John McCain -- Panderer Extraordinaire

The far-right Washington Times ran an item on the front page, under the headline, “McCain refuses to pander.” One wonders which McCain the Washi

The far-right Washington Times ran an item on the front page, under the headline, “McCain refuses to pander.”

One wonders which McCain the Washington Times is talking about. Amanda at TP noted that the Arizona senator was clearly pandering to the GOP’s conservative activists when he abandoned his previous position on waterboarding, which was only the latest in a series of recent pander-fests from the likely Republican presidential nominee.

* Pander On Tax Cuts: In 2001, McCain was one of just two GOP senators to vote against Bush’s destructive tax cuts. Now, however, McCain makes a point of touting his support for making Bush’s tax cuts permanent.

* Pander On Stimulus: For the past few months, McCain has been declaring that passing an economic stimulus package is at the very top of his agenda. Yet when the Senate voted earlier this month on a generous bill providing increased assistance to seniors and veterans, McCain skipped the vote. The bill fell just one vote short of passage, a victory for the far right.

* Pander To Karl Rove: In the 2000 presidential campaign, Karl Rove launched vicious smear tactics against McCain on behalf of Bush’s campaign. Recently, however, McCain has embraced the right-wing political operative. He said that he has “always respected Karl Rove as one of the smart great political minds I think in American politics” and specifically refused to condemn Rove’s partisan smears.

Those are all excellent recent examples, but if we look back just a little bit further, Sen. McCain’s (R-Pandertown) shameless record emerges in even more detail.

* Pander On Immigration: McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. Now, to make the nativist elements in his party happy, he’s against it.

* Pander to U.N. Critics: McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now, to pander to U.N. critics, he opposes it.

* Pander to Abortion-Rights Opponents: McCain used to say he would not support a reversal of Roe v. Wade. Now, to pander to his party’s base, he’s said the opposite.


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* Pander to the Religious Right: McCain condemned radical TV preachers like Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” in 2000, but once he began running for president again, he pandered to the religious right by cozying up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

* Pander to Iowans: McCain was anti-ethanol before the 2008 campaign. Once on the trail in Iowa, he became pro-ethanol.

* Pander to South Carolinians: McCain was against official promotion of the Confederate flag, but in 2000, hoping to curry favor with South Carolinians, pandered shamelessly on the issue, and later conceded that his position was one of “cowardice.”

“McCain refuses to pander”? Given his record, I think he refuses to stop pandering.

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