16 June 2012
McCain: maybe he is a maverick after all
One of the reason Republican conservatives never really warmed to John McCain was his opposition to the influence of money in politics and his insistence on money's corrupting potential if not its proven corruption of politicians. For the base Republicans to limit or even regulate campaign donations is simply to surrender to incumbents, one of whom McCain, of course, long has been. On this issue the Arizonan has taken his cues from Teddy Roosevelt, whom he invoked yesterday in remarks certain to embarrass the candidate he has endorsed for the Presidency, Mitt Romney. McCain specifically criticized Sheldon Adelson, who has also endorsed Romney, albeit indirectly by donating to a SuperPAC, after playing sugar-daddy for Newt Gingrich during the spring. Because Adelson owns casinos abroad, McCain suggested that Adelson could serve as a conduit for foreign money. The Senator also took advantage of the opportunity to renew his criticism of the Citizens United decision and to contradict Romney's famous affirmation from last year that corporations were people. Whatever his faults, McCain can't bring himself to swallow that particular article of current Republican faith. So McCain's way of supporting Romney was to insinuate that foreign money was subsidizing ads in his interest. We knew from 2008 that he's never been a fan of Romney; "contempt" probably summed up his attitude well enough. Now he's become the sort of ally the candidate would probably rather do without, like Cory Booker for President Obama. McCain certainly deserves credit for sticking to his principled heresy on the subject of campaign finance, but you do have to wonder how badly he hates Democrats in order to line up behind Romney. Maybe it's just the old military instinct, but the Republican party is no army. He wouldn't get shot for deserting -- though given the way some Republicans think, I might want to take that back.