McCain Claims That Anyone Who Says He’s Flip-Flopped Is ‘Drinking The Kool-Aid’

In an AP article on how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is supposedly a “rebel with a cause” who “chases the presidency,” former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI) says McCain “compromised his credibility” by shifting his position on issues in order to reach out to the right. Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) agrees, saying that “he appears to be something different than what he was.”

But McCain dismisses any claims that he’s changed positions, telling the AP “in all due respect” that his former colleagues are “drinking the Kool-Aid”:

McCain bats away that notion.

“In all due respect to my colleagues,” he says, “They’re drinking the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues. All I can say is that we all grow. We all grow wiser. And we all refine our positions.”

McCain points to his support for the surge in troops to Iraq, far from popular at its inception last year, as evidence he’s unafraid to swim against the tide.

McCain’s claim stretches all credibility. As Steve Benen has documented, McCain has flip-flopped at least 74 times over the years.


While some of his shifts may be an attempt to “grow” and “refine” his positions, many of his flip-flops were calculated moves to “placate the GOP right” in the course of his run for president:

TAXES: In 2001 and 2003, McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts, saying that they would “mostly benefit the wealthy.” But in 2006 he voted to extend them and now he wants to double them.

IMMIGRATION: In 2006, McCain sponsored immigration reform legislation with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), but in a January 2008 debate, he said that he “would not” vote for his own legislation.

ROE V. WADE: In 1999, McCain told reporters that he “would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade.” In 2006, McCain expressed his unequivocal support for overturning the decision.

OFFSHORE DRILLING: In 1999, when he first ran for president, McCain supported the moratorium on offshore drilling. In June 2008, however, he called for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling.

RADICAL RIGHT: In 2000, McCain declared Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell “agents of intolerance,” but in 2006 McCain said he no longer considers Falwell an “agent of intolerance.”

In reality, it seems like McCain is the one who drank the Kool-Aid about his own maverick persona.