McCain, the Republican Joe Lieberman
I'm no psychiatrist, psychologist or mental therapist of any stripe but I do have the normal range of observations of human behavior and I gotta tell you this McCain is operating on different wavelengths from the rest of us conservative Republicans. I tamped down my hesitation and voted for him in 2008 simply because the other choice was...well as you now well know, a disaster for America. I had reservations because I honestly thought that McCain's military experiences, while meriting his country's recognition and admiration, had perhaps left him in a mental state that might render his decisions as commander-in-chief sometimes unpredictable as are his decisions as a senator. And as president, it could be perhaps worse.
I know that my own ground combat experiences in the same war as McCain's have colored my thinking for the remainder of my life, and my experiences were as nothing compared to his. What John McCain endured on behalf of this nation should be asked of no one. But it did happen to him and I think that just like me and millions of other veterans, McCain's decision making is definitely influenced by those experiences. But with McCain, I think that influence rises to a much higher level than with the majority of Vietnam veterans, both because of the intensity of his horrific treatment in captivity and because of his national prominence.
Maybe I'm off base here, but for whatever reasons, John McCain seems to be driven by a desire to achieve consensus, to please everyone with placatory behavior. If that means denouncing those of his own party from time to time to maintain his conciliatory position, then so be it. I suspect that McCain envisions himself as a reservoir of smoothing, soothing oil to be dumped upon the roiling waters of political discourse from time to time when the turbulence becomes excessive. And you know what? I have absolutely no problem with that. If McCain's brutal treatment by the North Vietnamese directed him to a philosophy of peace-making, then I'm perfectly comfortable with that. What I am not comfortable with is him identifying himself as a conservative Republican. John McCain should be honest with himself and his country and admit that he is too much of an independent thinker to be anything but an Independent.
McCain is the Republican Party's Joe Lieberman, a good friend with whom he often sides, and just as Lieberman bravely did, McCain should declare himself an Independent. And like Lieberman, he could then vote mostly with his former party but when he does go off the reservation, he can't be used by the media to demonstrate dissension in the Republican ranks. Remember how the media loved to attack Lieberman for his free-thinking disloyalty to the Democrat Party before he went independent? How often do you hear that now?
I think John McCain is a basically honorable man.
I just wish he would do the honorable thing and defect.