Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Feb. 8, 2000/ 2 Adar I, 5760

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles -- THE THINKING SOUL is troubled when it shares the national media's view. On January 1, 2000, many folks were sitting atop pallets of bottled water and 20-pound peanut butter tins because of the media's Y2k debacle theory.

Generator returns lines at Home Depot were legendary.

Last August, folks as far west as Albuquerque battened down the hatches, so great were the portents of hurricane death and destruction. In the end, North Carolina got rain. The media can whip the masses, with the critical thinking skills of basset hounds, into a frenzy.

Currently, the media believe John McCain is the proper next president and have launched a national love affair with someone who is, most importantly, not George W.

Those Bush men can blow a lead. George Sr. had 90% approval ratings in 1991, then lost to Bill Clinton in 1992. George W. has the money and did have the polls, now he's struggling in Lindsey Graham territory in South Carolina.

McCain is enticing because he is so far removed from our draft-dodging, coiffed-hair, slick adulterer. McCain, the war hero, seems surprise-proof whereas "W" labors with that frat boy past that makes the country nervous after seven wearying years of Clinton antics. McCain is the comfort of McDonald's -- not the best food in the world, but you know what you're getting. McCain the McCandidate.

But do we know what we're getting? There have been few real analyses of McCain. McCain's temper was debated when the national media picked up on an Arizona Republiceditorial that blasted, "He was mean to us once." That kind of in-depth perspective has put Republicans and the New York Times' Anthony Lewis in the same candidate boat.

Temperament is the least of John McCain's problems. Beneath the surface, McCandidate is an ideological mess with no clear vision of the role of government, little grasp of economics and a populace bent geared toward camera time, not results. Part of the charm of a maverick is a set of core values. But McCain is an anomaly — he has been through much yet still lacks principle.

McCain flirts with principles: he teases, but never commits. Asked whether his daughter would have an abortion, he went from it being his daughter's choice to a family choice. "Choice" in both answers appeased his fawning media. This hem-hawing followed a flip-flop on Roe v. Wade. Yet, his pro-life votes defy his posturing. This is straight talk? The principled answer is, "In our home, we respect life. That doesn't change because we're affected."

His campaign reform proposals are constitutionally deficient and rob issue advocates of their voice while allowing unions their funds for Kennedys and others that go bump in the night. Mr. McCain, no stranger to big money, favors and perks, seizes this as his key to government reform. That Mr. McCain was one of the Keating Five brings a Cheshire grin each time he talks influence peddling. Charles Keating was a cruel and unusual business man long before his Lincoln Savings went belly up. Mr. Keating surrounded himself with patsies as officers, including sons- in-law, and senators like McCain who was inextricably intertwined with Keating through wily donations and free flights to exotic locations. Mr. McCain does enjoy flights, he took them just last year from Paxson Communications Corp., a company that helped him raise $20,000 and received an FCC purchase approval following McCain's two-letter intervention.

Mr. McCain knows not where he stands nor what he stands for. He sallies forth with demands for the 12,000 soldiers living on food stamps. Yet, Mr. McCain, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sat by idly while Clinton gutted defense funding. Last year, Mr. McCain introduced an amendment for $3.1 billion more in military spending cuts. A professed anti-regulation candidate, he supports regulating executive salaries by eliminating favorable tax treatment for stock options. The next minute he's blustering about no Internet tax. He chides cable operators for high prices, the result of monopolies, but then refuses to deregulate, allowing competition. He was critical of deregulation of the telecommunications industry because he felt it "too beholden" to special interests. Vetoing competition protects consumers? There wasspecial interest involvement in the bill: AT&T, Bell South, US West --- all McCain donors. Mr. McCain's campaign proposals are ill-conceived and reflect a candidate who flies by the seat of his pants. His surplus figures are wrong and he doesn't understand the role medical savings accounts play in eliminating the need for a bureaucratic patient's bill of rights.

He lacks presidential perspective and dwells on minutiae. He mourned JKF Jr. in The Weekly Standard yet spoke nary a word of Jean MacArthur's passing. He touted airline passenger rights and backed a tobacco tax bill with bizarre pride in its $4,000 per hour limit on lawyers fees. The McCandidate. When the media want a hurricane, they create it. When they want a war hero president, they take a war hero and make him presidential material.

No one from McCain's Senate staff or campaign returned calls. Such is the arrogance of the McCandidate -- take it on faith, no questions. After nearly 8 years of triangulation and obfuscation from our White House hanger-on, a menu of principles would be welcome.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings