John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most "electable" Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk.
Of course, I might lie constantly too, if I were seeking the Republican presidential nomination after enthusiastically promoting amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws.
I might lie too, if I had opposed the Bush tax cuts, a marriage amendment to the Constitution, waterboarding terrorists and drilling in Alaska.
And I might lie if I had called the ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "dishonest and dishonorable."
McCain angrily denounces the suggestion that his "comprehensive immigration reform" constituted "amnesty" -- on the ludicrous grounds that it included a small fine. Even the guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy didn't fall for this a few years ago.
In 2003, McCain told The Tucson Citizen that "amnesty has to be an important part" of any immigration reform. He also rolled out the old chestnut about America's need for illegals, who do "jobs that American workers simply won't do."
McCain's amnesty bill would have immediately granted millions of newly legalized immigrants Social Security benefits. He even supported allowing work performed as an illegal to count toward Social Security benefits as recently as a vote in 2006 -- now adamantly denied by Mr. Straight Talk.
McCain keeps boasting that he was "the only one" of the Republican presidential candidates who supported the surge in Iraq.
What is he talking about? All Republicans supported the surge -- including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. The only ones who didn't support it were McCain pals like Sen. Chuck Hagel. Indeed, the surge is the first part of the war on terrorism that caused McCain to break from Hagel in order to support the president.
True, McCain voted for the war. So did Hillary Clinton. Like her, he then immediately started attacking every other aspect of the war on terrorism. (The only difference was, he threw in frequent references to his experience as a POW, which currently outnumber John Kerry's references to being a Vietnam vet.)
Thus, McCain joined with the Democrats in demanding O.J. trials for terrorists at Guantanamo, including his demand that the terrorists have full access to the intelligence files being used to prosecute them.
These days, McCain gives swashbuckling speeches about the terrorists who "will follow us home." But he still opposes dripping water down their noses. He was a POW, you know. Also a member of the Keating 5 scandal, which you probably don't know, and won't -- until he becomes the Republican nominee.
Though McCain was far from the only Republican to support the surge, he does have the distinction of being the only Republican who voted against the Bush tax cuts. (Also the little lamented Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who later left the Republican Party.) Now McCain claims he opposed the tax cuts because they didn't include enough spending cuts. But that wasn't what he said at the time.
To the contrary, in 2001, McCain said he was voting against Bush's tax cuts based on the idiotic talking point of the Democrats. "I cannot in good conscience," McCain said, "support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief."
McCain started and fanned the vicious anti-Bush myth that, before the 2000 South Carolina primary, the Bush campaign made phone calls to voters calling McCain a "liar, cheat and a fraud" and accusing him of having an illegitimate black child.
On the thin reed of a hearsay account, McCain immediately blamed the calls on Bush. "I'm calling on my good friend George Bush," McCain said, "to stop this now. He comes from a better family. He knows better than this."
Bush denied that his campaign had anything to do with the alleged calls and, in a stunningly magnanimous act, ordered his campaign to release the script of the calls being made in South Carolina.
Bush asked McCain to do the same for his calls implying that Bush was an anti-Catholic bigot, but McCain refused. Instead, McCain responded with a campaign commercial calling Bush a liar on the order of Bill Clinton:
MCCAIN: His ad twists the truth like Clinton. We're all pretty tired of that.
ANNOUNCER: Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?
After massive investigations by the Los Angeles Times and investigative reporter Byron York, among others, it turned out that neither of the alleged calls had ever been made by the Bush campaign -- nor, it appeared, by anyone else. There was no evidence that any such calls had ever been made, which is unheard of when hundreds of thousands of "robo-calls" are being left on answering machines across the state.
And yet, to this day, the media weep with McCain over Bush's underhanded tactics in the 2000 South Carolina primary.
In fact, the most vicious attack in the 2000 South Carolina primary came from McCain -- and not against his opponent.
Seeking even more favorable press from The New York Times, McCain launched an unprovoked attack against the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, calling them "agents of intolerance." Unlike the phantom "black love child" calls, there's documentary evidence of this smear campaign.
To ensure he would get full media coverage for that little gem, McCain alerted the networks in advance that he planned to attack their favorite whipping boys. Newspaper editors across the country stood in awe of McCain's raw bravery. The New York Times praised him in an editorial that said the Republican Party "has for too long been tied to the cramped ideology of the Falwells and the Robertsons."
Though McCain generally votes pro-life -- as his Arizona constituency requires -- he embraces the loony lingo of the pro-abortion set, repeatedly assuring his pals in the media that he opposes the repeal of Roe v. Wade because it would force women to undergo "illegal and dangerous operations."
Come to think of it, Dole is a million times better than McCain. Why not run him again?