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Byron York: McCain still has a lot of reconciling to do - Has John McCain grown up?
The Hill ^ | 5/18/06 | Byron York

Posted on 05/17/2006 7:48:34 PM PDT by Jean S

Has John McCain grown up?

Given the things the Arizona senator has done in his life, that might not seem a question that needs to be taken seriously. But it should be taken seriously because it could be a real factor in his campaign to win the Republican nomination for president.

After McCain’s speech at Liberty University on Saturday, I posted an excerpt on National Review Online’s blog, The Corner. It was a passage in which McCain described how he had been a know-it-all in his youth and how the passage of time had made him more circumspect and less assured of his own righteousness.

It was an entertaining riff — self-effacement almost always works — and it ended with a nice joke. To quote at some length, here is what McCain said:

“When I was a young man, I was quite infatuated with self-expression, and rightly so because, if memory conveniently serves, I was so much more eloquent, well-informed and wiser than anyone else I knew. It seemed I understood the world and the purpose of life so much more profoundly than most people. I believed that to be especially true with many of my elders, people whose only accomplishment, as far as I could tell, was that they had been born before me and, consequently, had suffered some number of years deprived of my insights.

“I had opinions on everything, and I was always right. I loved to argue, and I could become understandably belligerent with people who lacked the grace and intelligence to agree with me.

“With my superior qualities so obvious, it was an intolerable hardship to have to suffer fools gladly. So I rarely did. All their resistance to my brilliantly conceived and cogently argued views proved was that they possessed an inferior intellect and a weaker character than God had blessed me with, and I felt it was my clear duty to so inform them.

“It’s a pity that there wasn’t a blogosphere then. I would have felt very much at home in the medium.”

I thought readers would react mostly to McCain’s light jab at bloggers. But most readers thought the passage said a lot more about John McCain himself.

“So what’s changed?” asked one reader, previewing a theme that would emerge in e-mail after e-mail:

“Nice to see he hasn’t changed!”

“Funny, he hasn’t changed one bit.”

“He’s describing his youthful arrogance? Not much has changed.”

“He hasn’t changed as much as he thinks he has.”

“I would say Sen. McCain still suffers from the malady he describes.”

“How precisely is McCain’s attitude toward those who disagree with him any different from his youth?”

“The only difference between the young McCain and the current version is that the current version now has the power to try to put his pontifications into law and regulate speech.”

Now it should be said that all of these comments came from readers of National Review, which means they are probably not representative of all political persuasions. But they are representative of the people who, say, vote in Republican primaries. And they suggest that McCain still rubs a lot of those voters the wrong way.

They don’t want McCain to convince them that he is a different man from the one he was in 1957. They want him to convince them that he is a different man from the one he was in 2000. And that is a tougher job.

For some conservatives, McCain, for all his other accomplishments, will always be known as the man who led the (successful) fight to regulate political speech.

His handiwork, the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, still rankles. And not just on principle. It also didn’t work — just look at the big money that poured into 527s in 2004 and that will pour somewhere else in 2008 if the government cracks down on 527s.

As he pursues the GOP nomination, McCain needs to reconcile with the conservatives who were appalled by the way he worked so hard to limit the right of political expression.

Of course, reconciliation was what McCain’s speech — delivered last week at Liberty University and scheduled for delivery again tomorrow at the New School in New York — was all about. Most people saw it, correctly, as McCain’s way of mending fences with Rev. Jerry Falwell and the people McCain offended in 2000 when he called Falwell an “agent of intolerance” and an “evil influence” in the Republican party.

“Let us argue,” McCain said. “Our differences are not petty, they involve cherished beliefs and represent our best judgment about what is right for our country and humanity.”

But any such dispute, McCain said, “should remain an argument among friends.”

It was an effective speech. But McCain has more reconciling to do. Can he get along with the people who knew then — and know now — that McCain-Feingold was a bad idea?

That will take more than a trip to Liberty University.

