John McCain was once a symbol of what’s right with America, persevering through years of torture and torment while imprisoned in the notorious Hanoi Hilton. But decades later within the far cozier confines of the U.S Senate, he has become a symbol of why many Americans in public opinion polls believe our best days are behind us.
McCain was imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton because he wore a uniform that stood for truth, justice, and the American way. Values that represent what we often refer to as “American Exceptionalism.” Each of those values is anathema to every strain of statism, including the kind McCain was fighting against in Vietnam. However, these days McCain is advancing a set of beliefs that aligns much closer with his former Vietcong captors than the Founding Fathers.
Here is a snapshot chronology of McCain’s record since 2004:
If “by their fruit” you will know them, there’s hardly a principle of American Exceptionalism that McCain hasn’t betrayed in the past eight years. Taxes, spending, rule of law, illegal immigration, marriage, life, Second Amendment, foreign policy—you name it and it’s likely that McCain has betrayed it.
McCain has often touted himself as a “maverick” and a man of principle. If indeed he is a man of principle it’s all the wrong ones. It’s not just that he’s wrong, but he’s dangerously wrong. McCain has advocated tax-and-spend policies that would severely cripple families. McCain has advocated acquiescence on the killing of 4,000 innocent children per day. McCain has advocated against the rule to the detriment of American citizens (NDAA) but for illegal aliens (scamnesty). McCain opposed protecting the natural human family, and thus also opposed protecting religious liberty that is threatened by redefining marriage. McCain has advocated a foreign policy that to put it bluntly has accomplished little other than making it easier to persecute Christians in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and now Syria.
Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute has a saying: “personnel is policy.” Look at who McCain has surrounded himself with. One of his former top advisers helped cut anti-Second Amendment television ads this year, and his 2008 national campaign manager is now working with the ACLU to undermine marriage protection amendments passed by voters in 31 states (basically voter disenfranchisement).
To sum up, McCain has actively opposed the ideals that make our enemies hate us for all the right reasons – faith, family, and freedom. And he did so in many cases while running for president. Most politicians master the art of pandering as they gear up to advance their ambitions, but not McCain. It’s almost like he has such disdain for American Exceptionalism he prides himself on opposing it, and panders to the progressive dolts in our liberal media instead.
Standing for all the wrong things these past few years essentially nullified any purpose to his persevering through the Hanoi Hilton. Why suffer through torture if you were just going to oppose the ideals that put you there in the first place? I suffered through physical and emotional abuse growing up. But there would’ve been no meaning to persevering through that suffering if I would’ve turned around and abused my own children as well.
If you truly want to grasp just what kind of shape our culture is in, consider this—McCain was selected as the standard-bearer for the opposition to Barack Obama in 2008.
I’ll give McCain credit for at least one thing. Once and for all he’s debunked the myth that a bad Republican is still better than a good Democrat. McCain’s legacy testifies the battle really isn’t Republican vs. Democrat but Liberty vs. Tyranny, and it’s really not Right vs. Left but Right vs. Wrong.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.
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