McCain Defies Bush on Treatment of Detainees

I’m no fan of John McCain, but sometimes it is only fair to give the other side credit. McCain ran as the outsider in 2000 and found that is a dead end in the GOP. He has been trying to run as Bush’s heir in 2008 and has been photographed being as cuddly with Dubya as Joe Lieberman. Politically the smart thing to do would be to go along with the Bush Administration, including on detainees, but McCain is sticking to principle here.

This may only remind Repubicans of why they opposed him in 2000. The Washington Post notes, “In a reprise of criticism showered on McCain during his 2000 campaign, some prominent conservatives are branding him a disloyal Republican and an unreliable conservative because of his assertiveness on the detainee issue.”

Perhaps McCain can afford to stick to his principles on this issue. It is unlikely to hurt him in New Hampshire. The big question is South Carolina, where disagreeing with Bush might not be as dangerous as we’d first think. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a former military lawyer, joins McCain in opposing the Bush Administration on treatment of detainees:

In a telephone interview from South Carolina yesterday, Graham said: “What I hear is, people respect the commitment of the president to the [CIA interrogation] program, and they respect my commitment and Senator McCain’s commitment to the troops.”

Graham added: “Every editorial in the state has understood Senator McCain’s and my concerns, and believe they are legitimate.” The Geneva Conventions say wartime detainees must be “treated humanely.” Bush says the United States complies so long as CIA interrogators abide by a 2005 law barring “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of captives. McCain and his allies say that the requirement is too narrow, and that they are concerned Bush’s approach would invite other nations to interpret the conventions in lax ways that could lead to abusive treatment of captive U.S. troops.

Update: The Los Angeles Times looks at how this stand may hurt McCain among conservatives. Sorry John–don’t let them torture people and they won’t want to play with you.
A few older posts on John McCain are under the fold–two of which include the picture of him hugging George Bush.

Hearing the Opposite from John McCain

Posted by Ron Chusid
May 19th, 2006 @ 11:19 am

Michael Kinsley has a theory as to John McCain’s appeal. McCain “says plainly that he is for the war, or against abortion choice, and people hear the opposite. It’s a gift, I guess.” That must be why so many people mistakingly believe he is a moderate.

Want more Bush? Elect McCain

Posted by Ron Chusid
April 9th, 2006 @ 3:59 pm


This is Helen Thomas’ advice today. McCain, while easily appearing reasonable when compared to George Bush, was never the moderate which the media made him out to be. McCain is a masterful politician. He knows that the Republicans will most likely nominate someone seen as the obvious establishment leader of the party, not an outsider. Therefore he is trying to become a George Bush clone, including being the strongest supporter of Bush’s foreign policy and pandering to the far right.

Thomas notes that McCain “is against abortion rights and gun-control laws and believes students should be taught the religion-oriented “intelligent design” theory of creation as well as the theory of scientific evolution.” She warns that “If he wins the presidency, the country can expect a continuation of Bush’s aggressive foreign policy and ultra-right domestic programs.”

Does John McCain Have Alzheimer’s?

Posted by Ron Chusid
March 18th, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

McCain Hugging Bush

I wouldn’t really pretend to diagnose someone without seeing them, but at least we might do for fun what Bill Frist thought he could really do. So today we will play a new game I’d like to call “Does John McCain Have Alzheimer’s?”

Let’s look at the signs and see if they add up.

Is McCain practicing the Richard Fish (of Ally McBeal) philosophy of “bygones” or has he really forgotten what Bush did to him in the 2000 primaries? McCain has been working to get closer to Bush, from the hug pictured above to the Republican straw poll last week. Now he has picked a top Bush advisor to run his PAC. Memory loss or forgiveness? We report, you decide.

Then there’s the question of judgement. It might make a sense to hitch your horse to a popular incumbent, but to Mr. 33% And Falling? That’s no more sensible than to back the teaching of intelligent design.

We’ve seen delusions of grandieur as he’s imagined being picked as VP choice by both Bush and Kerry.

We’ve even seen some aberrant behavior this year in his letter to Senator Obama.

There was a time when, compared to the Bush crowd, John McCain seemed to be a Republican who sometimes made sense. Now its getting harder and harder to tell them apart. Perhaps such a descent into irrationality is what is required to communicate with the Republican base these days. Such a theory as to McCain’s strange behavior may be even more valid than to think he has Alzheimer’s.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    beachmom says:

    Hi Ron — good post. Just a typo — you write “2004” a few times, when it was “2000” that he ran.

    Here is the big question — will McCain end up compromising his principles on this torture bill? The devil is always in the details.

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