The 2008 was an enormous moment, one that inspired tremendous optimism in me, that the United States was rallying around a progressive vision for a socially, economically and environmentally just future. Beneath all the, well, hope, though ran a very troubling political undercurrent. John McCain who really had in all fairness been a maverick–on campaign finance reform, on immigration reform, on climate change, and on torture reversed course. McCain made a calculated risk: appeal to the Thompson-ites, the Romney-ists and the Huckabee-ans in the general election, when Rove election mantra had been “turn out the conservative base,” and risk abandoning independent swing voters, not to mention his morals. Top that off with Sarah Palin, the delusional cherry on top, and there was reason to believe that the two party system had been replaced by a one-party, one-dangerously-xenophobic-reactionary-procorporate-in-a-pale-veneer-of-populist-circus system.
My extreme sunny optimism for the future of progressive politics may have been misplaced (although in saying this I have to give a shout out for all the things President Obama has accomplished), but any fears we had that the noble opposition might be moving in a decidedly ignominious direction were almost certainly justified.
In 2010, moderate republicans right and slightly-lefter pandered to tea party politics. Who was going to stand up in the Republican party, advocating for a responsible facts-based conservative politic?
Maybe John McCain is back in action?
2005: McCain: torture fatally undermines America’s image
2008: McCain supports Bush’s veto on the antiwaterboarding bill
2011: McCain to Bush apologists: stop lying about Bin Laden and torture
I don’t want to blow this story out of proportion, but it’s nice to see an American hero stand up for human rights.
I’ll end with a Devil’s Advocate–want to stand up against torture? Urge the U.S. government to apologize to torture survivor Maher Arar