The first line in this story from USA Today is a telling indictment of someone who is widely considered a man of honor. “Sen. John McCain is scheduled to visit Georgia on Thursday to campaign for GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and Sarah Palin may not be far behind.” It is not the fact that McCain is stumping for a Republican that is a failure of principles. That is expected from the person considered to be the head of the party. It is the man he is stumping for that is the problem.
Chambliss is the person that was responsible for running ads during the 2002 Senate campaign that attacked Max Cleland’s patriotism and commitment to the security of the United States. The ads were called “beyond offensive to me” and “[I]t’s worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.” These aren’t the words of some liberal whiner. They are the words of Republican Senators Chuck Hagel and John McCain, respectively.
These were the same kind of ads that Karl Rove developed and used against John McCain during the 2000 Republican primaries in South Carolina. McCain said “I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those.” referring to the people that used his daughter in push polls. But he had the same people working for him in his 2008 campaign.
And that same primary showed that McCain was not all that committed to his principles. The controversy over the Confederate Flag during that campaign resulted in him admitting “I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles.”
For a man that is supposed to be a maverick, who promised to always tell the truth about his beliefs, McCain seems to spend a lot of time failing to actually follow his principles. He showed “poor judgement” in the Keating Five mess, lied about his beliefs regarding the Confederate Flag controversy in South Carolina, then hired people he earlier called reprehensible to work for him in his Presidential Campaign. And now he is campaigning for Chambliss, a man that uses any means he has to win.
Maybe all of this isn’t a failure of his principles. Maybe his principles are actually exactly what he has been showing us. He wants to win, and is willing to do anything he has to in order to do that. I do not know the man personally, I have to go with what is on the public record. And that record is getting more and more damning.