My maverick no more

Charles Myers

Note from the editor: Charles Myers is the president of Villanova College Democrats.

In 2000, I supported John McCain. Yes, I was only 12 at the time, but there was something I liked about the “straight-talking maverick” from Arizona.

I liked the fact that he criticized the “agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right” and I was enamored with the idea of a president I could trust to tell me what he thought was the truth – regardless of what position his party took.

In the eight years since, however, McCain’s positions have not so slowly become those of the very “agents of intolerance” he once criticized.

The strange pilgrimage of John Sydney McCain came to my attention in the summer of 2006 when he – at the invitation of Rev. Jerry Falwell – gave the commencement address at Liberty University.

In fact, they got so comfortable together that Falwell told the Washington Post in a telephone interview that year that “John McCain and I are friends.” Whether McCain has since reconciled with Louis Farrakhan is doubtful, and a Google search turns up nothing on the subject.

Yet McCain did not stop there. He began to actively court the rest of the “agents of intolerance,” and in doing so, he put his ambitions ahead of his country. Perhaps the final straw was when he picked out Pastor Hagee as a spiritual adviser.

In addition to his anti-Catholic comments – he called the Catholic Church one that preached a “Godless theology of hate” – Hagee preaches that Jews ought to return to Israel so that they can possibly perish in a nuclear conflict. To Pastor Hagee: thanks, but no thanks. After the public furor over Pastor Hagee’s controversial beliefs grew too great, he stopped mentoring McCain on the spiritual level.

It made me wonder what might have occurred if a handful of good citizens had failed to look into the ideas that McCain claimed to take as advice. Then I started going through his positions.

As it turned out, my maverick had experienced a change of heart years before when, on May 22, 2003, he bragged about a study that showed he supported President Bush’s positions over 90 percent of the time.

An aberration perhaps? Not really. According to Congressional Quarterly, the go-to publication for non-partisan political information, McCain voted with Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007 and 100 percent of the time in 2008. That is, when he’s bothered to show up to vote – he has missed 63.8 percent of the votes in the past two years. For a measure of comparison: Sen. Johnson, who suffered a near-fatal stroke in 2006, has missed 48.7 percent of all the votes.

And worse still: the pandering continued, this time on gas prices. McCain still brags about his support of a gas tax holiday, which every economist said would only increase demand leading to further price increases.

Ultimately, that was what caused me to change my mind to change about McCain. Experience is a good thing: there is no denying it, but when, in spite of all your experience, you choose to make terrible decision after terrible decision in a desperate attempt to advance your own political career, you are no longer placing your country ahead of yourself. You are placing yourself ahead of your country.


Charles Myers is a junior political science, history and philosophy triple major from Elkins Park, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected].