John McCain Enshrined In The G.O.P. Hall Of Shame

As the Republicans continue their post-mortem of the November, 2012 election, an ever-growing chorus of voices—from members who call themselves Conservatives—are calling for drastic changes in how the party should operate in order to win in the future.

Sadly, it isn’t the “batten down the hatches, full speed ahead” type of call you would expect from principled-politicians—isn’t that an oxymoron?—who actually stand for the things that earned them the support of Conservatives and organizations such as the T.E.A. Party. Instead, we are hearing calls of retreat and compromise, if not total abandonment.

Enter John McCain, the next member of the Gutless On Principle Hall of Shame.

McCain has a long history of being a “maverick” within the Republican party. Unfortunately, maverick is really code for political recreant. Since the election, he has exhibited cowardess in several areas important to the Conservative base he claims to represent.

In a FOX News interview during Thanksgiving week, McCain called for the Republican Party to build a “bigger tent” when it comes to the issue of abortion. According to the Senator from Arizona, protecting the unborn is open to “differing views” that should be “respected.”

“When you say leave the issue alone, you would allow, you’d say, freedom of choice?” the Fox News host asked.

“I would allow people to have those opinions and respect those opinions,” McCain answered. “I’m proud of my pro-life position and record. But if someone disagrees with me, I respect your views.”

Well hey, Obama believes that babies who survive the abortion procedure should be left to die in order to protect abortion rights. I guess McCain has to “respect” his different point of view, right?

A few days later, McCain does his best jellyfish impersonation—which is to say, spineless—when he joined the Boehner camp in support of higher taxes on the wealthy in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. Unlike Boehner, McCain didn’t turn his back on the T.E.A. Party when he flipped on the tax issue; he referred to them as “tea party hobbits” from the Senate floor the year after they helped his party retake the House in 2010. Instead, he was turning his back on a pledge he made in his 2010 reelection campaign when he pledged to oppose tax increases.

Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he changed his mind on taxes. In a paraphrase of the famous John Kerry quote, McCain was actually opposed to the tax cuts before he was for them during his presidential campaign.

In a third example of McCain’s credentials for induction, last week he expressed support for modifying the filibuster rules used to protect the interests of the minority party in the Senate. Considering that he is currently a member of the minority party, you would think he wouldn’t be much of a fan of such a move, but you would be wrong. On this issue, he is apparently closer to Harry Reid than he is Mitch McConnell. But most troubling about his change of heart is what prompted it. The comment came after McCain criticized his Republican colleague Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for holding up the National Defense Authorization Act.

“I find it disappointing that one member of the United States Senate feels that his particular agenda is so important that it affects the lives and the readiness and the capabilities of the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to defend this nation,” McCain said. “I think it’s hard to answer to the men and women in the military with this kind of behavior, but I will leave that up to the senator from Kentucky to do so.”

“Much to my dismay,” McCain said of Paul’s objection, “it lends some credence to the argument that maybe we ought not to do business the way that we are doing here in the United States Senate.”

McCain has never been one of the best representations of Conservative values. His American Conservative Union lifetime ranking in 2008—when he was the first Republican to lose to Obama—was a rather mediocre 82.3. During his career as a Washington insider member of Congress, that ranking has been as low as 65 as it was in 2006.

By the way, is it just me or is it a coincidence that maverick and mediocre both start with the letter “m?” Things that make you go hmmmmm. . .

John McCain is a war hero, but he has been a political coward when it comes to his Conservative convictions.

Please join me as we enshrine our latest inductee in to the Gutless On Principle Hall of Shame . . . Senator John McCain.


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