US Politics

McCain-style moderatism

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Oh, how presidential politics can destroy someone that I used to respect.

Remember the John McCain of 2000?

The day before Virginia’s GOP primary, John McCain accused some in his party of pandering to Christian right leaders “on the outer reaches of American politics.”

Ah, now it appears that Mr. Straight Talk himself is one of those pandering to those very leaders. Consider his newfound stance on gay marriage and intelligent design:

More than a year before the general election, U.S. Sen. John McCain is backing an initiative that would change Arizona’s Constitution to ban gay marriages and deny government benefits to unmarried couples.

The Republican senator is the most prominent Arizonan to add his voice to what has become a flurry of measures competing for a place on the state’s Nov. 7, 2006, ballot.

A McCain staffer said it was the first time the senator had been formally asked to support the marriage amendment and the first chance he had to meet with supporters.

The amendment “would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state,” McCain said in a statement Thursday.

On Tuesday, though, he sided with the president on two issues that have made headlines recently: teaching intelligent design in schools and Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother who has come to personify the anti-war movement.

McCain told the Star that, like Bush, he believes “all points of view” should be available to students studying the origins of mankind.

Now, I’ll give McCain some credit for standing up against Bush’s idea of a federal constitutional amendment on gay marriage last year. But Arizona’s amendment is even worse; not only does it ban marriage between consenting adults of the same sex, but seems to create a pre-emptive strike on civil unions (as well as heterosexual relationships not under the umbrella of marriage).

And the ID stuff- well, I won’t go into detail there because it’s been discussed on this site previously. But suffice it to say, treating such pseudo-science as a legitimate scientific point of view suitable for the classroom certainly is pandering to those “on the outer reaches of American politics”.

I know many Democrats, myself included, who felt that McCain was one of the few Republicans who could be a voice against the extremists of his party. I guess I’ll have to live with the disappointment.

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Joe

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