What with Obama taking a well deserved and strategic vacation this week, I thought I would focus in on the other candidate in this race. I’ve previously discussed my general disgust with his complete about face from eight years ago when I supported him for President over both George Bush and Al Gore, however I felt that if I’m calling myself a centrist I should at least attempt to see the better side of John McCain. He has not been making it terribly easy and it’s only Tuesday. On the heels of his celebrity ad showing Obama as a vapid celebritard the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, his latest ad makes the bold (and completely untrue) claim that Obama will raise the taxes of anyone making $42,000 per year or more. (Obama’s tax plan would actually double McCain’s tax cuts to people making less than $100,000 per year.) Then there’s his latest rhetorical dick-waving at Russia over the invasion of Georgia (the country, not the state. Red Dawn Southern Style averted!) McCain either thinks that the cold war is still going on, or he would like to start World War III. Due to the two wars we’re fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan we simply do not have any spare troops available to take on Russia, so threatening them is just silly at best. As you can see, I’m not off to a very good start at liking McCain. To try and balance this out a little, here’s a few positive things I can say about him.
1) “He has a comprehensive energy policy.” In the same way that the McCain camp has tried to paint Obama’s energy plan as just “Inflate your tires,” Obama’s camp has painted McCain’s policy as “Drill for it!” Neither one is true. McCain’s energy policy also includes new nuclear plants, and wind and solar energy. I prefer Obama’s emphasis on new technology and innovation (and dislike his pushing ethanol which has a very low bang for the buck and contributes to the hike in food costs), but McCain’s energy policy is at least a far cry from the “Hey, our friends in the oil industry are making a killing! Suck it!” energy policy of George W. Bush.
2) “He at least admits there’s a problem with our economy.” Our current president does not believe there is anything wrong with the good ole US of A. While I don’t think he’s the best person to lead us out of this mess, McCain is still light-years ahead of Bush in at least acknowledging that there is, in fact, a problem.
3) “He has a history of bi-partisanship.” While the last eight years have seen John McCain make the arduous journey to the far right, he has in the past been much less partisan. In the quest to clinch his party’s nomination and fire up his party’s base, McCain has adopted the vast majority (94%) of Bush’s policies. This stands in stark contrast to his previous record of level-headed pragmatism. One can hope (although all the signs lately disagree with the possibility) that if elected, John McCain would return to his more even-handed roots. A return to the John McCain of 2000, while unlikely, would be most welcome. If, having won the election, he is able to wrest his soul back from the devil it could mean good things for the country.
4) “He has a sense of humor.” Sure it comes off now more like Grandpa telling bad jokes around the table at thanksgiving dinner, but he at least still is capable of acknowledging the existence of humor. Before his shift to the right, he was a favorite on the Daily Show with John Stewart and showed a lot of wit and charm. Lately his jokes have been falling flat. A senator making such jokes is one thing, a candidate for president is a bit scary (cause you’re never 100% sure if “Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran” is a joke or not), but at least he’s making an effort. I kind of wish he’d return to the self-deprecating humor he’s used in the past. Given his charge that Obama is an over-inflated celebrity, it might help his cause. If nothing else it would help him to be a bit more likable provided he doesn’t overdo it and end up in the Lieberman “Woe is me” zone.
Okay, so most of the things I’m able to find likable about McCain are nostalgic memories from eight years ago, but I can at least bring myself to believe that there is some good left in him, even if he is more neo-con now than maverick, twisted and sold-out. It’s a start.