Thursday, April 15, 2010

Could the 2008 Presidential Election Have Been John McCain’s Waterloo?

At one time, I had a great amount of respect for John McCain. I didn’t agree with him on much, but I did respect him. Perhaps I bought into the whole maverick image seemingly created by the media. Perhaps McCain did as well. But anyway, I felt that he always voted with his conscience on most issues and not along strict party lines.

Out of all the candidates in the 2000 presidential election Republican Party primaries, I thought John McCain to be the better candidate. And when George W. Bush and Karl Rove and his ilk threw a wrench in the works in South Carolina by suggesting that McCain fathered an illegitimate black child with a prostitute, I could only grit my teeth with the knowledge that such an honorable man as McCain, a straight talker and veteran, should be defeated by such dishonorable, despicable tactics.

Of course, Bush went on to a questionable and contested win in the presidential contest against Al Gore, and John McCain returned to the senate. I’m sure that McCain was bitter; he had to be. But he carried on dutifully and without complaint.

In 2008, by the time McCain had secured the Republican Party nomination for president, I was actively campaigning for Barack Obama; however, I still felt somewhat happy that McCain had been able to secure the nomination. But perhaps, securing the Republican Party presidential nomination was the high point of McCain’s political career because then it all started to go downhill.

From the time McCain gave his infamously horrid speech in front of the puke green backdrop to his concession speech, his campaign, and maybe his political career, was doomed. First of all, ironically then candidate Obama had early success tying McCain to the George W. Bush presidency; in a cruel twist of fate, the man who had defeated him by unscrupulous means in 2000 resurfaced to defeat him once again.

And then he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate thinking she would give him the best chance to win. However, as soon as it became apparent to most of the nation that she’s as absolutely dumb as a bag of hammers, the moderates and independents he needed most to have any chance of winning fled in droves. Yeah, she fired up the right, but in the same instance, I don’t think she garnered any votes or support for him that he would not have gotten already.

The town hall style presidential debate held at Belmont University, which supposedly played to John McCain’s strengths, perhaps defined McCain’s presidential campaign—an old, tired, bewildered man wondering around on the stage seemingly looking for inspiration and direction.

After his defeat, I guess I expected McCain to return to the senate again and play his position just as he had done before. I expected him to be the decent, honorable public servant that voted with his conscience that I had always imagined him to be.

Instead, upon his return to the senate, he found his party pushing hastily and vigorously toward the right, and he decided to follow. And in doing so, he adopted this “just say anything to win” posture. In an effort to stay politically relevant and viable, he contradicted most of his earlier positions. He looked pathetically inept and desperate as he switched from one position to another on issue after issue.

However, now not only does he look inept, now not only does he look desperate, he looks simply defeated. In his effort to retain his senate seat, not only is he running from his earlier positions; he is running from himself.
In an effort to appeal to right wing conservative voters, he stated that he was not and has never considered himself to be a maverick.

 Huh? What? Well, after years of publically claiming the label, after years of running for office on the label, after writing an autobiography which featured the label prominently in the title, he claims that he actually never was what he said he was, nor did he say he was what he said he was. It’s all like a surreal mavericky political Jedi mind trick.

Up until the 2008 presidential contest, John McCain had served his country and represented his district honorably and with distinction. However, at the point he realized that the terms of his continued service had changed, at the point he realized that his continued service would require him to sell his soul in tiny, excruciating increments, perhaps he should have just thrown in the towel. Now he just looks like the over-the-hill athlete, the punch drunk fighter that continues to compete long after his prime.

Had he chose to retire following the 2008 presidential elections, had he chose not to seek office again and go back to Arizona as a civilian, his defeat would have just been seen as an unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar career. However, his insistence on continuing on means that even if he wins reelection, the price he will have had to pay will have eroded whatever honor and dignity he has left. The 2008 presidential campaign will not be seen as the high water mark of his career, but the beginning of the end—his own personal and political Waterloo.


