There is one thing about which one can say that John McCain is principled. "His politics," says the New York Times, "are best understood as a decade-long attack on the individual." It's telling that this is recognised even in the pages of the New York Times -- no slouch when it comes to attacks on individualism. Says Matt Welch, writing in the Times,
Mr. McCain’s stump speeches, as well as his five books, are chockablock with calls to elevate national greatness, collective duty and Washington rejuvenation over whatever individual roads we might be pursuing. In “Worth the Fighting For,” he wrote that “our greatness depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions.” These institutions, Mr. McCain wrote, should “fortify the public’s allegiance to the national community.”
Like many country-first, party-second military officers who began second careers in Washington, Mr. McCain is often mischaracterized as a politician without any identifiable ideology. But all of his actions can be seen as an attempt to use the federal government to restore your faith in ... the federal government. Once we all put our shoulder on the same wheel, there’s nothing this country can’t do.
It can be a bracing approach when his issues line up with yours — I, for one, would welcome President McCain’s unilateral wars on pork-barrel spending and waterboarding — but it’s treacherous territory for those of us who consider “the pursuit of happiness” as something best defined by individuals, not crusading presidents-to-be.
I don't know about you, but the more I see and hear of the future President McCain (left), the more I think of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (right) and his paeans to "a government of service and duty." Former German chancelllor Helmut Schmidt was once asked to name his favourite philosopher. "Marcus Aurelius," he shot back. "He taught that we must do our duty above all!" I fear that same deaf and blind heel-clicking tone will soon be occupying the White House.
One fears that Robert Bidinotto might be right; that "regardless of the election outcome, I can't see how the 2008 election will have anything but the most dire repercussions for [America's] future. With McCain, Hillary, and Obama in the race, all we need is one more horseman and we've got the Apocalypse."