John McCain: Straight Shooter?

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John McCain, 2005 [Mr. Wright / Flickr]

Scrambling a bit for a show tonight, wading in on John McCain. The Straight Talk Express is on the road again; can McCain be the same maverick he was in 2000? Is he a maverick in the first place, or does he just play one on TV? Do we have the same expectations of McCain as we do other candidates, or has his (in part self-constructed) image as a truth teller made us look harder for flaws? Is it as easy for the center to swoon for him after he infamously allowed George Bush to hug him on the campaign trail in 2004?


Michael Scherer

Washington correspondent, Salon.com

Erik Erikson

Blogger, Confessions of Political Junkie

CEO, Redstate.com

Jill Zuckman

Washington correspondent, Chicago Tribune

Robert Timberg

Editor-in-Chief, Proceedings

Author, John McCain: An American Odyssey and The Nightingale’s Song

Extra Credit Reading

Michael Scherer, McCain takes the press for a bumpy ride, Salon, March 18, 2007: “But candidate McCain has also re-embraced a radical notion for this modern era of e-mailed opposition research and minute-by-minute news cycles, when a sound bite can be heard instantly around the world but a position paper is never read. He is betting that voters will forgive a front-runner’s public flubs, and the headlines they produce, if they feel they are voting for a real person, not a consultant-managed product.”

Erick Erickson, McCain Continues Shafting Conservatives, Red State, March 13, 2007: “I’m confused. I thought John McCain was a conservative. Of course he tells everyone who will listen that he is one.”

Roger Simon, John McCain: Is it Déjà vu All Over Again?, The Politico, March 17, 2007: “So was it like the old days? Was it the same rollicking, merry prankster, boys-and-girls on the bus, free-for-all? No. It was access to the candidate that no other campaign grants. But no reality of today could live up to the memories of yesterday, anyway.”

James P. Pinkerton, Chuck Hagel is hot – John McCain is not, Newsday, January 30, 2007: “It’s official: Chuck Hagel is the new John McCain, getting the glowing treatment from glam publications such as GQ. And John McCain is the new Bob Dole – and we know what kind of press Dole got.”

Todd S. Purdum, Prisoner of Conscience, Vanity Fair, February, 2007: “John McCain has spent this whole day, this whole year, these whole last six years, trying to “fix it,” trying to square the circle: that is, trying to make the maverick, freethinking impulses that first made him into a political star somehow compatible with the suck-it-up adherence to the orthodoxies required of a Republican presidential front-runner.”

David Weigel, Hate the Spending, Love the Spenders, Reason Magazine: Hit and Run, March 19, 2007: “McCain’s goal, if he’s honest, would be to produce a large Republican majority that agrees with him. If he doesn’t care if apostates on spending and taxes (and from his perspective, war) hold swing votes in the GOP, he must not care very much about spending and taxes.”

Bull Dog Pundit, McCain Video On Multitude Of Topics, Ankle Biting Pundits, March 19, 2007: “The man still doesn’t get it when it comes to why conservatives are upset with him over CFR. He claims that much of the anger is coming from “special interests’ who have been deprived of money and that those people were “in Washington” who were upset that they couldn’t carry out their agenda. WRONG WRONG WRONG Senator. The main reason conservatives are upset with you about CFR is because it impinges the right to free speech.”

Jonathan Chait, McCain goes over to the dark side, Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2007: “Well, let’s just say that if John McCain circa 2007 was campaigning against John McCain circa 2000, he would call him a communist.”

Matt Welch, Be Afraid of President McCain: The frightening mind of an authoritarian maverick, Reason Magazine, April, 2007: “McCain once wrote that Teddy Roosevelt “invented the modern presidency by liberally interpreting the constitutional authority of the office to redress the imbalance of power between the executive and legislative branches that had tilted decisively toward Congress.” This is the kind of president John McCain is aching to be.”

