Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 8:16 AM
I have always marveled at the derision with which some candidates charge their opponents as being “just another politician“- as if they were referring to someone with no more socially redeeming value than a common thief. Especially since all of them are acutely aware that, in making this charge, they are deriding the very office they’re campaigning for.
Sadly, the dumbing down of politics in America today is such that a candidate would rather be called a shameless panderer than a politician. Of course, pandering is the political strategy of the moment because never before in the history of this republic have so many “politicians” been so handsomely rewarded for saying so many outrageous and politically untenable things. And former Speaker Newt Gingrich equating Muslims with Nazis is Exhibit A in this respect.
But nobody personifies this triumph of the panderer over the politician more than Senator John McCain. For, in order to pander to the Arizona voters – who gave him a primary win yesterday, he adamantly disavowed all of his views on hot-button issues (like immigration reform) that made him worthy of his self-anointed title as a Washington maverick. He even gainsaid this title despite the fact that he ran his 2008 presidential campaign as “the original maverick.”
Ironically, McCain pandering in this fashion – to curry favor with the Christian pharisees and Tea-Party philistines who are now the kingmakers in his Republican Party – reminds me of the Christian proverb:
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Because all he has profited is a chance now to be re-elected for one final term as a United States senator. And for this he has lost his political soul?
In any case, here’s to McCain and all of the other craven panderers who clearly think that you really can fool enough of the electorate enough of the time. And shame on American voters for proving them right. Not least because, as more and more politicians convert to this “winning” strategy of pandering, America itself will lose its own soul.