He made a big deal about "honor" and "clean campaigning", then tossed it all aside by hiring the same Rove hitmen who went after him in 2000, to go after Obama.
He spent months mocking Obama's change message, then one day we all woke up to find McCain saying he represented change.
He spent months trying to knock Obama's lack of experience and saying how critical that is because of foreign policy issues, then picked a clueless rookie for his VP, whose sum total of foreign policy experience appears to be "You can actually SEE Russia from Alaska! Hee hee!"
Bill Clinton was criticized for changing positions based on polls, but he's got nothing on McCain. His latest chameleon act? After spending years fighting for deregulation in Washington, now we're supposed to believe he's the guy who's going to "clean up Wall Street" -- a mess that McCain and his close policy advisors helped create. This morning's Washington Post tackles this issue head-on; some excerpts:
I'm not buying this bull -- are you? I don't think many others will either, except for maybe McCain's "base" -- so-called "low information voters" who will swallow any swill he spits at them. But they're pretty hopeless anyway.
A decade ago, Sen. John McCain embraced legislation to broadly deregulate the banking and insurance industries, helping to sweep aside a thicket of rules established over decades in favor of a less restricted financial marketplace that proponents said would result in greater economic growth.
Now, as the Bush administration scrambles to prevent the collapse of the American International Group (AIG), the nation's largest insurance company, and stabilize a tumultuous Wall Street, the Republican presidential nominee is scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation to end "reckless conduct, corruption and unbridled greed" on Wall Street.
In 2002, McCain introduced a bill to deregulate the broadband Internet market, warning that "the potential for government interference with market forces is not limited to federal regulation." Three years earlier, McCain had joined with other Republicans to push through landmark legislation sponsored by then-Sen. Phil Gramm (Tex.), who is now an economic adviser to his campaign. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act aimed to make the country's financial institutions competitive by removing the Depression-era walls between banking, investment and insurance companies.
That bill allowed AIG to participate in the gold rush of a rapidly expanding global banking and investment market. But the legislation also helped pave the way for companies such as AIG and Lehman Brothers to become behemoths laden with bad loans and investments.
McCain now condemns the executives at those companies for pursuing the ambitions that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act made possible, saying that "in an endless quest for easy money, they dreamed up investment schemes that they themselves don't even understand."
Yesterday, Obama seized on what he called McCain's "newfound support for regulation" and accused his rival of backing "a broken system in Washington that is breaking the American economy."
In a speech in Golden, Colo., Obama blamed the economic crisis on an "economic philosophy" that he said McCain and President Bush supported blindly.
"John McCain has spent decades in Washington supporting financial institutions instead of their customers," he told a crowd of about 2,100 at the Colorado School of Mines. "So let's be clear: What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed."
As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee for more than a decade, McCain did not have direct oversight of the financial sector. But he sat at the center of arguments between telephone, cable and satellite companies, almost always pressing for more competition.
"I'm always for less regulation," he told the Wall Street Journal in March. He added: "I'd like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated."