McCain's Faustian Bargain

A McCain administration would bring more of the same: drift, malaise, and partisan bickering.


Well, we can pretty much forget about President John McCain reaching across the aisle and getting anything done with a Democratic Congress in the next four years.

By choosing to run such a false and dishonest campaign, McCain has performed superbly, teaching liberals and Democrats to hate him.

And Republican right-wingers, if they push McCain across the finish line, will justly believe that they have him on their leash.

There will be no bipartisan goodwill if McCain takes office. No end to the bitter division in this country. Americans will hate Americans. The nation will continue to drift.

The tone of McCain's campaign has taken care of that. McCain-Rove has replaced Bush-Rove. We will have four more years of malaise.

Until he abuses it and Congress and the country cut him off, President McCain will have the authority to carry on our intellectually bankrupt Cold War foreign policy. He may get us in a third or fourth war.

The Democrats may try to stop it, and then we'll all get to call one another jerks and cowards, while our military families pay the ultimate price and the Chinese and Russians and Iranians thank their gods we are such fools.

The Bush tax cuts will expire—even the good ones for middle-class families, small businesses, and research and development—because McCain will be bound by the all-or-nothing pledge he's made to the antitax zealots.

The Supreme Court? Don't kid yourself. If McCain fails the religious conservatives and their plans to make this a holy Christian nation by nominating anyone less than another Clarence Thomas, the Democrats will be the least of his problems.

But, no. He's a maverick, you say. He'll think of some wonderfully maverick-y things to do to shake that ol' Washington up. Why, he'll break with those mean party hard-liners.

Don't kid yourself, Shirley Temple. McCain's an old man. Vary from the conservative script—betray the almighty base—and he'll have Republican primary opponents lining up in Iowa and New Hampshire by the spring of 2010.

You think that Vice President Sarah Palin will help? She's a darling now. But consider what Romney and Huckabee and a dozen other rivals with white teeth and dark suits and their own presidential ambitions will be doing to her in the next two years. Or maybe what she'll be doing, to distance herself from McCain.

The country needs jobs. An economic rebirth. A better healthcare system. Reform of government. Remember the administration of George H. W. Bush? And how divided government worked then? There's our template.

Remember, when Bush compromised with the Democrats, how Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot stabbed him in the back? Remember Bill Clinton getting elected and Bob Dole's Republicans refusing to give him a single vote in the Senate? Remember Newt and the government shutdown? Remember wasting Clinton's second term on that ridiculous impeachment, while Osama bin Laden chuckled and schemed?

McCain has cut his Faustian deal. He may win the Oval Office, but his tactics will make it a pyrrhic victory. For all of us.