What happened to John McCain? What happened to the man so many of us in New Hampshire have admired and respected for so long? The fierce bipartisan warrior, the straight talker, the maverick whose ideas nearly everyone found some common ground with now seems missing in action. He seems to have betrayed the very attributes that originally commended him to us and earned our earlier trust and support.
This is a man who once denounced and purposefully avoided the politics of personal destruction, having felt firsthand its painful consequences in 2000 in South Carolina, but who now wants to win at any cost. By ridiculing his opponent's commitment to public service, he has undermined the very reason we were drawn to McCain in the first place.
Even the most ardent true-believers among us must be privately shaking in their boots contemplating a heart-beat-away Palin presidency during these difficult times. When Putin acts up, who do you want whispering in your President's ear: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?
We in New Hampshire bear some responsibility, I suppose. Thinking we had the old McCain, we gave him a decisive victory in our primary that permitted him to vanquish those challengers. But he betrayed us. If you have to say you're a maverick in your ads, it's clear you're not. The real maverick turns out to be Barack Obama, who bucked his party's establishment and whose once-lonely positions have been adopted by nearly everyone including even the Bush administration. Nearly everyone, that is, except John McCain. So what happened to him?
That's what Granite State citizens have been asking the last few months. The answer is enough to turn us blue.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Ken Burns: This is not the John McCain New Hampshire Once Loved
I'm a resident of Vermont; my state and New Hampshire are neighbors. While VT and NH have a surprising number of political differences, they have enough similarities that I never for a moment have believed McCain would carry the state (despite his history there). Here's another view -- one being echoed in more and more circles -- this time from renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns: