Patterico's Pontifications

8/11/2008

The L.A. Times’s “McCain Is Not Really a Maverick” Article — And Obama Is?

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:44 am

The L.A. Times publishes a “McCain isn’t really a maverick” article.

The article lists six ways that McCain has defied the Republican party, and no examples of Obama standing up to Democrats. Given this data, there is really only one obvious conclusion: McCain might not really be a maverick! This obvious conclusion is set forth in the deck headline: “McCain defends his outsider image after having embraced GOP dogma for the primary.”

Sure, the article acknowledges that McCain has bucked his party on:

  • global warming
  • campaign finance reform
  • early Iraq strategy
  • pork-barrel spending by Republicans
  • pursuing Jack Abramoff
  • the Gang of 14

And sure, the article doesn’t name one single solitary major issue where Obama has taken on his party.

Still, the article is determined to portray McCain as someone who has flip-flopped his way into the good graces of his party. And so, despite McCain’s documented bucking of his party in the above numerous areas, we’re treated to repetitions of two themes: 1) McCain now supports Bush’s tax cuts, and 2) McCain has made up with religious leaders:

To win the GOP primary this year, McCain embraced party dogma in ways big and small, from switching his opposition to President Bush’s tax cuts, which he had criticized as skewed to the rich, to making amends with religious leaders he once denounced as “agents of intolerance.

As further evidence that McCain is not a maverick, the article notes that 1) McCain has switched his opposition to Bush’s tax cuts, and 2) McCain has made amends with religious leaders:

But McCain’s positioning for the 2008 race undercut that firebrand image. He now supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent. He has vowed to appoint conservative judges. And he gave the commencement speech at Falwell’s college, Liberty University. “I do not believe in holding grudges in life or in politics,” McCain said at the time.

“Around 2005 or so, he realized he was running for president and he made a calculated decision . . . he was going to do whatever was necessary to win this office,” said Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason magazine, whose book “McCain” is subtitled “The Myth of a Maverick.”

Vowing to appoint conservative judges is hardly a huge spin-around for a guy who voted for Alito and Roberts. So we’re left with — do I have to number them again? I think I do! — 1) McCain supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent, and 2) McCain has made up with religious leaders.

Look, there’s a case to be made that McCain is willing to sacrifice principle for personal ambition. As Matt Welch points out, he’s done it before and he’s admitted doing it before, many times.

But I find it remarkable that an article can document six ways that this man has indeed bucked the Republican party line, and zero ways in which Obama has bucked the Democrat party line, and have the resultant spin be: wow, John McCain may not really be a maverick!

46 Responses to “The L.A. Times’s “McCain Is Not Really a Maverick” Article — And Obama Is?”

  1. On the Obama side, he was clearly in the Daly Machine in Chicago, opposing any of the reformers who challenged.

    Alta Bob (69331c)

  2. Baracky has a history of bipartisan cooperation, I am sure.

    JD (75f5c3)

  3. Russ Feingold disagrees with the LA Times:

    Washington — If Republican John McCain needs someone to vouch for his independence, he could easily do worse than Senate colleague Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a liberal Democrat from a key battleground state.

    “I think the guy calls ‘em as he sees ‘em, and as president would call ‘em as he sees ‘em, and would make people mad all over the place because it wouldn’t fit anybody’s playbook,” said Feingold, who teamed up with McCain to rewrite federal campaign laws.

    “He would be very original,” Feingold said.

    Those are not exactly Democratic talking points.

    In fact, while Feingold supports his fellow Democrat Barack Obama for president, he continues to express (when asked) his affection and admiration for McCain, even in ways that deviate from his party’s core strategy against the Arizona Republican, which is to paint him as a clone of President Bush, and a “maverick no more.”

    Feingold calls McCain “very original” and a “maverick by nature.” McCain’s own TV ads call him the “original maverick.”

    “I’d rather have Obama for many, many reasons,” Feingold said, citing his deep differences with McCain over foreign policy, health care and civil liberties, and his belief that Obama could be an inspirational president.

    He also is critical of McCain’s campaign, suggesting that its efforts to “tarnish” Obama may end up tarnishing McCain as well.

