By now the story is well known: John Sidney McCain III, son and grandson of Admirals, while serving as a naval pilot during the Vietnam War was shot down over that country in 1967 and captured by the Viet Cong. Injured on impact he remained a prisoner for five years, two of them in solitary confinement. He was frequently tortured. In response to this torment he gave only his name, rank and serial number. The North Vietnamese, in an overt propaganda ploy offered to release POW McCain after his father was named Commander of the Pacific Command, the communists hoping to show that America cared only for the sons of privilege. John McCain refused, stating he would stay unless every man captured before him was released first. The North Vietnamese refused. Lieutenant McCain did not return home for another four years.
John McCain is the very definition of an American hero. I have voted in every presidential election for the past twenty two years and each time I have voted for the Republican candidate. John McCain, hero, is now running to be the next Republican nominee for President and if he achieves his goal it will be without my vote. I will not vote for John McCain for president. If John McCain becomes the Republican nominee, for the first time in twenty two years I will not cast a vote for president.
You see, unfortunately while Senator McCain has great personal courage and is a truly great man he also has terrible political judgment and is an absolutely awful Republican. Awful. John McCain claims to be a conservative but on issue after issue he has proven that he is not. Senator McCain's departures from conservative principles are almost as well known as Lieutenant Commander McCain's courage.
- On campaign finance reform he was the author of and chief cheerleader for the McCain/Feingold Act, the main effect of which is to limit the public's free speech during elections.
- When President George W. Bush passed his landmark tax cuts in 2001 McCain was one of only two Republican Senators to vote against it. As he campaigns for president today he says that he voted against these tax cuts because they weren't accompanied by spending cuts, but the record of the time shows this is not the case. He said at the time he was voting against the tax cuts because they favored the rich. This is rhetoric right out of the Democratic lexicon. And even if the claim were true it shows an astonishing lack of understanding about the proven track record of tax cuts: they raise revenue due to the increase in economic activity they stimulate. Tax cuts do not require spending cuts "to pay for them." They "pay" for themselves.
- He was the leader of the notorious "Gang of 14" Senators whose compromise on the filibustering of judicial nominees left open the door for more of the same in the future.
- Most notoriously Senator McCain worked hand in hand with Mr. Liberal himself, Senator Ted Kennedy to try to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which was in effect the largest amnesty program in American history and whose effect would have been a massive increase in illegal immigration into the nation. It was only stopped by a tidal wave of protest from average Americans.
The list goes on and on, on issue after issue. And with each and every one of these very damaging and very un-conservative policies Senator McCain became more beloved by the blatantly liberal mainstream media, frequently being referred to in conservative circles as the New York Times' favorite Republican. At times it seems that McCain is ashamed to be a conservative and his attempt to cast himself as one is nothing more than a mask he feels he needs to wear so that he can capture the office he so desires.
Stubbornness can be a good quality in a president but when taken to an extreme it can also be a fatal flaw. John McCain does not like it when he doesn't get his way and his reputation for nastiness and condescension behind closed doors in the Senate is common Beltway talk. I will always remember when he lost the South Carolina primary to then Governor George W. Bush in 2000. He said that he believed some "dirty tricks" had been perpetrated against him by Bush. This belief was specious at best. His concession speech on that night was one of the most ungracious and most troubling political performances I have ever seen, filled as it was with rage and rancor. He looked like a man on the verge of losing control. On that night I knew that John McCain did not have the temperament to be president.
It is odd that a man who has so many of the qualities of greatness should have in equal measure, qualities that would make his ascension to the most powerful leadership role in the world a likely calamity.
I respect John McCain. I know that John McCain is a better man than I will ever be. And I will not vote for him for President. Senator John McCain is the greatest man who could never, will never get my vote.