Monday, September 25, 2006

John McCain, the Straight Torture Express, And the Moral Price of Ambition

Huffington Post
Brent Budowsky
John McCain, the Straight Torture Express, And the Moral Price of Ambition

The misnomered "compromise" on torture, which is a 90% ratification of the Bush and Cheney torture policy, and a 100% abdication of the responsiblity of Congress, is barely worth an itemized breakdown of deficiencies.

It is not a compromise. It is a ratification. Let us hope that the coming week brings an outcry from military and retired military leaders who
are appalled by this.

John McCain's outrage, or John McCain's moral tragedy, is Shakespearean in magnitude.

"Who doth ambition shun..."

In 2000, the partisans pushing Bush slandered even McCain's military heroism, slandered even McCain's wife, slandered the essence of what McCain stood for.

Who doth ambition shun. By 2004 McCain was maneuvering for the support of those who slandered him. Shamefully, he issued only the tamest comments when John Kerry's heroism was similarly slandered.

In 2000, MCain stood for religious and political tolerance, speaking out against the politics of intolerance, while young men and women stood in the audience gazing at McCain with genuine admiration.

Who doth ambition shun.

By 2008, those young men and women will be gone from those audiences, the halo of genuine admiration having disappeared, replaced by the hacks of "win at all costs" Republicanism and the ideologues of the far right, who's favor McCain now sadly solicits.

Gone are the compelling moral calls for religious tolerance, gone with the wind, in McCain's new solicitations and maneuverings for support of those he once called intolerant.

In 2000, McCain spoke of integrity, honor and reform in politics.

Who doth ambition shun.

By 2006, McCain political action committee is donating huge sums of money to finance the upcoming smear and slander campaign that the Republican Committees are launching against Democrats.

Honor and integrity have yielded to dirt and smear. The words remain the same, but the McCain money finances the mud, and the McCain courage in fighting for honor in politics is gone with the wind

Who doth ambition shun.

Now, shamefully, sadly, pathetically, it is torture.

The Straight Talk Express has fallen off the tracks. The Straight Torture Express is leaving the station. Even my eightysomething mother commented, after watching McCain on television on Sunday, that McCain's body language sugggested a man uncomfortable with himself.

I didn't watch it.

I couldn't bear to.

This is too much the outrage, and much too sad.

Who doth ambition shun.

The advocate of religious tolerance, paying homage and virtually grovelling to the same forces he once called intolerant.

The advocate of integrity, honor, reform, using his dough to pay for dirt, smear and slander in campaign commercials financed by money raised for his Straight Talk Express.

And now it's torture. Yet another maneuver for a cause that is lesser than himself, the triangulations around torture, in the pursuit of ambition, with the surrender of principle, leaving the odious stench of opportunism in service to acts the rest of the world will consider violations of Geneva.

The Straight Talk Express is gone.

The Straight Torture Express has arrived.

It is the moral cost of ambition.

Someday, somewhere, in some town in New Hampshire, John McCain will speak of honor and integrity, and look into audience for those young men and women full of hope and admiration who were there for him, in New Hampshire, in 2000.

And they will be gone, replaced by some hustling Republican consultant, writing his talking points on torture.