    “But the notion that somehow [McCain] is going to get in there and be some kind of ideological Newt Gingrich right-winger is a joke. There’s no way that he would do that,” Feingold said.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  4. They missed McCain’s support for immigaration amnesty. That seems like a huge departure from the GOP norm, despite Bush doing so also.

    Soronel Haetir (ce5eda)

  5. Good post. The L.A. Times, critical of a Republican and going easy on a Democrat. What’s new? Keep demonstrating their clear bias! We need websites like this one, now more than ever. The people will see the truth and the Old Media will die. The Old Media is dead. Long live the New Media!

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  6. There you guys go again, throwing George Bush and the entire Republican party under John McCain’s Straight Talk Express, Bus. Anything to dissociate him from this failed party and regime. However you spin it, John McCain represents four to eight more years of George Bush. Denying that means you are acknowledging that this Republican government has failed. And that to me is, unpatriotic, to your party.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  7. And sure, the article doesn’t name one single solitary major issue where Obama has taken on his party.

    Aha, but if a Dem believes–as Hillarybots believe–that Obama took on his party by taking on Hillary, then Obama is, to them, maverick writ large. And McCain would have to run as contentiously against Bush–who, last I looked, isn’t running–to match that audacity.
    I’m hoping McCain doesn’t take the bait and that he just keeps on being McCain.

    m (ac3b80)

  8. #4

    Right you are! Since amnesty “comprehensive immigration reform” is the Dog Trainer’s own position, I doubt their missing McCain’s position was an oversight.

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  9. “However you spin it, John McCain represents four to eight more years of George Bush.”

    Lovey – Russ Feingold obviously doesn’t think so.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  10. Given how divided the congress and our country are, and how much anger many have with Bush (thanks to the media, largely), I think it’s a great thing to have a flexible president. Of course that means the democrats will get their way on several issues, but it also means that via negotiation, the GOP will get some of the things it would not otherwise get…. so long as Mccain handles congress with intelligence (and he seems to be able to).

    Now is the time for a uniter. Obama claims to be that person, yet has never helped the GOP with anything, has never broken with his own party, and has flipped on virtually every issue (certainly exponentially more than Mccain despite having less than tenth the experience and time to do it).

    I’m pretty sure that Obama, once elected, especially with a democrat congress, would ignore republicans and speak of unity is extremely general terms, and more like ‘let’s all be unified in supporting ME.’ Mccain is someone a lot of democrats could love, and I think he’d so what he could in many respects to restore the white house by trying to find common ground.

    that’s the big reason why his Maverick status is so important.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  11. And that to me is, unpatriotic, to your party

    One can be unpatriotic to a country. A political party, not so much.

    JD (75f5c3)

  12. Folks, I’m pretty sure – and love2008 can correct me if I’m wrong – but I do believe that #6 was what we on the internets like to call sarcasm.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  13. It is sad when the line between sarcasm, parody, and Obama worship has become so blurred as to make them indistinguishable.

    JD (75f5c3)

  14. I have that problem with one commenter’s posts at QandO all the time. It really is quite disturbing…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  15. Look, there’s a case to be made that McCain is willing to sacrifice principle for personal ambition.

    There’s a better case to be made that McCain will not pander to Bush Derangement Syndrome for political ambitions.

    nk (e38352)

  16. From love? Sarcasm? After reading recently, I’d have to get a /sarc tag first before I’d believe that.

    Lord Nazh (899dce)

  17. #12
    Haa! Scotty are you trying to throw me under the bus too? :)

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  18. Actually, quite the opposite, love2008.

    Don’t make me regret sticking up for you…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  19. Forgive my language, but in my opinion all that these assholes at LAT are mad about is that McCain is not Obama. I understand it perfectly. I’m terrified of Obama as president. They are terrified of McCain as President. Can we get a third-party movement started for a compromise candidate? Hillary.

    nk (e38352)

  20. Fortunately, the only people who read the Times anymore are already voting for Obama. If a rare undecided voter should read that piece they probably don’t believe it anyway,

    Mike K (155601)

  21. #18
    Pleading insanity is no way to “stick up” for a friend Scotty. I meant what I said. People are trying to throw Bush under the bus, just to win an election. And it’s not just fair!

    love2008 (1b037c)

  22. Wasn’t aware sarcasm was “insanity”.

    You ignorant git.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  23. ^ Conservatives and libertarians at this blog and elsewhere hold GWB accountable for his actions. Can you say the same regarding your blinded idol worship? The more you learn about the seamy side of Barack Obama, the less your infatuation makes sense. You. are. color. blind.

