, they have a place with Republicans.” What could be more simple-minded and cynical than this statement? (“Hey you disgruntled women, never mind that one candidate is for the war in Iraq and one has been consistently against it, never mind that one is for universal healthcare and one is against it, just vote for us because we put a woman on the ticket!” Man, they must really think the women they’re targeting with this argument are stupid. If I was a woman I’d be enraged by such an obvious insult to my intelligence.)

The second factor is McCain’s need to compete with the “historical candidacy” of Barack Obama. McCain fears that the standard ticket of two old white guys isn’t going to cut it against a candidacy that has captured the imagination of the world. So, what does he do? He goes out and tries to create his own “historical candidacy”.

There is nothing daring or “maverick” about this move. All it does is confirm the fact that John McCain is the ultimate Washington insider. He has been playing the game for decades and will stop at nothing in pursuit of the brass ring he’s had in his sights for so many years. John McCain is the embodiment of the cynical Washington status quo, and anyone who believes that he would provide anything but “more of the same” is simply not paying attention.

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