Will the Real John McCain Please Stand Up?

Arianna Huffington goes straight to the heart of the matter with John McCain, illustrating how the Bush clone today is still trying to wear the old Straight Talk Express/Maverick disguise of 2000.

The John McCain of 2000 was a likable enough guy; a Republican that perhaps actually did have some inkling towards reform and stepping out of line with his own party. Not that I would have been more likely to vote for that McCain if he still existed; he was still far too conservative for my liking. But at least that John McCain was someone that you could maybe be able to respect.

Maybe.

Unfortunately he bears little resemblence to the man who’s on the trail now in 2008.

The lead off point for Arianna comes as something of a revelation to me; the knowledge that neither John McCain, nor his wife, Cindy, voted for George W. Bush back in 2000. I did not know this, but then, I’m not surprised either. That John McCain was absolutely abused by Team Bush back in the 2000 primaries, and in multiple ways McCain not only departed from Bush as a politician, but seemed to hold outright disdain for the groups that Bush pandered to, and the type of politics that he deployed.

That John McCain condemned religious leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance.” That John McCain thought that Bush’s tax cuts were irresponsible, and that John McCain looked upon the political stylings of Karl Rove as beneath contempt.

But, as Huffington points out, that John McCain is dead, even his campaign response to Huffington’s original posting of the article going to prove the point.

In an update that precedes the actual post, McCain’s campaign fought back against Huffington’s assertion that McCain claimed not to have voted for Bush, refuting that incident in an attempt to erase history. But that’s exactly the point.

John McCain, for all the media love that he receives, is no longer the Maverick that once earned him the respect of people in the middle and even some on the left side of the political divide. For me personally, the deal breaker was his complete reversal on our nation’s torture policies. But there was the embrace of the Religious Right; if Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were agents of intolerance, are John Hagee and Rod Parsley somehow better?

You have role reversals on Bush’s tax cuts, and a major turnabout on his campaigning standards. Remember, this is a man who was hobbled thanks to some particularly vile push polls in South Carolina when he ran against George W. Bush. He denounced the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And yet now Karl Rove of all people is one of John McCain’s campaign advisors.

While it’s debatable that John McCain at one time had some saving graces that could still endear him to the Left, even in a kind of stodgy, he’s a conservative but I still kinda like him, way, it is important to understand that those graces are all but gone.

When it became John McCain’s time to step up to the plate, the only part of his old Straight Talk Express/Maverick persona that he chose to keep were the names. Everything else is cheap and tired old GOP and Bushism all over again.

More at Memeorandum: Crooks and Liars, The Swamp, Media Blog, DownWithTyranny!, Wonkette, Macsmind, Progressive Media USA, Hot Air, Gawker and The Trail

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