At least the pretense is gone

John McCain may have had some honesty and honor at one time in his career as a politician. I certainly thought so in 2000 when he was running for President--I was hoping against hope that he would be the Republican candidate and I was disgusted by what Rove and Bush (and their conspirators in the media) did to him in South Carolina. But whatever reputation he had as a straight talker or as a maverick or as the kind of Republican that a Democrat could support, if it wasn't washed away by McCain's subservience to the status quo in 2004, should be gone now. The video that link takes you to is from This Week this morning, and it's online thanks to Crooks and Liars. Sorry, there's no transcript available from the This Week website, so I'll just rip off the transcript from DailyKos diarist QWQ.

On This Week, McCain was confronted with video of the following statement from Larry Johnson at Friday's hearing:

I wish there was a Republican of some courage and conviction that would stand up and call the ugly dog the ugly dog that it is.

But instead, you know, I watched last night, John McCain on Chris Matthews' "Hardball," making excuses, being an apologist.

Where are these men and women over there with any integrity to stand up and speak out against this?

McCain's response:

[nervous smile] Thank you, Larry . . . Rove was trying to knock down what he thought were some inaccuracies.

There's lot's of things I don't understand . . . I trust the President's judgment. . .

[asked about the non-disclosure agreement, which explicitly prohibits negligent disclosures] I don't know what the definition of negligent is. . . .

I think [the President] is under constraints from his lawyer that he can't do anything . . . .

I'd love to see everybody involved come out and say exactly what they did . . . but that isn't how the system works.
Of McCain's five statements, we get one RNC talking point and four evasions (unless you want to count the "I trust the President's judgment" as a sycophantic suck-up).

The idea that McCain was a moderate was always a bad joke--he's always been a rock-ribbed conservative--but he talked a good enough game as an independent that you wanted to believe that he wasn't just another party hack. Any doubt about that should be long gone now.

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