Monica Roberts said...

Yep's sad.

And unfortunately he gave Caribou Barbie the visibility that she's needed to be considered as a 2012 GOP contended

A.Smith said...

Back in 2000, I really really liked John. Like a lot.

So I was also pleasantly surprised that he got the nod in 2008. And then he failed miserably and I do mean miserably.

But the real reason I can't stand him now is because he brought Sarah Palin into my life. I really could've gone the rest of my life and never known she existed.

Then when his campaign fell on its face, blamed her for it and now he's brought her back on his Senate campaign?

Wow. I hope Arizonians really aren't that stupid.

jjbrock said...

Max great article! The “Maverick” John McCain, who ran for the President during 2008 is the man I once admired also.

But for McCain to come out now and say he never consider himself to be a Maverick is kinda of confusing.

msladydeborah said...

Great insight on McCain's brand as a politician. I think that he should of retired after the national elections. But like many of the old lions he cannot see himself out gracefully.

Max Reddick said...

I think the common thread that runs through everyone's disappointment in McCain is that he should have the audacity to release upon the world the plague that is Sarah Palin. This is the very moment of his undoing. He can never live that one down.

Max Reddick said...


I look at him now, and he seems to be the most miserable soul on the face of the earth. I think he should go on and call it a day before he gets run out of office.

ProfGeo said...

Max, I think the 2000 election may have been his presidential Waterloo due to being thrown under the bus by the Bush campaign (which you mentioned in your post). He never seemed quite the same after that.

O/T on your new color scheme: The bright red on bright green is quite jarring, please reconsider...

Max Reddick said...

Perhaps, you are right. Perhaps because of the loss in the 2000 election, he was willing to do anything, to include compromise his integrity, to win in 2008.

And about the color scheme: Can you suggest a color scheme that says manly but sensitive African American man?

ProfGeo said...

Re: color scheme, I think you're on the right track, but toning down the brightness would help. We might want to take it off this McCain thread though. I'm available as ProfGeo over at Prometheus6, and can also e-mail your gmail acct...

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I've never believed that Grandpa McCain really wanted to run for President. No, I think he was inducted into "service" by an invisible hand that controls elections. They knew that anyone who won that office would have an impossible job. What better time to make it possible for a woman or black man - Hillary or Barack - to be in office, just when converging economic and war issues would explode?

This, I think, explains the choice of Sarah Palin; I seriously doubt she was his choice. He hardly knew her, didn't like her, she had no formidable experience, and hadn't been vetted. If he really wanted to win, he'd have chosen Mitt Romney.

But that wasn't the larger agenda, of having a woman or black be in office at the precise time when the country would melt down and get a new currency while mopping up after WWIII to gain all of the Middle East.

Then in 2012 or perhaps 2016, a more suitable white male candidate will be selected. The public would think blacks or women "can't handle the job", and the never ending plan for Manifest Destiny will be back on track.

But Barack has his own plan.

md20737 said...

I was riding with Ron Paul. Although I knew he wasnt going to win. I enjoyed is alternative views and willingness to explore change to status quo.

Mccain was thirsty & adding Palin & her ways killed any chance he ever had. I dont know why he didnt know how silly she truly was, she can see Russia from her house & how many of us have the pleasure of saying we can do that :)

I think the Maverick is crazy if he thinks we will forget that team of MAVERICKS ever. That presidential run was both historic and entertaining all in one. It became a spectacle of seeing how bad Palin could perform, like a bottomless pit of low expectations for her. She would tell anyone who would listen how much of a Maverick Mccain is and was. Politicians have no shame in the stories lol

Anonymous said...

If McCain just hadn't brought the chillbilly to the party... I mean, he could have chosen from MANY bright republican women pols. WTF was he thinking??? Still, I'm glad he did what he did, because I voted for Obama regardless of with whom McCain ran.

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