    “People are trying to throw Bush under the bus, just to win an election.”

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  24. #23
    VN. Obama has not done anything to contribute to the failure of this administration. Why? Because he is not the president, yet! This election year is about asking ourselves, are we happy with the way this country has been run for the last 7 to 8 years? If yes, then vote for McCain. If no, then vote for the democratic alternative: Barack Obama. Trying to turn this into a referendum on Obama, as though he is responsible for the state of affairs presently is what you might call, “shifting the goal post”

    You. are. color. blind

    Thanks for the compliment. I sure am!

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  25. #22
    Careful Scotty. Wouldn’t like to stain your white suit.
    I still consider you a friend on this blog.

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  26. love2008 -

    There you guys go again, throwing George Bush and the entire Republican party under John McCain’s Straight Talk Express, Bus.
    – Noting where they differ is not the same thing as throwing them under the bus.

    Anything to dissociate him from this failed party and regime.
    – McCain has supported the positions of the President and the Party most of the time; that is a fact. The point of noting where they differ is to show that he does not march in blind lock-step.

    However you spin it, John McCain represents four to eight more years of George Bush.
    – Straight out of the Obama talking points. How does it feel to be a parrot?

    Denying that means you are acknowledging that this Republican government has failed. And that to me is, unpatriotic, to your party.
    – The fact that McCain will be different than Bush means that Bush is a total failure? I guess if Gore had won in 2000, but then differed from Clinton in the way that he governed, it would mean that Clinton was a failure. Is the POTUS then supposed to govern based on a narrowly-defined template provided by his/her party? Does it all come down to ‘collectivism or die’?

    But don’t take it from me; take it from the prime-time speaker for the first night of the convention:

    “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”Michelle Obama

    – If the language used (“require you to work”, “demand”, “never allow you to go back to your lives as usual”) fills you with hope for the future, then he is your candidate. If, however, that statement brings to mind a scruffy man wearing fatigues and a black beret with a red star in the center of it, saying the exact same thing in Spanish. . . .

    Icy Truth (9779ca)

  27. #24. Arrogance and stupidity for the price of one.

    You. are. color. blind

    Thanks for the compliment. I sure am!

    You’re like the water cooler version of David Duke. Obama is the national version of David Duke.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  28. How does it feel to be a parrot?

    That is hardly a fair comparison…

    love2008 is more like a sock puppet.

    A parrot can at least learn new tricks.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  29. Nice attempt, Scott. She never saw The A Team, so tough guys with muscles just aren’t a reference point. Same thing as Ike. An actual president … not Tina’s husband.

    – If the language used (”require you to work”, “demand”, “never allow you to go back to your lives as usual”) fills you with hope for the future, then he is your candidate. If, however, that statement brings to mind a scruffy man wearing fatigues and a black beret with a red star in the center of it, saying the exact same thing in Spanish. . . .

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  30. love 2008 is voting for a fellow black man, based on race. T or F ?

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  31. Thank God we have the LA Times to protect us conservatives and/or Republican voters from being bamboozled (I can say that, right? Barry said it, so it can’t be racist, right?) by McCain.

    Why, the next thing you know, the LA Times will tell us that McCain isn’t actually a conservative!

    509th Bob (b6cc49)

  32. One more reason not to vote for Obama:

    Pelosi Backs Obama on Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=33425

    – As noted in the article: Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Harry Reid all voted for the measure, which [lest we -- and by "we" I mean "they" (and they know who they are) forget] was signed into law by President Clinton; the Botox-Bitch-By-The-Bay voted against it. So, are the spineless bimbos going to stand by their original votes? Reid should, on religious grounds. In this case, being LDS might be his only redeeming feature.