3:35

On the one hand you’re being flattered by a man who could be President, who’s willing to sit down with you and essentially joust with you intellectually at length for a long period of time. There’s sort of an ego gratification to the whole process. Most candidates you have to beg and fight just to get 15 minutes with, and here he’s trying to basically talk us out for hours at a time . . . On another level, though, he is doing something that I think is really valuable. He’s opening up the process in a way that other candidates simply aren’t opening up the process. We are not working for him. We were looking the entire time for him to stumble or to say something new, and there’s no reason we wouldn’t write it.

Michael Scherer

8:10

[When asked whether he supports funding for contraception in Africa, McCain] sort of clammed up. And clearly got nervous. At one point he said, “I’m stumped.” At another point he called for his communications director . . . it was a telling moment, for two different reasons. One, here you had John McCain, who is marketing himself as the straight talker who knows exactly who he is and who he wants to be and is not afraid to let other people see it. And here he was, being confused by an issue that he admittedly hadn’t thought a lot about, but also was afraid of alienating some Republican voters on. On the other side, I thought it was interesting because it showed exactly why other candidates don’t allow this kind of access. We didn’t catch him exactly flip-flopping on a position—we just caught him off guard.

Michael Scherer

18:14

He drew the line this time. Eight years ago, he pretty much drew no lines. But this time, he was a little more cautious in a few hot-button areas because he’s trying to run to win, and last time it was just a sheer underdog effort.

Jill Zuckman

18:44

I think he learned something from the last election, and he is the first to tell you he did. He describes himself as being wiser. (He doesn’t want to mention being older.) He said that he made a big mistake in South Carolina eight years ago when he got so angry. He said “I got angry. Voters don’t like angry candidates.”

Jill Zuckman

26:04

McCain is starting to attract conservatives who see Rudy Giuliani as probably the chief threat. The major distinguishing point I believe between the two is on the life issue and the social issues. McCain is becoming very much the anti-Giuliani.

Erik Erikson

36:58

Brendan [Greely, Open Source’s blogger-in-chief] . . . talks about McCain being embraced by George Bush on the campaign trail. And I ask you: what the hell was he gonna do? I mean, the president of the United States throws his arms around you: are you gonna head-butt him?

Robert Timberg

Related Content


  • Lumière

    The only candidate who could credibly claim to be able to de-militarize the country.

    Will he do it?

    Don’t think so….

  • Lumière

    by Bull Dog Pundit

    ////I guess McCain thinks that had the Club not bloodied Chafee in the primaries, he would have won in November. I think that view ignores the reality of why Chafee lost his seat (other than being a simpleton)..\\\

    Did he become a simpleton after he won? Between elections?

    Deep thoughts there jack handy…..

  • RobertPeel

    I like Jack! War Hero and POW. He has more experience than Hillary,Obama, Edwards and Bush added together. If we have troops at War we should have someone who knows that experience intimately. Also, we need a person who can make friends with enemies as John McCain and other VietNam Veterans made with VietNahm. He seems to have learned from his mistakes. He forced the military to have rules regarding torture.

  • http://olywa.blogspot.com emmettoconnell

    It is eight years later, he’s no longer running as the undefined outsider against the unproven insider’s pick of Bush Jr. T

    he world has changed, and at minimum he’s the insider candidate that has been waiting in the wings politely for 2008.

    And, do we really have to cover the primaries by going from candidate to candidate and covering it as if its a list of names? Isn’t there some other way to go about this that doesn’t seem like we’re glancing at the cover of Newsweek?

  • Potter

    Does McCain still think that “Intelligent Design” should be taught alongside evolution in science class?

  • Lumière

    “Let the student decide.” With those well-chosen words John McCain summed up his view on the teaching of “intelligent design” along with evolution in public schools.

    Nice try Potter.

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    Is McCain a straight shooter?

    Nope.

