After decades of embracing the liberal media moniker "maverick" for his frequent derision of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, McCain has now abandoned the label. He told Newsweek magazine earlier this month: "I never considered myself a maverick." But countless YouTube videos show McCain and vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin invoking the "m" word. Here's a typical bit of self-puffery from a McCain stump speech on Oct.14, 2008:
"It's well known that I have not been elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate, nor with the administration. I have opposed the president on spending, on climate change, on torture of prisoner, on ... Guantanamo Bay. On the way that the Iraq War was conducted. I have a long record, and the American people know me very well, and that is independent and a maverick of the Senate, and I'm happy to say that I've got a partner that's a good maverick along with me now."
With veteran tough-on-illegal-immigration GOP challenger J.D. Hayworth (whom I support) just five points behind McCain in the latest Rasmussen poll, Not-Maverick has now abandoned (or rather re-abandoned) his notoriously long-held open borders stance. Just a few short years ago, Not-Maverick was attacking Rush Limbaugh as a "nativist" for opposing the Bush-Kennedy-McCain amnesty plan. When GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions introduced an amendment to bar illegal aliens from receiving the earned income tax credit, McCain likened it to Jim Crow laws.
Sessions: "I do not believe we should award people who have entered our country illegally, submitted a false Social Security number, worked illegally... I do not believe we should reward them with $29 billion of the taxpayers' money. That is a lot of money."
McCain: "What's next - are we going to say work-authorized immigrants are going to have to ride in the back of the bus?"
When Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico called for a cap on the number of visas for legal permanent residents at 650,000, McCain called it un-American and accused Bingaman of "discriminating" against poor foreigners (never mind that the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill itself had a visa cap of 290,000). Like the true progressive he is, McCain never lets the facts get in the way of playing the race card. Unless it's an election year, that is.
When McCain's friend GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma put forth an amendment to "require the enforcement of existing border security and immigration laws and congressional approval before amnesty can be granted," McCain refused to take a position and sat out the vote. The amendment failed 42-54.
Just how beholden and deferential were McCain and his illegal alien shamnesty Republican twin Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to Teddy Kennedy? During floor debate on an amendment that would have required illegal aliens who get legal status to have a minimum level of health insurance, the Washington Times reported, the pair scurried over to check with Kennedy before voting to ensure their votes all matched. The amendment went down.
Actions speak louder than the pro-enforcement, strong-borders rhetoric McCain adopted for his failed 2008 presidential run - and which he has now resurrected to save his seat in his border violence-plagued state of Arizona.
More words you can't believe in: In a fundraising e-mail sent out this week, McCain pledged that he's "determined to return to the Senate to continue fighting against the massive expansion of government under President Obama." Yet, to this day, McCain refuses to admit his own individual responsibility for supporting the pre-socialization of the economy started under George W. Bush and continued under Obama. McCain has never admitted he was wrong about his support of the $700 billion all-purpose, earmark-stuffed TARP bailout; the $25 billion auto bailout; the first $85 billion AIG bailout; and his proposed $300 billion mortgage entitlement bailout (which dwarfed Obama's plan).
His latest McLame-est excuse for supporting TARP? He was "misled." But all the warning signs and red flags about Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's incompetence and untrustworthiness were there before McCain joined the Chicken Little crowd. McCain is trying to have it all ways - refusing to admit he was wrong, blaming Paulson for duping him, and creating the illusion that he'll be competent enough to resist the next inevitable bailout temptation when the feds hit the panic button.
Asked by a conservative constituent at a recent town hall meeting why the four-term senator deserved to be elected, McCain stammered before giving his best argument: He had more "standing" than anyone else. Entrenched incumbency is not an argument for more entrenched incumbency. Stop this ride. It's time for McCain to get off.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).