Friday, March 8, 2013
John McCain; Becoming Irrelevent
Senator John McCain's reputation has degraded to the point that he's now just a caricature of himself. He's always liked to describe himself as a Maverick, someone battling the "good ole boys" of the Senate. Well, yesterday John McCain became an official member of the "good ole boy club" as he denigrated Senator Rand Paul's filibuster against the blanket use of drones on American soil. It matters not what one feels about a Commander in Chief's license to track and kill untried Americans on American soil; what matters to John McCain is that he wasn't the one in the spotlight.
Not two weeks ago McCain was basking in the spotlight, accruing headlines as he campaigned against Chuck Hagel's selection as Secretary of Defense. McCain's main beef was that Hagel, when serving in the Senate, had criticized "the surge" in Iraq. McCain has been basking in arrogant righteousness about the surge of troops sent into Iraq that managed to temporarily halt the runaway violence. But when we look at Iraq now what can really be said about the results of either the Iraqi occupation or the subsequent surge of troop levels?
Is Iraq any better off now than they were ten years ago? Was the expense of thousands of American lives and a trillion dollars in national treasure worth it? Iraq today is plagued with warring Muslim factions and continued terrorist violence. Iraq's "best buddy" these days is our arch enemy, and greatest national threat, Iran.
And Afghanistan is no better either. Afghani leaders are corrupt and the Afghani military do not seem in any hurry to assume security for their own people. And yet we still have old war hawk McCain hammering the Obama administration for sticking to a firm pull out schedule. McCain thinks we ought to keep our troops there in strength, continuing to believe that America can democratize and stabilize still another Muslim society gone wrong.
And now, McCain thinks we ought to be sticking our nose into the Syrian civil war. He doesn't stop to assess the moral posture of the rebels; he simply wants us involved in still another Muslim made mess.
Now McCain loves to brag that he finished next to last at the Naval Academy. He wears that poor positioning as a badge of honor; as if to say, "look how far I've come after such a poor academic performance". I would say that McCain's barely scraping by at the Naval Academy speaks more about his lack of intelligence and poor life choices than anything else. And it has proven through his poor performance as a legislator.
Most of those outside the state of Arizona would probably be surprised to learn that a sizable number of folks in Arizona have nothing but disdain for John McCain. Back in 2007 McCain backed an amnesty bill for illegal immigrants that nearly cost him the next Senate election. He quickly backtracked just in time to save himself. Arizona also knows that John McCain is just a "spotlight whore" who has never, in all his years in the Senate, introduced a single piece of legislation to benefit the state of Arizona.
Instead, John McCain has ridden the POW "war hero" banner for his entire career. He's managed to suppress his less than stellar piloting skills and moral lapses during his military service. And, of course it didn't hurt that McCain's father and grandfather were notable Navy leaders. As a military retiree myself, and having served three tours in Vietnam, I cede no moral ground to McCain nor will I give McCain an "out" for his poor performance as a U.S. Senator simply because he was a POW.
Perhaps the biggest failure was his Presidential campaign. He veered all over the political map with regard to the campaign issues of 2008 and, ironically, stubbornly stuck to worn out ideas that were sure to cost him votes. His failure to identify a winning strategy to resolve the huge financial crisis of 08 and his dogged insistence that a war weary America continue to waste lives and national treasure in Iraq was a losing strategy. And, perhaps his biggest failure, was in selecting Sarah Palin as his VP candidate. Palin proved to be too much like McCain himself; inept at articulating their own personal philosophies with neither possessing an innate intelligence that might bridge the gap between political philosophy and practical solutions of our nation's problems.
So what can we make of the ever evolving John McCain? He supported illegal amnesty before he was against it. Now he's bent his moral compass to once again "join the crowd" and is again embracing the amnesty of 20 million illegal invaders. He continues to push for greater American involvement in Muslim wars that haven't advanced our security posture one iota.
And now a new group of Republican leaders have emerged; folks like Mark Rubio and Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. And John McCain stews in the bitter juices of a good ole boy who has become irrelevant.
Sad. Damned Sad.