    When I saw McCain’s speech glorifying Bush at the 2004 Republican convention as far as I’m concerned he threw his credibility in the toilet. True, he is better than Bush but how much is that saying? If, “he’s against torture” is the best that can be said about him… it just shows how low we have sunk.

  • Lumière

    Straight-shooting politician is oxymoronic

    Chaney proved that !

  • silvio.rabioso

    Many use the word *maverick* when describing John McCain. In fact, that epithet is as connected to the Arizona Senator as ‘swift-footed’ is to Achilles. But what do we mean when we say it?

    We use the word in honor of Samuel Maverick because he let unbranded cattle roam on his land. Through usage it has morphed into meaning something along the line of *nonconformist*. Essentially, when we call McCain a maverick, we are affirming his nonconformist nature. Metaphorically, he is bears no marking of ownership.

    Shouldn’t us media-savvy ROSers be wary of such pre-packaged sound bites? Shouldn’t it be a sign to us when the main stream media–so hostile to outsiders and dark horses of any political persuasion–crown one of their favored candidates *the maverick*? Isn’t it fair to say that in McCain’s case–professionally dubbed *the maverick*–he has actually been assimilated into the very system against which he purports to stand?

    Besides hugging GWB, what has been the last truly surprising, radical thing that McCain has done? Caving on his torture amendment?

    I would submit the following: the moment that GWB hugged McCain, he was indeed branded by the Republican establishment. The faux-Texan rancher finally corralled the free-ranging Senator, and burned a fat *W* onto his forehead. Maverick no more.

  • Potter

    Critics say that McCain’s position on teaching intelligent design in schools is not easy to decipher.

    In 2005, he told the Arizona Star, “I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they’ve got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking … or one belief on how people and the world was created I think there’s nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.”

    When asked if intelligent design should be taught in science class, McCain said, “There’s enough scientists that believe it does. I’m not a scientist. This is something that I think all points of view should be presented.”

    [insert- McCain December 2005: "Every young American should be exposed to every point of view," he posited. "I'm not saying [intelligent design] should be taught in science classes. But I’m saying young people should be exposed to it. I also believe that God had a hand in creation. I certainly don’t believe the Earth was created in seven days. But when I stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and look at that grandeur, I detect the hand of God there in the time before time. I see no reason why students should not be exposed to all theories, recognizing that Darwin’s theory’s certainly one that is generally accepted in most of the scientific community. I think it’s not inappropriate to say there are also people who believe this. Let the student decide.”]

    But in Aspen in 2006, McCain said of intelligent design, “Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not.”

    McCain’s view on how the world was created, however, is pretty straight-forward. At that same Aspen event, McCain said “I happen to believe in evolution” though he said he “respect[s] those who think the world was created in seven days.”

    In his most recent book “Character Is Destiny,” McCain (and co-author Mark Salter) wrote a glowing chapter on Charles Darwin and argued that evolution and religion are not mutually exclusive.

    “Darwin helped explain nature’s laws,” McCain and Salter wrote. “He did not speculate, in his published theories at least, on the origin of life. The only undeniable challenge the theory of evolution poses to Christian beliefs is its obvious contradiction of the idea that God created the world as it is in less than a week.

    “But our faith is certainly not so weak that it can be shaken to learn that a biblical metaphor is not literal history,” they added. “Nature does not threaten our faith. On the contrary, when we contemplate its beauty and mysteries we cannot quiet in our heart the insistent impulse of belief that for all its variations and inevitable change, before its creation, in a time before time, God let it be so, and, thus, its many splendors and purposes abide in His purpose.”

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2897153&page=1

  • Lumière

    Keep it coming !

    There is only one thing I want from McCain:

    de-militarization

  • rc21

    McCain is not perfect. Who is? At some point we have to look at the person as a whole. It is easy to take snippets out of a mans life in order to show his short-comings.

    I supported McCain last time and I will this time. At least I don’t have to question his courage or ability to act under stress. I also think he can forge some sort of compromise on many issues. Compromise is not always a bad thing, despite what those on the hard right or left would think.

