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ISSUE #112
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Features

ArrowMcCain's Mutiny
Why "Mr. Integrity" wants the war to drag on
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Negligents
How to convert ignorance into “skepticism”
Ben Zaitchik

ArrowCivil War?
An oxymoron in one act
Ian Murphy

ArrowBaker-Hamilton Omission Report
Iraq Study Group aims to change perception, not reality
Matt Taibbi

ArrowThe BEAST Holiday Gift Guide
Because you must consume!

ArrowAre YOU a Racist?
Take the BEAST Quiz!

Local BEAST

ArrowAn Important Message from our Fearless Leader
Paul Fallon

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Environmental Apocalypse

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Turistas, Blood Diamond, Unaccompanied Minors, Apocalypto, The Holiday

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Fiends Like These, Cutler & Run, That's [sic], Osama for your Mama and more

 

McCain’s Mutiny

continued - page 2

Further examples of McCain’s shamelessness come in the form of flip-flopping: On abortion, from “I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations” in 1999 to “I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support” last month. On the gay marriage amendment, from “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans” in 2004 to “reconfirming” his support for the same amendment to Baptist gasbag Jerry Falwell and doing two commercials for an Arizona ban. On Falwell himself, who McCain called an “agent of intolerance” only two years ago, only to eat shit at Falwell’s Liberty University this year and now supporting teaching the idiot theory of Intelligent Design in schools. McCain opposed Bush’s tax cuts, but has since voted to make them permanent.

The list goes on and on, making it incredibly clear to any knowledgeable observer that John McCain is just another go-along-to-get-along bullshit artist—in other words, a senator. But reporters and pundits don’t just avoid the subject; they deny it with an irrational certitude. The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson personified press fealty to McCain in an Op-Ed on the 13th: “McCain’s position, at least, is sincerely held, as befits a candidate whose calling card is his integrity.”

That’s cute, isn’t it? Meyerson offers no explanation or argument as to how he determined McCain’s sincerity—there is none—he just says it is so, and you’re supposed to buy it. “Integrity” is the long-established meme attached to McCain, and intellectually lazy mainstream journos aren’t particularly interested in breaking new rhetorical ground there.

Some more sophisticated analysts acknowledge McCain’s tradition of bullshittery, suggesting that McCain’s call for more troops is a savvy feint, considering the unfeasibility of such a plan in the face of depleted troop reserves. Cokie Roberts called it “a somewhat convenient position, because he can always say, ‘No one tried to win the war the way that I suggested to win it.’ ” But I don’t think so. McCain seemed genuinely pissed that the ISG didn’t consider his proposal, and I think I know why.

The reality is this: John McCain is running for president. Just like any other serious candidate, everything McCain says and does for the next (and the last) two years is calculated to help him win in 2008. If McCain thought calling for an immediate withdrawal would help his chances, he’d do that. Hell, if he thought doing a choreographed dance number on the senate floor to the tune of “Love Machine” would help his poll numbers, he’d be working out the steps with Paula Abdul right now. If McCain wants the war to intensify, you can bet he thinks it’s a good long-term strategy to win—the election.

The idea that the war hurts McCain is just plain dumb. Americans may regret the war, but most Republicans still hate the idea of admitting defeat. McCain’s hawkishness will help him secure the GOP nomination, perhaps the most difficult obstacle between him and the White House—and the reason for all the fundamentalist footsy with Falwell. And a still-roiling quagmire in Iraq would be huge boon for McCain in a run against soft-on-slaughter Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, his most likely opponent.

McCain isn’t any more responsible for the war in Iraq than Hillary, for one, so the idea of voters punishing him for supporting it makes no sense. And who do you think voters will trust to guide the country to an acceptable solution in an ever-worsening war, the celebrated ‘Nam POW or the smarty-pants feminist? Hillary has and will continue to talk tough about the war, but she just can’t win a bloodthirstiness contest against McCain.

By contrast, in the improbable event the Iraq mess is largely over by November 2008, McCain seems old and irrelevant rather than strong and reassuring. What issue does McCain really have without the war? Gay marriage? The ISG recommendation to pull out the troops by 2008 completely FUBARs McCain’s program, and that’s why he pulled the Popeye routine on Baker and Hamilton. McCain wants this stupid, pointless, sucker’s war to drag on, maybe even get worse. He needs something to rescue us from. He can’t win without it. And hey, what’s a few thousand more corpses if it means he gets to be president?

 

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