John McCain (R-AZ) is defending his U.S. Senate seat against a challenge from ultra-conservative radio host J.D. Hayworth. (Yes, the same Hayworth who was a very large recipient of money and gifts--like sports skyboxes--from the shamed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to the New York Times)
While voters may find McCain's name on the ballot, the man is utterly unrecognizable, switching positions daily to mollify the unruly Tea Party crowd. According to today's Times:
....McCain now finds himself jammed, moving starkly--and often awkwardly--to the right, apparently in an attempt to gain favor among the same voters whom Hayworth, a consistent voice for the far right, could pull toward him like taffy come summer.
McCain now sharply criticizes the bailout bill he voted for, pivoted from his earlier position that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility should be closed, offered only a muted response to the Supreme Court's decision undoing campaign finance laws and backed down from statements that gays in the military would be OK by him if the military brass were on board.
I never agreed with John McCain's largely conservative voting record. There once was a time, however, that he had a small independent streak and could be counted on to occasionally buck the party line. Unfortunately, he threw his integrity out the window when he chose Sarah Palin for his running mate.
He knew she was incompetent and not qualified to be President. Yet, he sold out America and placed our national security at risk for a short uptick in the polls following the Republican convention.
Fortunately, after Palin hit New York's ritzy 5th Avenue clothing stores using the Republican Party's credit card and CBS News' Katie Couric revealed that she did not read newspapers, her popularity nosedived.
Choosing Palin was a crass, unforgivable and grossly irresponsible sin of the highest order. The monstrosity that is Sarah was put on full display last weekend when it was revealed that she scribbled notes on her hand, like a first grader, to answer questions at the Tea Party convention.
Even more disturbing, Palin told FOX News that she is now dedicated to boning up on issues and learning about policy.
"Now that my focus has been enlarged," Palin said, "I sure as heck better be more astute on these current events, national issues."
I don't know about her focus, but it is clear that her ego has been enlarged for quite some time. This quote incontrovertibly proves the depravity of Palin, who accepted the job for Vice President knowing full-well she wasn't ready.
What kind of reprobate places the health and well-being of her fellow citizens in grave danger so she can elevate her political career? A person of strong moral character surely would have turned down McCain's offer and spent the time as Alaska's governor to study issues.
Interestingly, while Palin was vividly aware that she had no awareness of public policy, she smeared Barack Obama as a "charismatic guy with a teleprompter."
Back to McCain...the media has always overblown the reality of John McCain's fleeting independent streak. Still, their were moments when the Arizona Senator fought for what we thought he believed in, such as campaign finance reform.
Even for those like myself who were never fans, it is painful to watch McCain cynically and unconvincingly morph into a Tea Party toady. The Senator's brand has quickly gone from mythical maverick to mindless miscreant. His willingness to cash in his values and pawn his principles to stay in power proves that he is no longer fit to serve.
Here is what I will never understand.
Before he surrendered his reputation, McCain was a popular figure revered for his military and public service. Even political opponents admired how he had sacrificed for his country. On the personal sphere, his wife Cindy is incredibly wealthy (and cool, see picture on left) and he could have stepped down from his seat and sailed off with her into the sunset to enjoy life.
Instead, in political desperation he squandered his large stockpile of admiration. The one-time anti-politician has now come to personify the unscrupulous and unprincipled amoral insider McCain used to despise.
McCain's presidential campaign was premised on him and Palin representing the "Real America" that lived beyond the Beltway. How ironic that McCain will now do whatever it takes -- including the destruction of his reputation -- to avoid the Real America and remain in Washington.
If one wants to know where John McCain stands on any given issue today, just look at Tea Party polling numbers. If there is one word to describe him, it is "predictable". This would surely have upset the old John McCain, but he no longer exists.
Last week, Truth Wins Out's Evan Hurst reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner joined right wing Catholics to attack the Human Right's Campaign's Harry Knox as an "anti-Catholic bigot" and called on him to resign from President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
They were allegedly upset that Knox correctly stated that the Pope is hurting people in the name of Jesus by actively working against honest sex and contraception education in sub-Saharan Africa, and is thus contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS on that continent.
The attacks on Knox over old comments seemed oddly timed and forced -- as if those leveling the bogus charges were desperately groping to find a political issue to serve as a smoke screen to distract the world. It was unclear at the time why these pious henchmen wanted us to avert our gaze.
Well, today the other Prada shoe fell.
It became sickeningly obvious why the Church needed to quickly find a Boogie Man. A new child abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Pope Benedict's XVI native Germany. According to The New York Times:
The widening public scandal began last month with allegations that three priests at the elite Canisius Jesuit high school in Berlin had sexually abused students in the 1970s and '80s. In the midst of a steadily growing uproar over the handling of that case, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article that said nearly 100 clerics and laypeople had been suspected of abusing children and teenagers nationwide since 1995.
Der Spiegel said that at least 94 clerics and laypeople had been suspected of abuse since 1995, based on a poll of 27 of Germany's 30 Catholic dioceses. The magazine's cover this week was illustrated with an image of a priest reaching suggestively under his robes.
Making matters worse for Rome, Irish victims of the church's rampant sexual abuse wrote a letter to the Pope asking him to take responsibility for the church's concealment of child molestation by forcing out bishops implicated in the decades of cover-up.
Exactly, why hasn't The Pope done this already? Why isn't punishing child rapists a top priority, rather than the Vatican's outrageous campaign against marriage equality, where consenting adults commit their lives to each other?
The way I see it, conservative Catholics, such as Boehner, Thomas Peters of the American Papist Blog, Dr. Kevin Roberts of Catholic Families for America, and Larry Cirignano of Faithful Catholic Citizens tried to pick a fight with America's largest LGBT rights groups last week over condoms only days before the German report and Irish letter were publicly released. They knew this week's shameful news would turn stomachs and they needed to find a scapegoat.
Fortunately, their conjured anti-gay dust-up fooled no one and the world's eyes are firmly fixed on the real issue -- the church's continued exploitation of youth and the heartbreaking cover-ups.
Before the Roman Catholic Church preaches about values and points fingers, I believe it must clean up its own house. At the moment, it has no moral authority to talk about sexual matters -- from condoms to birth control to homosexuality.
The Vatican has a priority problem. I suggest it take a break and spend the next year devoting all of its energy, time and vast financial resources to healing the hurt it has caused to its own members. Indeed, Germany has lost 3 million Catholics since 1990. Today's tawdry revelations won't help reverse this trend. Nor will launching fake attacks on LGBT people and leaders as a diversion from the perversion that has brought the church to its knees.