I fear he has hurt himself very badly among those who were more than prepared to give him a chance. Oliver Willis:
It's Mitt Romney all over again.
It's one thing to be against torture in a primary debate where you're trying to appeal to independents and crossover voters, but it's quite another thing to be against torture after you've won the nomination and need to appease a conservative base that's righteously pissed off and not afraid to let you know it.
It would be very helpful if someone in the press would ask McCain is he will rescind Bush's signing statements pertaining to the president's alleged "unitary" constitutional right to break the law and order torture. He said today that he personally believes that torture is illegal but he doesn't want to inhibit the CIA so he won't vote to explicitly make it illegal across the board. That's some straight talk for you.
Damozel at the Moderate Voice:
Why, John McCain? Why? I don't mean "Why did you vote the way you did?" The answer is obvious. But why, or how, could you let down people who regarded you as someone who would stand by a moral principle, even if it appeared to be detrimental to his own interests? (And I would argue that it has not been detrimental to your interests.)
From being an honored outsider who would take on the establishment, you've revealed yourself as an ordinary cynical politician. It's only now that I am realizing how much I esteemed you for standing by your convictions and insisting on holding the government to a higher standard.
Maybe McCain is waiting to take on the forces of Rove and the electoral advantages of appealing to crude, fascistic templates of "torture-them-or-we-all-die" variety. But McCain should know that when dealing with unscrupulous thugs, appeasement is not the best policy. He's the nominee. He needs to remind people that conservatism can be - must be - a decent political philosophy, that upholds, rather than trashes, the deepest moral traditions of the United States.