Way back when (before I really got a good look at him), I had a lot of respect for John McCain. Yeah, I know, it was naive of me, and I'd actually been flirting with that whole "Rethug with a human face" thing. In August of 2005 I even posted an entry about Bill Orally lecturing McCain (of all people) about torture:
O'Reilly: "Cheney doesn't want any restrictions on the detainee interrogations. OK? And he's adamant about it."And later that year, McCain led a drive to put anti-torture language into a military spending bill. In 2006 McCain sponsored the Detainee Treatment Act which included a ban on waterboarding, which Der Monkey Fuehrer essentially invalidated by one of those nifty little "signing statements" arrogating to himself the authority to just ignore any law that he doesn't agree with.
. . .
McCain: "Don't think that you get anything out of torture, Bill, because you don't. And I know that for a fact." [Emphasis added]
So let's fast-forward to yesterday: A former POW who was tortured by the North Vietnamese (and even a couple of Cubans, if you can believe Grandpa McCain's claims) for five-and-a-half years, who, in spite of what he told Orally three years ago, in spite of leading the anti-torture addition to the "defense" spending bill, in spite of sponsoring a bill to outlaw waterboarding just two years ago, has now fallen into lockstep with the rest of neofascists in the Senate and voted against this year's bill to prevent waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques.
I guess he was "against torture before he was for it". And the wingnuttery had the balls to accuse the last Democratic candidate of flip-flopping.
So much for the Straight Talk Express man. I really miss him, but without him giving up his soul and sucking up to the Rethug power structure, his campaign would be dead in the water. He's already (if you can actually believe that) in trouble with the fundo-Xian über-conservative wing of the party, but isn't afraid to give up all of his core beliefs, deny his own history and his senatorial record in order to win the presidency.
Props to McCain's fellow Republicans, Susan Collins, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe for breaking step with their own party and recognizing that the United States still ought to stand for something.
And here's a hint to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (despite the troubling fact that YOU were both AWOL for that vote): When you get in that first debate with McCain, point out to him and to rest of the world: "On February 13, you voted for torture".
Grandpa McCain has given you a precious gift. Accept it with humble grace and use it with reckless abandon.