  • Potter

    I wish we would use the word “integrity” and forget the “maverick”. It’s one thing to not know and then learn about an issue, it’s another to know but take a murky position that is politically motivated. Not being firm about the teaching of “intelligent design” in science class is indicative for me.

  • Sutter

    I might have voted for McCain had he won the nomination in 2000. There is almost no way I’d vote for him this time around. I’m generally averse to candidates who seem to value the Presidency more than their own integrity (this is why I would have considered McCain over Gore even though I align more closely with Gore on most issues, and it’s why I’m very skeptical about Hillary today). Unfortunately, the lesson McCain seems to have “learned” from 2000 is that it is better to surrender one’s integrity and win than to be true to one’s own self and lose. This hurts him more than it might hurt other candidates because his prior reluctance to follow this path is precisely what made him so attractive to independents in the first place.

  • http://olywa.blogspot.com emmettoconnell

    silvio.rabioso says:

    We use the word in honor of Samuel Maverick because he let unbranded cattle roam on his land. Through usage it has morphed into meaning something along the line of *nonconformist*. Essentially, when we call McCain a maverick, we are affirming his nonconformist nature. Metaphorically, he is bears no marking of ownership.

    Shouldn’t us media-savvy ROSers be wary of such pre-packaged sound bites?

    Exactly, lets find another way to talk about presidential politics in the next year, rather than this personality by personality survey.

  • Lumière

    proportionality is a word needed here -

    intelligent design isn’t a deal breaker for me

  • denisehyeong

    Has McCain ever applogized for using the word “gook” to speak of his captors? I have great respect for what McCain went through, but cannot abide anyone using this racial slur for any reason . . . (Denise mom to a Vietnamese son!)

  • orlox

    For a few days after Kerry won the nomination there was a hope for a bipartisan center to wrestle control from Bush. But he turned Kerry down to be the establishment Republican candidate four years later. Enjoy!

  • Lumière

    ////Has McCain ever applogized for using the word “gook” …\\\

    Dunno,

    did the Vietnamese ever apologize for beating the crap out of him?

    ‘proportionality’ – it is in the dictionary

  • rc21

    denise, you really need to get over it. McCain was held captive for many years he saw his friends tortured and he was also tortured. Maybe the N. Vietnamese should apologize to McCain. That should be the question you are asking.

    Lumiere I agree with you on the ID subject. No big deal as long as evolution is still being taught.

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    silvio.rabioso: “Metaphorically, he is bears no marking of ownership.”

    He has a great big “R” for republican party man branded right on his forehead.

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    or “W”… suffice to say is his branded.

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    I agree with Potter. McCain’s wishy-washy Itelligent design stance demonstrates weakness of character. Any other issue he was so wishy-washy about would indicate the same thing.

    But as far as bringing different points of view into the classroom goes I guess that means bringing in the Flat Earth society ect so the kids can decide.

  • rc21

    Not all issues are black and white. Sometimes there is no need to take an extremist view. You call it wishy-washy. I call it open minded thought.

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    Are you saying teaching evolution (and not mythology and religon) in a science class is an extreamist view?

  • Nick

    “This is not a guy who will tell you the truth at every moment, because he will not become President if that happens.”

    – A guest on the show tonight (Sorry, I’m not sure which.)

    Don’t that just expose most everything you need to know about our government-as-constituted way back in the 18th century?

    Why is this acceptable???

    Can any of today’s American citizens (yes, you) comprehend the meaning of two simple words that describe, as Thomas Jefferson understood it, a thoughtful citizen’s duty: “constitutional convention“?

    Sheesh.

    Wake up, nation. This system reeks, and has done so – emitting obviously anti-democratic, pro-oligarchic stenches – since the early 19th century. But don’t take my word for it. Read your Jefferson:

    “Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present… I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy…

    Let us…(not) weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs. Let us… avail ourselves of our reason and experience, to correct the crude essays of our first and unexperienced, although wise, virtuous, and well—meaning councils.

