For which, let the kudos flow:
In the late 1980’s, McCain became one of the “Keating Five.” Some have noted that this sounds like a band. And to the extent that taking payoffs from corrupt savings and loans officials, passing legislation that deregulated the industry and destroyed thousands of lives, and intervening in the investigation of said corrupt savings and loan officials is like playing music, then, yes, they were a band. A very good one.You can't touch dat!
According to one classmate, “being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck.” It is unclear what being with McCain during his presidency would be like for the nation. Unfortunately, America has no direct experience from which to draw with a president who was a temperamental son of a distinguished military man and who in college was a temperamental fuckup who liked to party. What could possibly be so dangerous about that?
But in February of 2007, even though he had become the presumptive GOP nominee for president, McCain had still not secured the enthusiastic support of right-wing goons and thugs whose sexual inadequacy has manifested in an extreme love of torture. This group is also sometimes referred to as “The Republican Party.”
Therefore, when an Intelligence Authorization Bill came to the Senate floor that would require the intelligence community to abide by the same standards contained in the Army Field Manual, which bans waterboarding, McCain was faced with a choice: make a principled stand consistent with his avowed opposition to torture, or cowardly choose to abandon his principles and suck-up to the right-wing goons and thugs who sexual inadequacy has manifested in an extreme love of torture. McCain chose the latter.
As many whose views of foreign policy are not influenced by sexual inadequacy have noted, aside from the moral reason to not engage in torture, another is the reasonable conclusion that making practices like waterboarding legal also makes it much more likely that other countries will engage in the same practices on American prisoners of war. McCain’s son Jimmy is, in fact, in the Marine Corps. On February 14th, 2007, Jimmy returned from Iraq, meaning that McCain’s son is now safe from the increased danger of being tortured that McCain’s cowardice has placed other U.S. troops under.
(Interesting timing there, eh?)
The saddest part of the entire [Keating Five] situation, even more sad than the 21,000 mostly elderly people who had their entire life savings completely wiped out, was that it brought the appearance of conflict upon Senator McCain. As McCain said, “The appearance of it was wrong. It’s a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence.”
And what a terrible impression that can be. Almost as terrible as working your ass off your entire life, little by little putting enough money away for retirement, and then right before retirement finding out your life savings has been robbed from you and instead of working to try to get your money back, your own senator is busy trying to quash the investigation.
Rightly sensing that he had disgraced himself in the Keating Five scandal and that this would hinder his chances to fuck up the country as a hotheaded, dangerously unstable, pandering, angry, very old president, McCain set out to launder his reputation. Since the Keating Five scandal had shown him to be a financially sleazy insider, the way McCain chose to rehabilitate himself was campaign finance.
The [McCain-Feingold] effort paid off for McCain, and in just a few years the press corps, whose short-term memory falls somewhere between that of a household cat and the Rhesus Macaque monkey (Macaca mulatta), native to Afghanistan, northern India, and southern China, hailed McCain as a good government and campaign finance reformer.
How effective was the act in reducing the influence of money in politics? The answer can be found in a simple experiment that anybody can do. Try it yourself: just say the following phrase out loud: “Hey money, I want you to stop influencing politics!” There, you have now had more influence in diminishing the influence of money in politics than the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002…”
Most Washington journalists have a deeply internalized sense of self-loathing. They see themselves as cowardly, flaccid, ineffectual, impotent wimps. In this, they’re not entirely wrong. They have always secretly admired the asshole jocks who used to push them around in high school. The journalists would console themselves with the soothing affirmation that the assholes were not as smart as they were. They were right, of course, but still, deep down the journalists secretly admired the assholes.
Along comes John McCain — an asshole, but an asshole who is nice to them, an asshole who comes to back of the plane and jokes around with them and doesn’t make them feel unmanly. Why, sometimes, it seemed as if McCain really liked them. A few years of this, and suddenly McCain’s not a temperamental, dangerously unstable asshole, he’s a “maverick.”
McCain spent the years of the first and second Bush administrations making self-congratulatory shows of “independence” from the Republican party and cultivating the weakling press to keep up his image as a “maverick.” It was in these years that McCain laid the groundwork for what would be the classic McCain pattern: speak out against bad people when it doesn’t matter, cowardly cave in when it does matter.
McCain considers “national security” to be one his strengths. Given the fact that he has yet to be right about any single fact regarding Iraq when it counted, this should tell you something about his prowess in domestic matters….
…McCain was asked about possible military action against Iran. His response was to sing “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the melody of the Beach Boys’ song “Barbara Ann.” Though this was widely criticized at the time, it should be noted, however, that deciding foreign policy based on punning lyrics to Beach Boys songs could not, at least, result in a worse situation than the one the United States finds itself in today.
The fact that McCain, an unstable, angry old asshole, would find himself coasting to the nomination says much about the rest of the field he was facing. His two main rivals were Mitt Romney, a comically soulless toady whose religion, Mormonism, was once thought to be his weakness but turned out to be the only consistent fact about him, and Rudy Giuliani, who is, according to scientific studies, the most dangerous and insane man ever to run for president.