Tuesday, July 19, 2005

#175 - Looking for Pole Position in 2008

Sen. John McCain of Arizona appears to be doing all that he can to "hip-ify" himself in time for the 2008 campaign. The problem is, the stuff he's doing sends out a set of very mixed signals to those who are watching his waning conservatism with no small alarm. Like me.

Caveat: I am no McCain fan. Haven't been for quite some time, because I find his playing of the uber-patriotic former POW card to be a little on the sanctimonious side. It's as if the fact that he was, indeed, a POW somehow makes his opinions that much more credible.

It could also be argued that I tend to be biased against him based on his stand against the 767 Tanker procurement, seeing as how I work for one of the key players in that program. Far from it, however: I see no reason why we shouldn't slam all defense contractors up against the political wall from time to time in an attempt to keep them honest. (Can you say "ethics violations?" I knew you could!)

The issue for me (today) is that Mr. McCain has chosen to take an apparently hypocritical stand with regards to the issue of Hollywood soft porn being peddled as R rated entertainment. After castigating Hollywood for both creating and marketing such entertainment to kids, McCain has now decided it's perfectly okay for him to take part in one. He even (warning: attempted hip-ification in progress!) stated to Leno that he "works with boobs every day" in Washington.

Har, har. That's a good one, John. Nothing like ennobling the use of a sexually demeaning stereotype to connect with the young voters!

Whether or not McCain feels justified in appearing in this movie is not, as he well knows, truly the point. The fact is that even if no one under the age of 17 ever sees this movie (and how likely is that?), it's the appearance of impropriety and hypocrisy that will, ultimately, mean his defeat in 2008. If he runs for President, that is. So far, the more he sticks his foot in his mouth, the more the Arizona electorate seem to love him. Maybe that's why Arizona has never fronted a successful presidential candidate.

Former prisoners of war are, in my book, heroes for having paid such a terrible price in the service of their country. That does not make them, however, de facto candidates for President of the United States. Character under fire is one thing. Continuing character in the political arena is completely different. McCain has a ways to go just yet.

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