To the surprise of no one, John McCain was successfully nominated for a fifth term as United States Senator in Arizona. When I heard that he spent $21 million to get re-nominated, I smiled and thought of a picture of his political soul mate, Nelson Rockefeller, which appeared in National Review after losing the 1964 California Presidential Primary to Barry Goldwater. Rockefeller was wearing a “Rockefeller for President” button and the caption under the photo was, “Like it? I bought it in California for $5 million.” Of course, McCain won and Rockefeller lost, but it is truly amazing that McCain felt the need to spend such a big chunk of his wife’s fortune to defeat a weak candidate who nevertheless garnered slightly more than 30% of the vote. Ironically, without the strong endorsement of Sarah Palin, his 2008 running mate, the vote would surely have been much closer. He might have had to spend $40 million.
I watched just a few remarks made by the Senator in his victory speech. I really chuckled when he referred to his “principles.” Which principles would those be? Would it be the principle of opposing a fence along the border that was dropped in favor of building one? Would it be the principle of granting amnesty to illegal aliens that was changed to opposing amnesty? Would it be his principle of opposition to the Bush tax cuts that he switched to support for extending them? Would it be his advocacy, even authorship, of cap and trade (read cap and tax) legislation with Senator Lieberman which was flopped over to opposition in order to get re-nominated? Would it be his opposition to earmarks while at the same time scarfing up earmark money for Arizona? Would it be his vocal opposition to the Supreme Court ruling against McCain-Feingold, which turned to silence during his primary race? Would it be his Presidential campaign pledge to be a maverick and go across the aisle which changed to strong opposition in order to undercut his primary opponent?
In fairness, John McCain’s not much different than most of the Republicans and Democrats in Washington. They only have one principle that is unbreakable—do anything, say anything, promise anything to get re-elected. They think of themselves not as public servants, but as potentates. They have special places to park, special places to eat, a special gym to use and in all circumstances they are deferred to as the ruling class.
This is what John McCain and his ilk are all about. Power, prestige, and wealth (which he married into) are what give the Senator his personal significance. Like many others in Washington, power, prestige and wealth serve as their counterfeit gods.
The main stream left was, of course, glad to hear that Senator McCain had been re-elected. David Broder, the so-called “dean” of Washington, DC journalists wrote in The Washington Post on August 26:
“I did not begrudge him the $20 million he spent to win Tuesday's primary, or whatever amount it was. Nor was I bothered by the doctrinal compromises the Senator made to convince Arizona voters that he was, in fact, a conservative. McCain has always been a realist, doing what was necessary to survive a North Vietnamese prison camp or a tough political trap. His 2000 embrace of George W. Bush -- a man he had every reason to dislike -- showed his practicality, and it made possible his own presidential nomination in 2008.”
About McCain and the GOP, Broder said:
“What it does need badly is adult leadership, and it's now incumbent on McCain to demonstrate that he is prepared to fulfill this role for both his party and his country.”
With more candor and less syrup, USA Today editorialized on the same day:
“To pass muster with this year’s angry GOP electorate, McCain—an incumbent with years of service, a record of accomplishment and bipartisan admiration—renounced much of what he has stood for in a valiant and remarkable career.
“Perhaps he will return to his maverick ways. We certainly hope so.”
It’s so nice to hear that David Broder and USA Today have the best interest of the Republican Party at heart. Of course they would never support a winning Republican like Ronald Reagan. They love “me too” Republicans like McCain. Their formula never changes – fill up the GOP with RINOs so that their liberal agenda will prevail.
The liberal media is consistent, if boring. They endorse liberal Republicans in the primaries, but, of course, they don’t support them in the general election. Like Nelson Rockefeller and Hugh Scott and Chuck Percy before him, John McCain bends and compromises and crosses the aisle to help pass the liberal agenda that they love. They play the music and he dances to the tune. What’s not to love about a guy that supports your agenda and is no threat to win a national election?
But not all Republicans in the US Senate are like John McCain. In fact, there are a number of reliable, principled conservatives in the Senate, men like Jim DeMint. DeMint, who, along with a number of others, belong to a special class of Senators in Washington, DC who can’t be bought. Speaking of those who can be bought, former Republican Senator Trent Lott, now a highly paid lobbyist, agonized over the possibility of principled conservatives being elected to the US Senate in an interview with The Washington Post:
“We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples. As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”
That’s the attitude of the ruling class toward the average American. To the typical politician, getting elected is all important, and adhering to the principles of limited government as codified in the United States Constitution come in a distant second place.
God save us from unprincipled men (and women), regardless of the Party they represent.