Sunday, February 17, 2008

The World's Worst Panderer

This article by Nick Kristof captures why Sen. McCain is so dangerous to the Democratic party -- he could actually win, which is why we need to make sure Sen. Obama wins the nomination.  Just as Sen. Obama is not a knee-jerk, Democratic-special-interest-pandering, dingbat liberal, Sen. McCain is not a knee-jerk, Republican-special-interest-pandering, dingbat conservative. 

In short, Mr. McCain truly has principles that he bends or breaks out of desperation and with distaste. That’s preferable to politicians who are congenital invertebrates.

I disagree with Mr. McCain on Iraq, taxes, abortion and almost every other major issue. He has a nasty temper, which isn’t ideal for the hand holding a nuclear trigger. For a man running partly on biography, he treated his first wife, Carol, poorly. And one of the meanest put-downs in modern political history was a savage joke that Mr. McCain publicly related about Chelsea Clinton when she was 18 years old; it was inexcusable.

Yet Mr. McCain himself would probably acknowledge every one of these flaws, and he is a rare politician with the courage not just to follow the crowd but also to lead it. It is refreshing to see that courage rewarded by voters.

February 17, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The World’s Worst Panderer

Even for those of us who shudder at many of John McCain’s positions, there is something refreshing about a man who wins so many votes despite a major political shortcoming: he is abysmal at pandering.

What sets Senator McCain apart isn’t so much his physical courage in Vietnam; many of his fellow prisoners also showed immense bravery under torture. But the United States Congress tends to be a courage-free zone, so Mr. McCain’s orneriness toward Republican primary voters makes him a lionheart in the political world.

It’s a pleasure to see candidates who don’t just throw red meat to the crowds but try to offer vegetarian options.


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