“The ‘Straight Talk Express’ – a brilliant p.r. stroke in 2000 – has now been shut down.”
Elizabeth Drew writes on Politico that she has changed her mind and lost her admiration of the John McCain she thought she once knew.
“I have been a longtime admirer of John McCain. During the 2000 Republican presidential primaries I publicly defended McCain against the pro-Bush
“Republicans’ whisper campaign that he was too unstable to be president (aware though I was that he had a temper). Two years later I published a positive book about him, “Citizen McCain.” ”
She states in her article that McCain singular desire to win the Presidency has reduced him to the same kind of politician he once railed against. “When he decided to run for president in 2008, he felt he couldn’t win without the support of the right, so he adapted.”
She further adds a telling line about McCain who, in a rare moment of self-reflection, wrote about himself in his 2002 memoir, Worth The Fighting For. “I didn’t decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I’d had the ambition for a long time.”
She concludes with, “McCain’s making a big issue of ‘earmarks’ and citing entertaining examples of ridiculous-sounding ones, circumvents discussion of the larger issues of the allocation of funds in the federal budget: according to the Office of Management and Budget, earmarks represent less than one percent of federal spending.
“Now he’s back to declaring himself a maverick, but it’s not clear what that means. If he gains the presidency, is he going to rebel against the base he’s now depending on to get him elected? (Hence his selection of running mate Sarah Palin.) Campaigns matter. If he means “shaking up the system” (which is not the same thing), opposing earmarks doesn’t cut it.
“McCain’s recent conduct of his campaign – his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition – has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man.
In fact, it’s not clear who he is. “