Friday, June 27, 2008

The McPanderer Strikes Again

In 2000, John McCain went to South Carolina to campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in the midst of a debate over whether the confederate flag should fly over the state capital building. In the run-up to the primary, McCain and the other GOP candidates, when asked about their views, said that it was a local matter and that they should not weigh in. Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley came out against the flag.

After John McCain lost the South Carolina primary 52-43, he came out against the flag and confessed that he had secretly opposed the flag, but declined to speak out because he didn’t want to lose the primary:

"I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth," said the Arizona senator.

The “maverick” pandered to prejudiced voters in order to win an election. Is history repeating itself?

In 2004 and in 2006, Senator McCain voted against an amendment to ban gay marriage. He argued that the amendment violated the principles of state’s rights, the right for each state to govern itself without federal interference. He steadfastly maintained his opposition to same sex marriage (couched, of course, in support for “traditional marriage”), yet opposed these amendments.

In 2006, he came out in support of an amendment in his home state of Arizona and even cut a TV ad in support of the effort. That amendment was so extreme, forbidding any legal recognition of same-sex couples, that it became the first such amendment to fail at the ballot box.

Now it’s 2008 and John McCain is running for president again. How much does the principle of state’s rights matter to McCain? How important is it that states set their own course without interference from Washington DC?

Today, Senator McCain emailed this statement to Protect Marriage, the group behind the effort to end gay marriage in California:

"I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions."

Why the sudden willingness to interfere in state affairs? Could it be troubles with his own Republican base? For John McCain to have any chance of winning the White House in November, it is believed that he absolutely must hold the state of Ohio.

Yesterday, at a meeting with evangelical leaders in Ohio, he was told that he needed to tow their line if he wanted a shot at the White House. From Phil Burress, the bigot activist who led the anti-gay marriage movement in 2004:

"We told him that if he didn't come out and share his pro-family stances on these issues, then he can kiss Ohio goodbye," Burress said. "We can't deliver his message for him."

Shortly after the meeting, McCain issued his statement to Protect Marriage. He was also reportedly heading to North Carolina for a meeting with Rev. Franklin Graham, son of respected evangelical leader Billy Graham. He is also reportedly reaching out to Dr. Dobson, who has repeatedly stated that he will not vote for McCain because he doubt's the maverick's conservative credentials.

So it's another election and another local issue in another tough state for the maverick. This time he speaks out. Is this a principled stand? Maybe. He regretted not having spoken out in South Carolina in 2000. Or is this shameless pandering, a statement issued to appease his evangelical supporters in an important swing state? The Ohio evangelicals were certainly pleased with his actions. From the LA Times:

And, according to participants, he indicated that he would take seriously their requests that he choose an anti-abortion running mate and would talk more openly about his opposition to gay marriage -- a pledge he carried out later in the day by endorsing a ballot measure in California to ban gay marriage.

"It was obvious there were a lot of changed hearts in the room," said Phil Burress, who led Ohio's anti-gay-marriage ballot measure in 2004. "We realized that he's with us on the majority of the issues we care about."

So, is history repeating itself? Let’s hope so. In 2000, when the "maverick" pandered, he lost.


atdnext said...

Why would anyone trust anything that comes out of McBush's mouth? He's such a McLiar. I thought the "Maverick" didn't care about marriage equality... But now, he's actively supporting state amendments to ban marriage equality? How lame.

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