    Icy Truth (9779ca)

  33. #30
    I know you are smarter than that VN. But I am not playing that race game with you.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  34. Just one question I want to ask you all. You have all accused Obama of throwing his Pastor, his grandmum, and his church under the proverbial bus. Is it not also fair to accuse John McCain of the same with Bush? Is he not also throwing this Republican President under the bus with his recent efforts to challenge and sometimes criticize some of his policies? This is the same Bush he tried everything to embrace during the primaries. In fact, at a time it was a competition of who would “outBush” the other as they sort the nomination.
    In all sincerity, is John McCain also not guilty of the same? But at this point I am not expecting so much sincerity from some people here. I know Obama is the devil. But is John McCain a saint?
    Like I said, not expecting much from some of you than the usual distortions and twisting of facts and name calling because you can’t stand objective and civil argument. It’s your style.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  35. lovie – That was a feeble effort on your part.

    JD (75f5c3)

  36. But I am not playing that race game with you.

    You’re too starry-eyed about the candidate, love’08. That says more than your evasive answer, of which I already know the answer.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  37. love2008,

    There are been posts critical of McCain here (like this, this, and this) but that doesn’t mean we don’t understand the concept of relative value.

    DRJ (9d1be2)

  38. Is [McCain] not also throwing this Republican President under the bus with his recent efforts to challenge and sometimes criticize some of his policies?
    – Didn’t we just go over this? NO! Re-read my #26.

    But at this point I am not expecting so much sincerity from some people here. I know Obama is the devil. But is John McCain a saint?
    – Luckily for him, for both of them, we are not voting to elevate a new saint. (Actually, in the case of the Messiah that might turn out to be a detriment.)

    Icy Truth (9779ca)

  39. I know Obama is the devil. But is John McCain a saint?

    Obama is a Socialist. You’re voting based on other factors and you know it.

    America needs its first black president: one who’s a conservative. That will blur the race lines that Obama tries so hard to play at every turn.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  40. “Is he not also throwing this Republican President under the bus with his recent efforts to challenge and sometimes criticize some of his policies?”

    Do you have any memory of the last primary campaign that McCain lost vs. Bush? Do you remember the nasty things that Bush’s people insinuated about McCain, and then after it was all over McCain made no secret of his personal hostility towards Bush? He’s gone against Bush and the GOP so many times it’s impossible to tally up the scores, although the MSM’s trying desperately to paint him as his personal stooge in their attempts to lift the Messiah to victory.

    Your statement betrays an utter lack of knowledge and cogniscent facilities about the recent past histories of both of these politicians.

    Dmac (874677)

  41. Shorter:

    He’s gone against Bush and the GOP so many times it’s impossible to tally up the scores, although the MSM’s trying desperately to paint him as his personal stooge in their attempts to lift the Messiah to victory.

    Your statement betrays an utter lack of knowledge and cogniscent facilities about the recent past histories of both of these politicians.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  42. The article misses three other areas where McCain went against mainstream Republicans-Immigration the Surge and Pres Bush’s tax cuts.
    I wonder why?
    So nine areas where McCain worked bipartisan and against the interests (at the time) of Republicans, vs. the big donut for the Obamanation (it’s no wonder the new sign for Obamaniacs is a big fat zero formed by both hands).

    eaglewingz08 (98291e)

  43. America needs its first black president: one who’s a conservative. That will blur the race lines that Obama tries so hard to play at every turn.

    No so much.
    America needs a Good President.
    Picking a President by color is feeble-minded. It’s not like Shoes (We need a pair of Black shoes…)
    Yeeeesh Please tell me you for the Sarc tag.

    Puh-leese

    Paul from Fl (4dd8c4)

  44. “Please tell me you for the Sarc tag.”

    Should have been,
    “Please tell me you forgot the Sarc tag.”

    Paul from Fl (4dd8c4)

  45. Paul, I agree with your logic. But let’s face it. BHO has been hoisted up thru the system. He’s the A-A freebie created by Chicago pols. In light of the country’s current obsession, I’m factoring that in with the obvious. We need a good president. No, it won’t be Obama. Especially if he wins. But a strong experienced leader, regardless of race, is what half or more of the country clearly wants. Now if they could take off the blinders and see the problem for who he is . . .

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  46. Off topic. One thing you can’t take away from President George Bush is that he has what it takes to stand up against supposedly powerful and aggressive nations like Russia. His last condemnation of Russia’s behavior towards Georgia. Reminds me of one of the reasons I voted for him twice. He is a strong man. He is not afraid to kick ass. But like many great men, that strength has been used against him. Causing his credibility and leadership strength to be greatly compromised. It pains my heart.

    love2008 (1b037c)


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