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Bygones

Barack Obama, acting with class and good sense, has been reaching out to John McCain going so far as to host a bipartisan dinner in his honor over the weekend at which he said:

And there are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain. It is what he has strived for and achieved throughout his life. It is built into the very content of his character.

I could stand here and recite the long list of John’s bipartisan accomplishments. Campaign finance reform. Immigration. The Patients’ Bill of Rights. All those times he has crossed the aisle and risked the ire of his party for the good of his country. And yet, what makes John such a rare and courageous public servant is not the accomplishments themselves, but the true motivation behind them.

I’m all for Obama making this gesture, but personally I don’t believe a word of it. I also don’t believe in saying things about people during the campaign season that you don’t really mean and then taking it all back after the fact. And I think the truest test of John McCain’s character as a public official was his conduct during the 2008 campaign, not his behavior during lower-stakes tests. This blog follows the legal restrictions put in place by McCain’s ill-advised Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act and thus does not comment on the character, qualifications, or fitness for office of electoral candidates but McCain’s substantive legislative achievements are actually hugely unimpressive.

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