Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain Myth

Conservative Daniel Larison on the Myth of McCain and the Obamacons:

McCain used to be authentic, you see, but now he is not (not true–he has always been the same person!); he showed tremendous bravery in backing the “surge” (not true–it was enormously popular among GOP regulars and primary voters!); McCain has changed (see the first point). This is the sort of whinging justification Obama supporters on the right often have to make to save face, which further reinforces the old McCain myth: if only McCain had remained true to himself, I would have supported him, but now he has sacrificed his integrity! What few seem willing to accept is that McCain has always been like this, and his past admirers have blinded themselves to his flaws because they found him useful or were swayed by his biography, and until very recently most have had no problem with McCain’s flaws. Indeed, they seem incapable of admitting that McCain has any flaws of his own, but are insistent that whatever is wrong with him is the function of the pressures of the campaign.

They have been wrong about him for a very long time and don’t want to admit that, so they make the less insulting choice of endorsing his opponent. It is much more generous to McCain to pretend that the presidential campaign has somehow forced him to become someone he isn’t. It is a compliment to say that one is endorsing Obama only because McCain has betrayed his true self. None of this is true, and it reflects a remarkable deference to McCain even at this late stage of the game that so many people are saying it. Of course, this myth also helps to excuse their support for McCain for so many years.

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