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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The definition of a maverick: not John McCain

The blare of heavy artillery could be heard across Arizona last week as the state’s Republican senatorial primary candidates battled for their political lives. When the final rounds were fired and the smoke had cleared, one man emerged victorious.

Vietnam War veteran, 2008 Republican presidential nominee and four-term United States senator John McCain claimed victory in last week’s primary. He will now face off against Democratic nominee Rodney Glassman in hopes of serving his fifth and quite possibly final term as Arizona’s senator.

Unfortunately, McCain’s triumph in this primary election has proven that he is willing to do anything, perhaps even sell his soul to the devil, if it will forward his political career. It is clear that the man who once proudly declared himself a “”maverick”” is no longer worthy of the title.

Fervent anti-incumbent sentiment and distrust of the Washington establishment has made this election cycle especially difficult for politicians like John McCain, who has served more than 20 years in Congress. The fact that McCain was once among the most moderate members of the Republican Party has only added fuel to the flame.

The GOP is currently undergoing a purge. Moderate members of the party, such as McCain, are being ousted and replaced by more conservative and, in some cases, more radical right-wing candidates. This purge is typified by the emergence of the Tea Party, a far-right, anti-big government political movement whose agenda, among other things, includes promoting racial intolerance and finding the President’s Kenyan birth certificate.

Any Republican incumbent seeking re-election who is not Tea Party-certified faces the risk of losing his or her conservative credentials as well as a seat in the legislature. McCain and his opponent J.D. Hayworth both received Tea Party endorsements, but apparently McCain didn’t believe being endorsed by a cabal of conspiratorial racists was enough to win a re-election.

In order to appease his political base, which has been corrupted by the Tea Party movement, McCain has disavowed many of the political positions that set him apart from his counterparts. His stances on climate change, cap and trade, immigration, campaign finance reform and “”Don’t ask, don’t tell”” gained him the reputation as one of the most centrist members of the Republican Party, though he has flip-flopped on nearly all of these issues now that an election cycle has rolled around.

McCain’s sudden change of heart on the issue of immigration and amnesty caused a kerfuffle. In fact, the Hayworth campaign made amnesty the centerpiece of their anti-McCain crusade. But oddly enough, McCain now claims he never supported amnesty.

Apparently he wants his constituents to forget that he co-sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill with the very liberal Ted Kennedy that proposed, yes, an amnesty program for more than 12 million illegal immigrants. Now, McCain can be seen in overly-dramatic and poorly-produced campaign ads promising to build a “”danged fence””.

Furthermore, his support of the draconian SB 1070 has thrown many for a loop. How can a man who was at one point a proponent of amnesty come out in support of an immigration law that turns Arizona’s police force into the Gestapo?

We all remember the 2008 presidential election when John McCain and the “”Disasta from Alaska”” drove onto the political stage in their “”Straight Talk Express”” being all “”mavericky.”” A maverick is defined as “”someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action.”” A maverick does not pander to his base, nor does he seek to appease an unorganized political movement destined to be tossed into the trash heap of history.

John McCain is not a maverick. He is a sell-out, willing to sacrifice his principles in order to fulfill his political ambitions.

 

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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