    And lastly, let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods… Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before. It has then, like them, a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness; consequently, to accommodate to the circumstances in which it finds itself, that received from its predecessors; and it is for the peace and good of mankind, that a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years, should be provided by the constitution; so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if anything human can so long endure.”

  • Potter

    In Aspen in 2006, McCain said of intelligent design: “Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not.”

    Probably not? How about NO, or “definitely not, it’s not science”.

    McCain said “I happen to believe in evolution” though he said he “respect[s] those who think the world was created in seven days.”

    “Nature does not threaten our faith. On the contrary, when we contemplate its beauty and mysteries we cannot quiet in our heart the insistent impulse of belief that for all its variations and inevitable change, before its creation, in a time before time, God let it be so, and, thus, its many splendors and purposes abide in His purpose.”

    This seems to be acceptable to the Discovery Institute as they co-sponsored his talk last month (February 07).

    So does McCain believe that “intelligent design” should be taught in school ( although maybe not in science class) or OTOH maybe in science class along with “the flat earth theory” ( as per Peggy Sue ) and students should decide? Is it not important to note this when a person who comes before you as a man of integrity, a man who enjoys being called a “maverick” a man that thinks for himself, and asks you for his vote?

    But I agree with those who feel that this is not the most important issue. It is indicative. What is maybe more disappointing, no appalling, is that after all McCain went through in Viet Nam,he CAVED, to the Bush administration, did not stand his ground on the issue of habeas corpus, torture and extraordinary rendition. This is the maverick.

    Indeed, as Chris suggested at the end, Hagel may be the new McCain, as McCain would be Bush again, carrying forth a policy of surging in Iraq.

    Robert Kuttner ( Boston Globe 9/06) The John McCain Charade

    …….Bush is in his last year. His popularity ratings are below 30 percent. The economy has tanked because the trade deficit and budget deficit continued to explode. Iraq is a cauldron. The voters can’t wait for this eight-year ordeal to be over, and the Democrats are clamoring to throw the rascals out.

    But wait. There’s John McCain! Isn’t he the Republican who challenged Bush on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? Didn’t he fearlessly investigate the corrupt Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff? Didn’t he resist the right’s immigrant-bashing? Didn’t he cross the aisle to work with Democrats John Kerry on Vietnam POWs and MIAs, and Russ Feingold on the (worse than useless) McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act?

    What a guy! You can just imagine the truly revolting columns by gullible Washington pundits on McCain as just the kind of bipartisan that the republic needs.

    In fact, McCain votes 90 percent of the time as an ordinary far-right conservative, and when push comes to shove, he gives the administration what it wants. The morning line used to be that the fundamentalist GOP base would never go for McCain, but that was last year. This year, McCain has made highly publicized appearances genuflecting to religious-right icons.

  • RobertPeel

    Bush proved what inexperience could do to the country. McCain with all of his warts has suffered war personally.He has moved from the Keating five to investigate Abramoff.

    Most of us were were against the war in the first place must realize that we cannot simply leave Iraq and allow it to self-destruct. Perhaps, this is straight-talk the nation needs. I want out of Iraq but we must repair the damage we have done.

  • Lumière

    ///…economy has tanked ….\\\

    Look into the above assertion – it might not be true

    journalists need to _________ to sell papers and politicians must pander to get elected.

    What was it Pogo said?

    We have met the enemy and ….

  • Potter

    RobertPeel- What if is not within our power to repair the damage we have done? What if remaining adds to it? What if the motives behind “having to stay and repair the damage” are not sterling?

