My Why I Will No Longer Support John McCain For President has drawn a lot of comments and a lot of links. With that in mind, I wanted to follow-up on a few things.
First of all, I have spoken to a representative of the McCain campaign this afternoon and the spin was similar to the lines they fed to Jim Geraghty over at The Campaign Spot.
Team McCain tells me the senator’s comments were poorly worded. There’s been no discussion within the campaign of altering their stance on illegal immigration, and as far as everyone on the campaign is concerned, the policy is still, ‘secure the border first.’
The problem with this is that John McCain has spent more than six months drawing a distinction between his old comprehensive immigration position and his new position, security first. Moreover, these concepts are polar opposites. Comprehensive immigration reform means doing amnesty and security at the same time, while security first means making sure the border is secure and our enforcement provisions are done BEFORE the amnesty.
So, when John McCain says that one of his top priorities is pushing through comprehensive immigration reform when he first gets into office in 2009, there’s just no way to square that circle. Obviously the border isn’t going to be secure by then and it would be hard to argue that McCain doesn’t understand the difference between the security first position and comprehensive immigration reform unless he “lost his bearings” for a moment and got incredibly confused, which would be a little scary in and of itself.
Of course, it may be possible that this was a trial balloon of the sort he used during the 2000 campaign on abortion, when he came out publicly and said that he “would not support (the) repeal of Roe v. Wade.“
If that’s what he’s doing, it’s really dumb, given that conservatives don’t trust the Republican Party right now, generally don’t trust him, and really don’t trust McCain on this issue.
Another constant refrain I’ve heard is something like, “Come on, you didn’t believe him when he said he’d do security first, did you?”
Let me tell you how I look at that. It’s sort of like a man who suspects that his wife is cheating on him. He walks past her and thinks he gets a whiff of another man’s cologne. Someone keeps calling his house and hanging up when he answers. He notices something on her neck that looks like a hickey, but she says it’s just an insect bite. Then he walks in on his wife and the other man, together, naked in his bed, and he KNOWS she’s cheating.
When that happens, the man has a very difficult choice to make. In that situation, some men would say, “I can’t put up with someone who treats me like that,” and they’d leave. Other men would say, “I just can’t leave her and I’ve got to hang in there and try to work it out.” What it all boils down to is that it’s a difficult choice and smart people with good intentions can disagree about how to handle it.
In this case, being lied to and disrespected in this fashion is a dealbreaker for me and I’m not voting for McCain over it. Other people may look at the alternative and quite understandably choose to vote for McCain. I understand their position, but very respectfully disagree.
Additionally, some people have pointed out that refusing to vote for McCain actually helps the Democratic nominee and that whether it’s Obama or Clinton, the country would be better off with McCain.
That’s very true.
But personally, I think that there has got to be some kind of line in the sand that these politicians cannot be allowed to cross. In McCain’s case, he lied about the single most important issue in determining many people’s votes, is the Republican Party’s nominee only because he told that lie, and now he has publicly shifted positions in a way that reveals he was lying the whole time — and he did so before the election. Here’s a man who has so little respect for conservatives that he doesn’t even feel compelled to wait until he’s elected to reveal that he wasn’t telling them the truth about an issue they care desperately about.
If we’re willing to put up with that, is there any line that he can’t cross and get away with it? If McCain shifts on a dime tomorrow and says that he’s only going to appoint pro-Roe Supreme Court justices, are conservatives just going to say, “Well, I’m not happy but he’s still better than Obama.” If he decides that the war is too much of a liability for him in the polls and he’s just going to pull out like Obama and watch the country collapse into genocide, would that be Ok, too? If those things were to happen, I’d hope the answer would be, “No, that isn’t OK with us.”
It would be one thing if McCain ran on these issues and won the nomination anyway. At least then, you could say, “I’m not happy, but we have nobody to blame but ourselves because we knew exactly what we were getting.” But, when the man doesn’t even have enough respect for conservatives to follow through for a few months on one of the key promises he made to get the nomination, what message does it send to other Republicans? How far are they going to go if McCain doesn’t pay a price for egregiously lying on an issue that is this important?
That’s why, despite the fact that I think having McCain in the White House would be preferable to having Obama or Clinton in there, I cannot support his candidacy. Sometimes, the price you have to pay to keep your side in power is just a little too high.