Ryan Chartrand

Way back in December, the status of the Republican primary was about as clear as the status of today’s Democratic primary, a primary that continues to lurch along like a stream of stagnant creek water.

It was different and interesting watching the candidates duke it out at the debates, because for the most part they tried to see who could end up the farthest right on each issue, as opposed to the Democrats who usually have to spinelessly shoot for the center. There was something eerily foreshadowing about these fiercely contested “I hate illegal aliens more than you” debate questions and their ilk.

It was hard to tell back then, but it was these same questions from these same debates that would epitomize the true discord in the Republican party and ultimately open the door for an improbable comeback.

Enter John Sidney McCain, some hokey poll-tested phrase about “God’s children,” and the dusting-off of the George W. Bush playbook of three simple rules:

1. Pander to the right,

2. Answer to the rich,

3. Always promise to be moderate.

The Republican front-runners became so caught up in the first two rules that they forgot about the third (much to their demise), and so the story unfolded . the collective hare tripped over the tortoise in the race to the nomination.

Some say McCain was simply lucky to be in a pool of weak candidates, which is true to a certain degree. When registered Republicans were surveyed during early primary season, they consistently said they were unhappy with their field of candidates, according to the Washington Post. But it took more than that to end up on top.

It took about two and a half decades of carefully crafting the maverick image, successfully cultivating political capital on the idea that McCain’s “down-to-earth,” “free-thinking,” “an open-minded moderate,” “experienced,” “straight-talking,” “a good ole GOPer.”

A lot of Republicans look to this maverick image for mental sustenance in the dried-up desert of Republican optimism, hoping for a hero to hoist their loyal party out of the quicksand it had unfortunately been led to by the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

And they should be saved. Do not doubt me when I say I want a Republican party virile in its true conservative ideals, and not infected with the disease that is neo-conservatism. Just as competition is necessary to maintain a healthy marketplace, competition is necessary to maintain a healthy marketplace of ideas.

Consequently, it is with absolutely no personal satisfaction that I must say John McCain the politician is not their savior, and has proven himself to be no more than a double-talking, short-tempered, empty vessel of a man who used to have the guts to follow his own convictions but abandoned them on his long journey to the Republican nomination.

In all honesty, John McCain’s “Straight-Talk” is about as straight as Boy George.

For instance, he claims he will run a respectful campaign, but then says things like “I think it’s very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States . If Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly.”

For instance, he hammers Barack Obama about his ex-pastor’s controversial remarks after actively seeking an endorsement from Rev. John Hagee, whose own controversial remarks range from (but are not limited to) comparing the Catholic Church to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime or insinuating that the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was justified as a punishment from God to the people of New Orleans who were “living in sin.”

For instance, he says, “The American people were led to believe that this (Iraq war) would be some kind of day at the beach, which many of us fully understood from the beginning would be a very, very difficult undertaking,” but years before he said “the success will be fairly easy” and “I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time.”

If the hypothetical “Maverick McCain” wasn’t so hypothetical, he would chart a new course and try to clean up the mess his party has made over the past eight years, if for nothing more than to repair its reputation. Unfortunately for Republicans, and ultimately all Americans, McCain has shamelessly espoused himself to the positions of the Bush administration and has demonstrated with his mouth that he is more of a myth than a man, let alone a maverick.

And that’s straight-talk.

Jake McGowan is a political science sophomore and a liberal columnist for the Mustang Daily.

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