Over the years, Sen. John McCain has somehow earned a reputation as a maverick and a straight-shooter, someone willing to go agains his own Party, if need be.
But the evidence and the record suggests that John McCain is no maverick.
During his run for the White House in 2000, McCain referred to televangelist Pat Robertson as one of the "agents of intolerance."
And how does John McCain feel about Robertson now, as he prepares for another run for the White House?
McCain has done a 360 degree flip-flop on the subject of Pat Robertson, saying on Meet The Press today that "We agreed to disagree on certain issues, and we agreed to move forward."
No, John McCain, you and Pat Robertson have not agreed to simply "move forward." Your new-found relationship with Pat Robertson is simply a marriage of convenience, if you will.
John McCain knows that if he is to win the Republican nomination in 2008, he will need the support (financially and otherwise) of the extremist, fundamentalist base that is Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, et al.
Never mind that it was Republican extremists who trashed his wife and his daughter in South Carolina, during his 2000 primary battle with Bush. Never mind that the so-called Christian conservative base that McCain is warming up to now, made phone calls to predominantly White Households in South Carolina, saying "You know John McCain has a black baby."
From the November 20, 2000 issue of Time magazine:
"In a suite at the Greenville Grand Hyatt that afternoon, Bush's top aides came together to save the campaign, but they were really plotting a murder. It was the Bush high command, with its South Carolina auxiliary: Rove; spokeswoman Hughes, as well as Warren Tompkins, a longtime G.O.P. operative in the state; state attorney general Charlie Condon; Lieutenant Governor Bob Peeler; and former Governor David Beasley. As a participant put it later, this was the moment "we decided to take the gloves off."
The trick was to try to cast McCain as a phony, take a guy with a consistently conservative voting record and paint him as a dangerous liberal, suggest that the war hero was somehow un-American, or at least un-South Carolinian. Out came the antipersonnel weapons: "He's not one of us," and "He doesn't share our conservative values," and "He's outside the mainstream." On McCain's lack of "conservative values," Rove piped up to say, "We have to get in his face on that. He's vulnerable." Added Tompkins: "He's an insider. When I hear this populist stuff, it makes me wanna throw up."
But who could put out the message, given Bush's promise to be a uniter, not a divider? Several outside groups, including the National Right to Life Coalition, Americans for Tax Reform and the National Rifle Association, stepped right up. "Right to Life will do radio; A.T.R. will do TV ads," said one of Bush's South Carolina advisers. Even though coordinating with third-party groups is illegal, the discussion explicitly revolved around the idea that these groups could be counted on to do whatever it took--whether it was running ads, passing out literature or making phone calls--to destroy McCain and save Bush.
Briefed later that day in his hotel suite, Bush agreed to the battle plan. The next 18 days would be the ugliest of his political career. In the heart of the Confederacy, phone callers and leaflets attacked McCain's wife's drug addiction, made racial attacks on McCain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter and warned of "McCain's fag army." Bush won the state by 11 points."
By cozying up to these very same people now, John McCain has proven he is no maverick. He's proven he's more concerned about his own political viability, than he is with his wife and daughter's honor.