McCain’s Consistency

Jacob Weisberg is re-evaluating his relationship with John McCain:

I’ve stopped reading news about John McCain for the same reason I tune out the daily updates on Afghanistan and the BP oil spill: It’s just too damned depressing. Well into the 2008 primary season, McCain still showed glimmers of a gutsy, independent spirit, speaking out of turn and bucking his party on issues of conscience, like the use of torture. Since losing to Barack Obama, however, he’s turned into the kind of party hack he used to live to mess with.

Obviously, I can’t read John McCain’s mind. But I feel like some of the media’s John McCain fanboys should give more consideration to the idea that less here has changed than they think, and they themselves just shouldn’t have been so eager to embrace McCain in the first place. McCain is still a fanatical warmonger who believes in maximal application of military force in all circumstances, a kind of mirror-image Quaker. That his cartoonish worldview has ever been taken seriously tells you a lot about how deep in the grips of militarism Washington, DC is. And on domestic issues, he doesn’t know anything and doesn’t care so he takes positions driven by political opportunism and fits of pique. After losing the 2000 primary he spent several years acting like a huge sore loser and racking up one of the least-conservative voting records of any Republican. Then he tacked right starting in 2004, and after losing to Barack Obama’s he’s been acting like a sore loser again.

I liked it better when sore loserdom pointed in the direction of opposition to Bush’s tax cuts than in the direction of opposition to carbon pricing, but it’s really two sides of the same coin.