  • inceebee

    Not to move the spotlight off the candidate here, but I think a good thought was brought out here. Michael Scherer mentioned several times that the reporters are on that bus waiting to see if the candidate will slip up. See if they will make a mistake. Then Jill Zuckman says that it’s boring for a reporter to hear the same 5 statements time and time again. If you want to hear more politicians speak their minds and you want to find out what they really think and HOW they really think you’re going to have to be less predatory and report things in a more fair handed way. But it’s not only the reporters fault here. We as the American people will also need to be more tolerant and understand that these people are human just like us and we should be more interested in the character and process a candidate uses rather than pummeling them on any misstep they make.

  • http://www.delusionaldemocracy.com statusquobuster

    To Nick and any others that need to learn more about amending the constitution:

    Democracy Dreaming

    Joel S. Hirschhorn

    What is this thing called democracy? So easy to talk about, so difficult to make real. Pure democracy is not what our Founders gave us. Who would want a simple majority to control the minority? Instead, America was given a representative democracy within a constitutional republic where laws that protect all people trump majority rule. Standing between majority-won elections and government power are elected representatives: writing, overseeing and implementing laws. But when you can no longer trust the elected representatives what happens to American democracy? It becomes an oxymoron.

    We have arrived at a delusional democracy. Delusional because Americans overwhelmingly cannot admit the painful truth that their limited democracy no longer works for the good of most citizens. Instead, through corruption and dishonesty, our representative democracy has morphed into a plutocracy that serves the wealthy, power elites and corporate masters that control the political system and through that the economic system.

    The Framers of the Constitution had deep concerns about the long-term viability of the government structure they created. Some think that the checks and balances among the three branches of the federal government preserve its integrity. Really? The money that controls the legislative branch also controls the executive branch, and both of those control the judicial branch. Even worse, it has become clearer to increasing numbers of Americans that many parts of the Constitution – the supreme law of the land – have been directly or more deviously disobeyed or distorted. Constitutional rule is a myth.

    We have a Congress that gives its constitutional power to declare war to the President and refuses to impeach him for his many violations of laws. We have a President that openly signs laws but says he will not honor them. We have a Supreme Court that decides who becomes President rather than the voters and often amends the Constitution unconstitutionally. We have elections that are not to be trusted. We have a government using free trade globalization hogwash to sell out the middle class. We have rising economic inequality that is creating a two-class society: the wealthy Upper Class and the Lower Class for everyone else.

    Overlaid on this delusional system is the myth that having just two major political parties somehow is right and necessary for our representative democracy. In reality, partisan differences are just another layer of corruption, dishonesty and deceit. Artificial political competition distracts. Big money from the wealthy and corporate and other special interests controls both parties, producing mutually assured corruption. They are two faces of the same coin, two heads of the same monster, two puppets controlled by the same masters. Of course the two-party system provides stability. It has stabilized a criminally corrupt government.

    Delusional political competition supports a delusional democracy based on a set of delusional checks and balances. The whole system that once worked has become a sham.

    Did the Framers anticipate that their system could become such a travesty? They did.

    So, in addition to the better known parts of the Constitution, they imbedded what might be called a legal loophole – a kind of escape clause, just in case things went terribly wrong. They have.

    The public is largely ignorant of Article V’s option for a convention, when asked for by two-thirds of states, to propose amendments to the Constitution. Worse, nearly all people with political power have opposed using it. Even worse, despite Article V explicitly saying that Congress “shall” call such a convention when a sufficient number of states have asked for one – and that is the ONLY specified constitutional requirement – for over 200 years Congress has willfully disobeyed the constitution and NOT granted a convention. In fact, Congress never had the integrity and constitutional respect to even set up a system of any kind to collect state requests for an Article V convention. Still, we know from the hard work of many that there have been well over 500 such state requests.

