John McCain: Maverick?

Evan Bakker

Eight years ago, John McCain sparred with George W. Bush in the Republican primaries, dropping out of the race after below-the-belt campaigning from the other side as well as a decisive defeat on Super Tuesday. McCain had been kicked off the band-wagon of sleazy politicians and unhonorable opportunists, receiving support from both the press and many Americans in the fallout.

 John McCain moved towards the center, voting in the Senate with his conscience and bucking his own party. Unfortunately, eight years later, those politicians in Washington that John McCain detested have come to define him and his campaign. 

Between 2000 and 2008, he teetered between maverick-like independence and Republican party loyalty, slowly drifting towards Republican-type philosophies. The tipping point came when McCain began switching his stances on key issues to fit the mold of the Republicans, voting with President Bush 95 percent of the time in the Senate. Achieving that statistic, he was finally fashioned for a crack at the White House again, this time with his ambitions aimed at continuing his former opponent, George W. Bush’s, policies.

Once the presidential election kicked off in June of this year, he was unrecognizable from the old John McCain. He began making only calculated political decisions for the purpose of ratcheting up votes in the Republican column. He chose Sarah Palin as his second-in-command not because she was logically the most qualified, but because she could further prove his point that he had given up on himself as a maverick and had become committed full-time to the ultra-conservatives.

He wedged issues in between Democrats and Republicans to accentuate his new positions on the far right. The middle-ground, compromising John McCain gave in to the right vs. wrong, conscienceless attacker named John McCain. The sensible, clairvoyant John McCain was swallowed up by the “drill, baby, drill,” jingoism-obsessed John McCain.

So the man who wears a Republican uniform and marches in lockstep with the Bush Administration is a maverick? The man who once opposed the Bush tax cuts and now stands by them loyally? The man who switched his stances on immigration, energy, health care, and major economic issues just so he could wear the Republican badge? The man who pledged to conduct an honorable campaign but unleashed ruthless 527 ads and captained one of the most misleading and negative campaigns in America’s history? 

Maverick: One who refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter. 

Some maverick you are, Mr. McCain.