Monday, July 12, 2004


A prediction concerning John McCain

Buzzflash selects John McCain as GOP Hypocrite of the Week and says “When you support Bush and declare he has ‘moral clarity,’ you've lost your integrity.” Actually McCain lost his integrity some time ago—by supporting the racism of the South Carolina flag1 and not fighting the Rove slanders harder. But that is beside the point. Losing your integrity is like losing your virginity. I’ve lost it at least three times myself. No. I think we need a more realpolitik view of McCain, which is to say that we need to ask, What is he up to?

What he is up to is this: A significant role in the next Bush administration. As Buzzflash suggests, one may speculate that should the Cheney resign, McCain could become the next running mate. Is throwing himself into the campaign just a warm-up for a more extensive Vice-Presidential role?

Personally, I think that McCain as a running mate would make Bush awfully uncomfortable, but so would impeachment or indictment, so he may prefer the lesser of two evils. But what do I know? Nothing. But I can read tea leaves, and this man McCain is up to something.

Other possibilities, which from the current vantage point are more probable, are roles as Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State. McCain has to be positively itching to get in and take charge—as though he were elected President in 2000. He knows what an absolute disaster Bush has been. He wants to fix it, both to save the party and to show what he can do.2 After all, there will be another election in four years—or at least that’s the theory.

So my prediction is that McCain’s support will come at a heavy price to Bush. If Bush should win, McCain is going to demand his pound of flesh, and whatever role he takes, he’s going to be a power center unto himself.


1 At the time, the NY Times reported,

Having spent several months saying he sees both sides of the Confederate-flag issue raging in South Carolina, Sen. John McCain of Arizona has issued a statement echoing the language of white Southerners trying to keep the old battle flag flying over the Capitol in Columbia.

The flag, he said in a statement distributed to South Carolina reporters on Monday and to the national press overnight, is "a symbol of heritage." The statement quickly was distributed by his South Carolina campaign to counter what aides said was a misstatement by McCain on Sunday, when he told a television interviewer that the flag was "offensive" and a "symbol of racism and slavery."


2 For some, this may look as if he doesn’t give a damn about saving the country, but I believe that in his mind, he thinks he can save the country. [back]

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