For the second time in six weeks, John McCain has challenged the press and the public to "name a single issue" where's he changed positions since 2000. Sadly for the supposed maverick, his growing list of reversals, flip-flops and turnabouts now numbers in the dozens.
None of which deterred McCain from pretending otherwise in an interview Wednesday with the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. Asked, "where is the John McCain from 2000?" and "has something changed," Mr. Straight Talk responded:
"You’ll have to tell me what’s changed. I love it when they say, 'Oh McCain has changed.' And I say, 'What have I changed on?' They can’t name a single issue or they’ll name an issue and it's false. I’m the same guy. I’m proud of our campaign."
Last month, McCain threw down the same gauntlet during his disastrous appearance on ABC's The View. When host Joy Behar lamented, "I don’t see the old John McCain…I understand why - you want to get elected," McCain instinctively went to battle stations:
"I’ve been through this litany before, where I say, 'ok, what specific area have I quote changed?' Nobody can name it...I am the same person and I have the same principles."
As it turns out, not so much.
At almost every turn, John McCain in his eternal quest for the White House reversed long-held positions, compromised core principles and swallowed his pride in order to curry favor with both the leading lights of the conservative movement and right-wing Republican primary voters. With the nomination sewn up, McCain then retreated in a desperate about-face back to the political center.
The numbers tell the tale. By this March, McCain had flip-flopped on the religious right, the Bush tax cuts, immigration reform, a first-term balanced budget pledge, overturning Roe v. Wade, detainee torture and even his relationship with President Bush. In June, McCain set a new record with 10 more reversals in the span of just two weeks.
All in all, ThinkProgress now puts the McCain Flip-Flop count at 44 across the gamut of issues foreign and domestic. The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen tabulated 76 changes of tune for "Jukebox John". Another online McCain flip-flop tracker insists the mythical maverick's U-turns now top 100.
Unashamed, undeterred and apparently unencumbered by reality, John McCain went on the offensive against Barack Obama again today. Obama, he told supporters, would "say anything" to get elected.