No Excuses For McCain

A reader writes:

You wrote:

"What worries me is that McCain's eagerness for more conflict in the world - pushing Russia and China into a corner - is not in the best interests of the United States. It may be moral; it may be exciting; it may provide the great national purpose McCain thinks we all need to feel. But it ignores the hard trade-offs involved, and perpetuates the whole with-us-or-against us bluster of the last eight years. We need more of that? More enemies? Less diplomacy? More conflict?
Count me out."

I'm glad you added the last sentence, but I wish more people would stop making touchy-feely excuses for John McCain because they used to support him. I am a former McCain 2000 supporter. He was a personal hero. I bought his book for my father for father's day while I was in high school. But we need to stop with the madness. The rhetoric coming out of the McCain campaign (and the Republican Party by default) on this issue is seriously endangering the national well-being. This is neither moral, nor exciting, nor providing a great national purpose.

Over the past 8 years, this country has repeatedly stumbled because of the fantasyland of a cowboy from Texas who was easily mislead and influenced by a group of overly partisan warmongering hacks.  We've become embroiled in an extra war that only serves to distract us from the one we really should be fighting (see: Iraq), our economy is in the toilet (see: massive fiscal mismanagement of a surplus), our emergency preparation is miserable (see: Katrina), and our infrastructure (the same infrastructure that allowed for our exceptional prosperity for the past century) is badly in need of renewal and renovation (see: bridges in Minnesota, etc).

Here's what would be moral - having a plan to fix all those problems, and remembering that other countries have a responsibility to defend themselves and take care of their own international issues at some point.  I seem to remember during the 2000 campaign that Republicans were consistently talking about us avoiding "policing the world."  Is John McCain running to be President of the United States, or global sherriff?  Let's try a little old school realism for once: when our interests are at stake (and those of our real allies), we need to intervene.  Otherwise, we push for peace and offer discussion and incentives, not the escalation of conflict with an already overextended armed forces.  We're not all Georgians.  Nor are we Russians.  We should be a neutral party in a complicated conflict who wishes to preserve peace.

You do the same half-hearted defense with regard to McCain's views on abortion and homosexuality.  "So placing the position on gay rights on a higher level than abortion rights can only be explained by bigotry, it seems to me. Or, in McCain's case, a perceived need to cater to bigotry."  Influential people excuse him for bigotry because in the past he has been thought of as a nice guy. Those statements are those of a bigot.  Take them at face value. 

As a whole, I think it's important for all of us to stop reading emotions that we want to see into the statements that we hear.   McCain wants to win the election, and he's shown since he lost in 2000 that he's willing to compromise his own values entirely for the sake of cozying up to the neo/theocons. He traded his "maverick" credibility in a long time ago, and we should all stop trying to excuse his boorish behavior.