John McCain once again donned his Maverick star this week as he stood up to Bush on the matter of not violating the Geneva Conventions to allow torture. He was doing his thing, talking all tough about how the Conventions had quite possibly saved his life. McCain was tortured for a time as a prisoner of war during Vietnam, but it was the United States' position of moral authority that convinced the North Vietnamese not to torture POWs. Given this circumstance, McCain seemed to really be standing his ground. Until today.
Here was yet again another example of the bullshit facade that is the McCain Maverick. He'll look strong in facing Bush before it actually matters, but when the chips are down, he folds. Plain and simple. Thursday night was just another example of it. After spending the week as one of three Republicans who steadfastly refused to acquiese to Bush's insane desire to torture, they closed up shop and walked away. Of course, the narrative of the legislation is that it was a compromise with Bush giving a little and McCain getting a little, but upon closer examination, nothing of the sort ever really happened.
From Marty Lederman at Balkinization:
[I]t only takes 30 seconds or so to see that the Senators [McCain, et al] have capitulated entirely, that the U.S. will hereafter violate the Geneva Conventions by engaging in Cold Cell, Long Time Standing, etc., and that there will be very little pretense about it. In addition to the elimination of habeas rights in section 6, the bill would delegate to the President the authority to interpret "the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions" "for the United States," except that the bill itself would define certain "grave breaches" of Common Article 3 to be war crimes.Follow the link and read the whole piece. Fun stuff. And by "fun" I mean heart-wrenching and upsetting.
I've been sniping at McCain's Maverick bullshit since I started this blog, mostly concerned with the fact that the media has been sucking at the teet of the Maverick since at least 2000 and the manlove has only grown stronger over the years. They use words like "independent" and "principled" to describe a man that time after time has proven to be anything but. Time and again he's mounted his trusty steed and looked like a shining white knight against Bush only to dismount into a pile of horseshit when the camera lights are shut off. Is the media ever going to notice that the Maverick is a sham? Though I have my doubts that he truly is the presumptive front runner going into the '08 GOP primaries, the media has latched onto that narrative. My question is, will they also continue to be married to his Maverick persona this time next year when we're in full primary campaign mode? Or will they begin to open their eyes and realize he's just as devoid of actual principles as the man he pretends to stand up to on occasion?