Mona Charen

Ed Morrissey of The Captain's Quarters blog reports that McCain spoke of benchmarks in a newspaper interview a year ago. "McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them,' he said. Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options.'"

"I don't change my positions depending on what year it is or what office I'm seeking" McCain has boasted. Yet in the California debate, he was forced to admit that he no longer supports the immigration legislation he himself proposed last year.

He was asked, would you vote for the bill if it came to the floor? "No, it [the bill] would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first." Oh. So McCain has (whisper) changed his position? While we're on the subject of political flexibility, let's recall that McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts (thought they were too nice to the rich) but now wishes to make them permanent.

It's no crime to change one's views, of course, and it would certainly be welcome if McCain were to reexamine a few more of his positions; for example, on detainee interrogations, drug reimportation from Canada, or suitable Supreme Court picks (he confided that he found Alito too conservative). And he could stand a little refresher course on Economics 101, particularly the part about where the wealth of this nation comes from. (Hint: Not from senators.) But his own flip-flops leave him with a huge H (for hypocrite) on his forehead when he singes Romney for opportunism.

McCain's phosphorescent patriotism is his most appealing trait. But in the past few weeks, as he has been winning, his love of country has been riding in tandem with a signally unattractive love of self.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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