    People with power in the present corrupt political system fear an Article V convention. Operating independently of Congress and the White House, it might reduce their power and ignite widespread public interest in deep reforms. One trick of the power elites has been to fool people that an Article V convention would inevitably become “runaway” and threaten all that Americans hold dear – especially their freedom. Nonsense. A convention can only propose amendments that, just like proposals made by Congress, must be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Most absurd are the anti-convention right-wingers who profess total allegiance to the Constitution, except for Article V. John T. Noonan, Jr., observed in 1985: “RESPECT, indeed reverence, for the Constitution is a proper attitude for conservatives to cultivate. Is it respectful to the Constitution to maintain that of the two methods of amendment specified by Article V one is too dangerous to be put to use?”

    Exactly why did the Framers give us the option of an Article V convention? Listen to the wise words of one of the nation’s foremost legal scholars. Professor Paul Bator wrote this in 1980:

    “I think the Article V convention represents a profound political protection for us, as a people, against the tyranny of central government. And whatever we say about Article V, I think it is very, very wrong, just because we may disagree with the content of any particular constitutional amendment that is now being proposed, to interpret Article V in such a way as to clip its wings as a protection for the liberties of the people. That is why I think it is profoundly important, particularly for constitutional scholars, to be hospitable toward the concern that Article V represents, which is that there be a way out for the states and the people if a willful and intransigent central authority governs us in a way we find unacceptable.”

    We definitely need a way out. Two of our best presidents explicitly supported using the Article V convention option – Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.

    Have any recent presidential candidates expressed support for an Article V convention, even mavericks like Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and Pat Buchanan? They have not. Have any third parties demanded an Article V convention? They have not. Have any mainstream media exposed Congress’ failure to obey the Constitution’s Article V? They have not. Has the Supreme Court or any elected official that swore to obey the Constitution faulted Congress for disobeying the Constitution? They have not.

    If you are not a rich and powerful American, ask yourself: Has your government become so untrustworthy, dysfunctional and unacceptable that you should demand what our Constitution gives you a right to – an Article V convention?

    Thomas Jefferson said “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.” Have many Americans concluded that rebellion has become necessary? They have not.

    But some of us want to pursue political rebellion, not by using violence and not hoping against reality that necessary reforms will come from within the two-party controlled political system. No, we want to use what the Constitution grants us. We have created Friends of the Article V Convention to inform the public about this constitutional option and also to prod the states to demand a convention and the Congress to finally obey the Constitution and give us one. Check the group out at http://www.foavc.org to learn much more, and seriously consider becoming a member.

    What do they say about insanity? Repeating what has not worked in the past? As in the past, no Democrats, no Republicans and no elections will give us what we truly need. Whatever risks an Article V convention pose, they are worth taking. Every rebellion is waged because the benefits sought outweigh the risks taken. Jefferson and the other Founders knew that. Not fixing the government they gave us dishonors them and all the Americans that have died and sacrificed for their country. And it makes our lives miserable and penalizes future generations. Has time run out for restoring American democracy? It has not.

    [The author’s new book is Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government: http://www.delusionaldemocracy.com.

  • telos469

    Good show! Almost had me thinking about voting republican-almost.

  • Nick

    s.q.-buster, this is a belated thank you for your post above, which I’ve cited here: http://www.radioopensource.org/pitch-a-show-3107/#comment-48372

    Thanks!

  • momos

    The discussion on this show reveals the dynamic of our current politics. A few Washington reporters describe the professional fulfillment and fun they have riding around with a senator in a luxury RV, and defend it by insisting an accessible presidential candidate is good for democracy.

    None of that has anything to do with whether this is a potential president who can right the listing ship of the world’s only super power at the start of the 21st century. The West is in decline, America has probably passed the apex of its power, immense Asian nations are changing the global geopolitical order, ordinary citizens are facing financial insecurity unprecedented since World War II, and the global human habitat is shifting in dangerous ways.

    To the reporters sitting on a bus with their war hero in a cornfield somewhere in Iowa: get over yourselves. We don’t need to hear about “gaffes” and fund raising and how much you love talking to your Senator friend. The country needs an end to naval gazing and the start of serious deliberation and a major dose of gravity befitting our uncertain epoch.