Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Second Thoughts on McCain

Mary Lynn Jones has a column in American Prospect questioning liberal support for John McCain. She writes that for all that Democrats have favored McCain and pandered to him and tried to trump up their connections to him, he is still the enemy.

I can understand her wariness towards the party trying to embrace him in any official sense as he is clearly committed to his party and not interested in abandoning or betraying it, but I can't agree with her overall thesis. While I am quite dissappointed by the degree to which he has allowed himself to be whored out to the Bush campaign, John McCain is still a rare figure in national politics.

McCain is a man of great character and integrity. Appreciation for him should and does cross party lines. His efforts to attack pork-barrel politics and preserve the integrity of the political system against the invasive influence of campaign funding, and his rejection of base partisanship to productively engage the opposite party make him a valuable asset to the entire nation. It is well that Democrats recognize this and talk about him during their campaigns. It demonstrates that they also value (or at least play at valuing) the healthy approach to policy that McCain embodies. I will admit that it did get a bit silly during the primaries when candidates were competing to see who really was best friends with McCain. But it would be sad for me to think that even someone of McCain's quality should need to be regarded more by their party label than their personal qualities.

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