….and can McCain Get Some?

Trying to undermine your opponents credibility is one thing. What can McCain do to make himself something other than the Unbama? David Ignatius thinks McCain should get back to his roots as the “maverick.”

When he says he preferred political defeat for himself to military defeat for his country, he is telling the truth. With an ex-POW’s stubbornness, he could not abide the notion of failure and dishonor for U.S. forces.
But what makes McCain’s account of his captivity truly remarkable is not the heroism but the humility. In page after page, he praises men who he insists were braver than he was. Though even the toughest prisoners were broken by torture, he cannot forgive himself for signing his own confession….McCain’s triumph, finally, was that he got over Vietnam. He didn’t fulminate against antiwar activists….He accepted the ways America had changed in his absence. He didn’t bear grudges. He had finally grown up. McCain wrote in a magazine article soon after his homecoming in March 1973: “Now that I’m back, I find a lot of hand-wringing about this country. I don’t buy that. I think America today is a better country than the one I left nearly six years ago.”
That healing gift is what McCain, at his best, brings to the presidential race — not the brass marching band of military valor but the tolerance of someone who has truly suffered. It’s evident in his achievements as a senator: He had been tortured himself, so he campaigned, against intense pressure from the Bush administration, for a ban on torture; he had been caught as one of the “Keating Five” in a sleazy campaign finance scandal, so he defied his party and became a crusader for campaign finance and ethics reforms.
What’s damaging the McCain campaign now, I suspect, is that this fiercely independent man is trying to please other people — especially a Republican leadership that doesn’t really trust him. He should give that up and be the person whose voice shines through the pages of his life story.

Of course, he’s done that already, which is why he’s a known quantity. What we’ve got going on here is Ignatius pining for the “maverick” of old. The one embraced by many in the media because he was butting against those they loathed: GWB and the GOP. To boot, he championed causes that they, if no one else, held dear (like campaign finance reform). Now, even though McCain may not agree with the GOP “base” on some things, he still needs them to have a shot at winning and he recognizes that. So, like it or not, this is a marriage of convenience. Because the bottom line is that decision to be made is between Obama or Unbama.

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donroach
donroach
13 years ago

This is a truly sad reality. Who would have thought any race featuring McCain would cast him as Un-HisOpponent?
I always respected McCain even if I thought he was a little more left on issues than I’d like. Now, I really don’t think I can vote for him because I’m trying to decide to vote For a pretty liberal ‘hope’ (read: rhetoric) guy who, if anything seems to bring a different political air with him, or for a man who used to be a ‘maverick’ and the thing most people respected most was his ability to butt the GOP from time to time, as you put it.
Earlier this year, I made the decision to vote for Obama which is almost an anti-’04 vote for me really. In ’04 I struggled to vote for Dubya versus writing in Bob Dole or something to that effect. Dubya will always be a great disappointment for me, because he held a lot of views I hold but just didn’t seem to execute them well. So, I’m also resigned to give an opposite way of dealing with things a chance.
Bad reasoning for sure, but when McCain has morphed into Unbama…you’re not left with much of a choice. And sadly, I’m just a little beat down from hoping our current President can truly right the ship.

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

Marc,
I have to disgree with several areas of this comment.
First, the “what’s damaging the McCain capaign now” quote.
Despite what the national media would have you believe, McCain and Obama are in a statistical dead heat nationally.
And look at the battleground states. McCain is ahead in the battleground states of Florida and Missouri.
Rasmussen has McCain up 10 in Ohio and 1 in Virginia. Quinnipiac has McCain up 2 in Colorado. He trails Obama by less than 5 points in Michigan.
So what’s “hurting the McCain campaign right now”? Only that some members of the national media want to ordain the most liberal and inexperienced member of the U.S. Senate to become our next President.
As for the Unbama comment, Obama’s biggest press event in the past three months has been a highly publicized trip to the Middle East to show that he can compete with John McCain’s foreign policy credentials. It’s Obama trying to show that he has substance.
John McCain is isn’t trying to be the “Unbama”. He is trying to point out the truth. Despite Obama’s “Hollywood-style” campaign, he has neither the experience nor the judgement to be President.

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