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Posted by on Jun 30, 2008 in Politics | 6 comments

The Many Reversals of John McCain

This is a crucial post from Crooks and Liars for disillusioned Dems (like me) and for anyone, anywhere who has considered voting for McCain (unlike me).   It’s extracted from a June 19 post by Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report, the The Carpetbagger Report.

I’ve been disappointed by Obama’s recent stance on several issues, aptly summarized here, and have acknowledged the accuracy of the following:

As a result of Obama’s reversal on FISA, his very noticeable change in approach regarding Israel, his conspicuous embrace of the Scalia/Thomas view in recent Supreme Court cases, and a general shift in tone, a very strong media narrative is arising that Obama is abandoning his core beliefs for political gain (Salon).

But though I am all for casting a cold eye on Obama’s policy shifts and inconsistencies, I don’t wish to imply that he is less consistent than McCain. Let’s just review the list which Crooks and Liars has helpfully compiled:

[B]ack in 1999, McCain was walking a tightrope by calling himself pro-life on a personal level while at the same time assuring pro-choice voters for pragmatic reasons that “in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade.” Yet, today, McCain says bluntly right on his website that “John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

And that’s not all. There’s many many more. In fact, here’s an even longer list. McCain has reversed his former positions to fall more in line with the Bush administration so many times now it’s really hard to tell Bush and McCain apart  (Crooks and Liars)


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  • runasim

    Water has just been turned into wine, and a post about McCain has turned into anoher rant anout what’s wrong with Obama.

    I never thought I’d see an example of boring and an example of destructive in the same article.
    Miracles do happen, I see. Was it Dodd ‘s divine hand?



    Please feel free to skip my posts in future. I swear I won’t mind.


    PS. I am an Obama supporter. Doesn’t mean that I don’t intend to call him out when he reverses himself. I will be doing that on a regular basis, so see above.

    Note: one paragraph re: Obama’s reversals weighed against one long paragraph about McCain’s. I’m trying to get Dems who don’t support him (because they’re still bitter) to see why they should. But as I said above, feel free to skip them, especially if you’re already a True Believer.

  • runasim

    Maybe I’m just politics bruised. and over-reacted. .
    The intro to your post put me off, so I didn’t even read the whole thing through., just a glance. That’s inexcusable, of course. Mea culpa.

    I really don’t put that much faith in any of these flip-flop stories, whether it’s about Obama or McCain or anyone else.
    I think it can be a credit to someone who recognizes he was wrong or circumstances have changed, and – changes his mind

    At the same time, political expediency and pandering undeniably play a role.
    I just don’t want to jump to blanket conclusions – about anybody.
    That’s why I end up defending people I have no intention of voting for, sometimes,, and at other times refuse to condemn on the basis of the latest headline or blog post.

    I tend to hold back and watch where someone is going instead of judging the quality of every step he takes.
    At other times still, I get carried away, and break my own rules.

    Post away!


    McCain is someone I used to admire. I know his record much better than Obama’s. He has back-pedalled from every principled stand he has ever taken.

    So I wanted to draw a contrast. Obama is tacking center-wards out of what I consider to be a mistaken belief that he must do so to win. If I criticize Obama — and I will — it will be to add my voice to the number seeking to remind him of the wishes of the supporters he can count on and to suggest that perhaps he shouldn’t work so hard at avoiding criticism from the likes of Fox News.

    I mentioned my disagreement with him on certain points to preempt the argument ‘but Obama flip-flops too!’ McCain’s blatant pandering has received far too little attention. People assumed that this is what he MUST do to attract the people on the right who used to hate him.

    I don’t want Obama to follow the example of John Kerry or Al Gore or indeed Bill Clinton. I am so tired of Democrats who won’t stand up for a liberal agenda. Maybe it’s the only way to win — I get that. But I wonder if Dems wouldn’t do better if they didn’t concentrate on explaining that their objectives are a necessary corrective to Bush.

    So you’ll probably see me continuing to criticize Obama when he tracks what I consider to be GOP talking points. I don’t expect him to be a ‘far left progressive,’ but I do hope to see him stand up for civil liberties, an energy policy that takes account of the environment and the threat of global warming, and a war policy that is designed to repudiate unilateral actions or preemptive war. When he’s criticized for being ‘soft’ on national security, I’d like to hear him say: ‘You’re mistaken about what is required for national security. Here’s how I plan to do it differently AND why my approach is better.’

    I would like to see a Democratic landslide. Obama’s focus groups may indicate that it’s not politically expedient, but I’d like to see him offer a clear alternative to more of what we’ve had for the last eight years.

  • runasim


    Post away, but I hope you realize that not every Democrat is on the same spot on the Left-Right- scale. I am much more centrist than many who call themselves progresssives these days. While I usually share their goals, I often don’t like their tactics.
    That’s because I’m pragmatic. It’s one thing to have goals and ideals,but it’s another to implement them and to take responsibility for the consequnces.
    ONLY criticizing, (someone called it ‘hammering’) doesn’t get the job done, and if it did, at what price? Those are things I take seriously
    Not that I’m shy about criticizing, but I do try to put it in a broader context, at least if my temper is under control.

    I’ll look forward to your posts.

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