You know, there was a time when I kind of liked John McCain.
I was looking through some old columns from back around the turn of the century, and believe it or not, I really did have some good things to say about him. Of course, that was when he was running against George W. Bush, so the bar wasn't all that high.
But I liked McCain as a reformer, a guy who talked straight, a guy who really did look like he was going to take on the way Washington did business.
That was before John McCain turned into the caricature I refer to as John McCain Who Was a POW, or JMWWAPOW for short. I call him that, by the way, not to mock his honorable service, but to mock the way he now cheapens that service by trotting it out as a shield to deflect every question and cover every gaffe.John McCain was an honorable man. JMWWAPOW will say literally anything to get elected. It's the only explanation of what has become the centerpiece of McCain's political strategy: repeating a campaign talking point over and over, even after it has been proven objectively false.
The first and most famous example is the mantra, constantly repeated by both McCain and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that Palin opposed the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" project when she was governor of Alaska.
Reporter after reporter, news source after news source, has documented that Palin originally supported the wasteful, horrendously expensive boondoggle while she was running for governor. She pulled support for the project only when it became clear that federal support for the project wasn't coming.
And yet JMWWAPOW and Palin continue blithely to repeat the line, "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere." Why? Well, JMWWAPOW has stated that he never uses computers or the Internet. So maybe he thinks people listening to him won't look this stuff up.
Another way in which the McCainiacs and Palindrones show their contempt for truth (and for your intelligence) is in their misrepresentation of Barack Obama's tax policy. Over and over, McCain ads solemnly inform you that "Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes."
Recently, on Fox News, of all places, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds repeated that "during a struggling economy, [Obama] proposes raising taxes." Not true, shot back Fox reporter Megyn Kelly. "Virtually every independent analyst who took a look at that claim said that's not true." She went on to chide Bounds: "If that's false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn't he just level with the voters?"
Why, indeed, unless it's that JMWWAPOW doesn't care about the truth anymore.
Let me tell you something, senator: When your misstatements are so outrageously false that Fox News won't even swallow them, you've got a problem. Of course, the ads don't really specify which "you" they're talking to. Maybe JMWWAPOW is talking to his rich buddies.
Fox News isn't the only usually reliable shill that's refused to enable JMWWAPOW's whoppers. They've even lost the king of sleazy political lies himself, Karl Rove.
Rove, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Obama had gone too far in suggesting that JMWWAPOW was out of touch for not knowing how to use e-mail. Pretty mild stuff, really, especially since JMWWAPOW has stated he really doesn't use e-mail. Then Rove said, "McCain has gone, in some of his ads, similarly gone one step too far in sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100 percent truth test."
Translation: Obama is taking a true fact and making too much of it; McCain is just lying.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote an extraordinary column a week or so ago in which he first confessed, "I'm one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty." He then states that he admired John McCain because "when he talked about
service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.
"McCain has soiled all that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not."