The Maverick Mythology of John McCain.
According to Dictionary.com, maverick is defined as “a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates.” Ostensibly, the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was nicknamed “The Maverick” throughout his lengthy political career by his Democratic and Republican colleagues, the mainstream press, and establishment figures.
If major newspapers, neoconservative opinion makers, and 70-year-old politicians are referring to McCain as a maverick because he was one of the top Republicans to side with former President Barack Obama on key issues, then you know there is very little intellectual diversity in the nation’s capital.
With his unfortunate and tragic death in the spotlight, the important question is: Why?
A Conservative Record?
As legendary commentator William F. Buckley would say, Senator McCain may have been “conservative,” but he wasn’t “a conservative.” In other words, McCain may have leaned towards conservative positions, but he was never embedded in the philosophical ideas of U.S. conservatism.
His political record was comparable to that of most elected officials sitting in the House or Senate. You could take any random name from the congressional rolodex and contrast their record with his and you would never notice the difference. McCain was the personification of statism, perpetuating the deadly and costly welfare-warfare state.
The distinguished senator from Arizona routinely voted for unbalanced budgets, spying on American citizens, a whole host of market intervention policies, and other big government initiatives.
Of course, McCain, like his doppelganger Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), will be most remembered for his hawkish foreign policy. Senator McCain never saw a war, a regime change, or a military-led intervention he didn’t like, no matter how asinine. While most people understood the errors of the Iraq War, it took McCain 15 years to finally concede that it was a mistake. Where was that kind of dissent in 2003 before politicians sent thousands to their death?