Nothing is trendier these days than trashing Arizona’s senior Senator and former presidential nominee John McCain. Yeah, he can act like a cranky old codger at times and he no longer seems to be the mavericky moderate of 2000. But misrepresenting his positions seems a step too far. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Yesterday McCain said that he accepted that repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was now the law and that he would work to see that implementing the repeal had as little negative impact as possible on America’s military. Here’s some of what he actually said.
“It’s the law. I’ve got to do whatever I can to help the men and women who are serving…cope with this situation.”
That he will devote his efforts to “make sure that the impact on morale, retention, recruitment and battle effectiveness of the military is minimized as much as possible.”
So why raise this? Well, for two reasons. First, McCain is demonstrating patriotic maturity in accepting as the law of the land something he opposed and seeking to see that it is implemented in a way that is in the best interest of those affected. Whatever other criticisms I may have of him, God bless him for this reasoned and decent approach. The second reason for raising this is the way it is being disseminated by some.
Politico reports McCain’s position as an indication that he now “supports” repeal of DADT. HuffPo is saying that McCain appears to have “changed his tone” on repeal. The implication is that the Senator is once again flip-flopping on the issue. That strikes me as a mischaracterization of his position.
Yes, he once said he would be friendly to repeal if recommended by the military, then criticized the military report on repeal and voted against it. For that he receives nothing but boos from this keyboard. But, for yesterday’s gracious acceptance that his view did not prevail and his vow to work for positive implementation, let’s give him his due.
Edit: As originally written I quoted HuffPo as saying McCain appeared to have changed his “tune”. Their article actually said that he appeared to have changed his “tone”. The correction has been made.
Contributor, aka tidbits. Attorney in complex litigation, death penalty defense and constitutional law. Former Nat’l Board Chair: Alzheimer’s Association. Served on multiple political campaigns, including two for U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-OR). Contributing author to three legal books and multiple legal publications.