Friday, April 25, 2008


John McCain has admitted his ignorance on the issue that is at the top of most voters' list of worries. In November 2005, he told the Wall Street Journal, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” Then in December 2007, he made the even more candid claim, “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

So in the spirit of straight talk, it's my turn to admit my ignorance. I don't understand John McCain as well as I should. The former opponent of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday now wraps himself in the mantle of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. The man who suffered greatly in one of America's longest and most tragic wars now supports staying in another long and tragic war for another fifty or hundred years. The man who once bucked his party on tax policy now sings the praises of corporate and capital gains tax cuts. The man who grew up in an elite family and married a beverage distribution heiress now lambastes the Democratic front runner as an elitist.

To understand the long and strange political career of the most prominent Arizonan since Barry Goldwater (sorry Mo Udall, Bruce Babbitt, and Janet Napolitano), I'm heading off this morning to my local bookstore (doing my small bit to keep quirky, independent bookstores alive and well). There, I'll pick up a copy of Cliff Schecter's The Real McCain. It should be said that the young Cliff studied political history at a major Rustbelt university with an urbanist turned blogger. I hope he learned something useful there.