When the Wheels Came Off


John McCain’s sudden 360 180 (sorry, rushed) on the Law of the Sea Convention has come up before here. Despite ten years of energetic support for U.S. accession to the Convention, things changed last October without any explanation.
McCain attempted to justify this on principle, though it fell transparently flat. At least on immigration, he said (and I’m paraphrasing), the politics made me do it.
Based on McCain’s long record of support for the Convention and the image below, a portion of his candidate questionnaire for the Iowa Christian Alliance survey (part 1; part 2), was this decision political or did it put Country First?
(courtesy of Caitlyn Antrim’s invaluable Ocean Law Daily)
You decide. I think this speaks for itself.
— Scott Paul


11 comments on “When the Wheels Came Off

  1. Punchy says:

    I have to agree with Doug. The last check mark looks nothing like the others, and all the others look almost identical. I too believe it was done by a staffer who realized McCain’s response was not in tune with what the base wants to hear.


  2. Doug T says:

    I may be reading too much into this, but it looks like the opposition check was done by another person. All of the other checks slant up while this one is flatter. It is as if the other checks were done left-handed and the changed check by a right-handed person. FWIW.


  3. carsick says:

    That scratched out check is what I believe is called a Kinsley Gaffe.


  4. lesserdevil says:

    Just because the treaty doesn’t mean anything to
    some Americans doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
    Middle America doesn’t have a maritime economy,
    but a large portion of the nation’s population
    does. The LOS treaty is not a far out, fringe
    element of maritime rules of conduct. It’s
    mainstream, despite many people not knowing
    about it.
    I find it ineresting, also, that you claim not
    to care about Clemons’ blog, and yet you took
    the time to post that. That draws attention to
    you, and almost places your comment on a level
    playing field with Clemons’ post. There’s a
    word for people who get off on that. They’re
    called sociopathic.


  5. Bill says:

    What’s even more interesting than McCain’s responses, are the questions in the survey. This is the “Christian” wish list? Do Christ’s teachings really suggest the need for a border fence to keep the least of God’s children from seeking a better life. Would Christ be calling for increasing funding for missle defense? Clearly, this Christian organization has been hijacked by various other interests. For shame on them that done it!


  6. Mr.Murder says:

    If we sign onto Law of the Sea then our renditions and Gitmo become subject to prosecution.
    Also, we’d end up having to agree with Russia and Cuba on offshore rights that both sides claim.


  7. Bill R. says:

    You’re surprised, Steve. McCain lost his soul a long time ago. When you have to say you’re a maverick, you’re not one.
    On another note, Steve, you should be informed that Chuck Hegel’s wife, Lillibet Hegel, is going to endorse Obama tomorrow at 10 AM in Virginia. Where’s the man of courage, Chuck?


  8. Scott de B. says:

    It should matter to the American people. Ratification of the Law of the Sea is long overdue.


  9. NWO says:

    What is it with you, Steve, and this treaty that means nothing to the American people during a presidential election cycle? So, McCain has changed his mind, what else is new? Tell me something that is interesting and impacts everyday lives in middle America then I might care more about your bolg.


  10. Zathras says:

    I’m sure Scott Paul meant to say 180 degrees, but this is one of many things that raises the question of how completely Sen. McCain is in charge of his own campaign.
    Compared to his 2000 campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, McCain’s speeches are different, his positions are different (wherever his earlier positions differed from those of George Bush), his tactics are different, his accessibility to the media has been drastically reduced. One explanation of that, obviously, could be that he lost in 2000 and wants to win this time. But these are an awful lot of changes to be the collective product of individual calculation, and as a general rule men do not reinvent themselves after a certain age.
    McCain’s speeches, positions and tactics this year bear a greater similarity to Bush’s campaigns than they do to the one he ran eight years ago. It is hard to escape the conclusion that this is due largely to his having staffed his campaign with Republican operatives who used to work for Bush. McCain’s direct role in how his campaign looks and sounds — even with respect to the tone and content of his own speeches — is much less now than it was in 2000. There must be some calculation behind this, but faculties diminished by advancing age must be a contributing factor as well.
    Beyond that, the influence of Bush and his campaign operatives within the national Republican Party is hard to overemphasize. The GOP today is still more George Bush’s party than it ever was Richard Nixon’s or Ronald Reagan’s, and organization for the permanent campaign is right at the core of Bush Republicanism. McCain probably could not have been nominated had he not secured the allegiance, superficial as it might be, of so many Bush Republican campaign operatives; in any event, his candidacy is now dependent on them.
    This may explain why McCain has so often looked uncomfortable on the campaign trail this year. McCain has always been a terrible liar: stiff, defensive, ill at ease. He has also always made it easy to distinguish between the times he is saying something he really believes and those when he is just repeating what someone has told him he must say. His life experience, like that of many veterans, made him reluctant to seek political advantage through claims of victimhood, and in the 2000 campaign he rarely did — despite having gotten much more provocation from Bush and his campaign than the Democrats have given him this year.
    McCain’s campaign this fall has frequently accused not only Sen. Obama’s campaign but also the media of being mean and unfair to him and to his running mate. His speeches appear on most subjects to be committee-written and are usually delivered flatly, with none of the feeling McCain brought to his speeches in the primaries eight years ago. It is fair to say, finally, that he and his campaign have made many statements with, shall we say, a low factual content this year, going back to some of the primaries against Gov. Romney but especially since the Republican convention.
    McCain is finally the Republican nominee, but he is running George Bush’s third Presidential campaign — a distinction I think it important to be aware of, because after this election McCain’s role in national politics will be close to its end. The Bush Republican operatives running his campaign will be with us for many years.


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