York is a White House correspondent for National Review. His column appears in The Hill each week. E-mail:

TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: byronyork; forshamemccain; mccain; mccain2008; rino
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To: JeanS
On top of all of the above descriptions, the guy is just dingy. A loose cannon. Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it. Every time he does something, it turns out to be a disaster. He's just like she-who-must-not-be-named, all he seems to be doing is skulking in the shadows trying to accumulate power (except when he is pulling stupid stunts like his gang of 14).
21 posted on 05/17/2006 8:55:34 PM PDT by NurdlyPeon (Wearing My 'Jammies Proudly)
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To: petkus

***I hope no one here is fooled by him.***

I got a feeling our 'so-called' POW hero is somehow going to hook up with Hillary and really make waves. There is just something about the guy that gives me the willys when I see and listen to him.

And his traitor like actions with other RINOs, undercutting the 'Nuclear Option'.... Well that speaks for itself.

22 posted on 05/17/2006 9:15:26 PM PDT by ejlawyer ( "You can't think your way into right living... you have to live your way into right thinking.)
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To: JeanS

I wish he Clinton, and Carter would STFU and go away.

23 posted on 05/17/2006 9:36:41 PM PDT by Cobra64 (All we get are lame ideas from Republicans and lame criticism from dems about those lame ideas.)
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To: nightdriver
A strong conservative force was about to rise up and join the recall effort, bringing it out of the shadows. We were told by the national party to back off. The republican majority was slim in the senate at that time. We now rue the day we allowed this tax raising, sheman butt kissing, gang leader to continue in the senate. We have been betrayed by the RINO, but await to strike when we can do the most good. The republican party must turn its back on this traitor to the US constitution. You'll notice he is strangely silent in the press lately.... even missing the last vote in the senate on his amnesty program. How the republicans can support this plan to legalize millions of democrats in time to vote for Hitlery is beyond me.

I had to go to my wife's birth country and marry her, just to wait a year to get her here legally. We have wasted thousands of dollars and years of effort in attempts to bring members of her family over to aid in the family business. We have been denied time and again, but McStain wants these drug dealing, home invading, gang members here to vote. I don't see any provisions in his amnesty program for those of us that waited in line, doing paperwork over and over, just to be spit on by this warmonger.

I don't know the exact mental illness he has to want to destroy the country he served.

I don't think losing to President Bush once is enough reason to allow him to destroy this great country. McStain has done much TO arizona, but nothing FOR arizona. McStain has spent more time out of the country with Hitlery on global warming photo ops then in his 'home' state. As you leave the theatre after seeing United 93, remember McStain's great terrorists civil rights bill. This stain on humanity is more dangerous to america than Gore, Kerry and Hitlery combined.
24 posted on 05/18/2006 12:37:36 AM PDT by KeepArizonaFree (Say no to McStain in 2008!)
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To: KeepArizonaFree
"I don't know the exact mental illness he has to want to destroy the country he served."

Being a POW can do that to a man.

I don't mean to be disrespectful to him because he was a POW, but by the same token, I don't think that the experience somehow qualifies him to be a U.S. senator.

We're told that when a delegation sought his help in resolving the MIA situation from the Vietnam war, he just threw them out of his office.

With an attitude like that, he shouldn't be a senator, no matter that he IS a son and grandson of Navy admirals.

25 posted on 05/18/2006 1:04:51 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: XtreMarine

John McCain, is that you?

26 posted on 05/18/2006 7:02:33 AM PDT by LadyNavyVet
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To: JeanS

McCain is looking down the barrel of a primary season. He hasn't changed anything except his tactics.

27 posted on 05/18/2006 7:09:05 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: KeepArizonaFree

"I don't know the exact mental illness he has to want to destroy the country he served."

You have hit the nail squarely on the head! McQueeg is unstable, mentally ill and unfit for ANY political office, let alone President of the United States. I would not vote for him. Just the thought of him being in the Oval Office sends shivers up and down my spine.

28 posted on 05/18/2006 7:36:44 AM PDT by Polyxene (For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel - Martin Luther)
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To: DakotaRed
I'll never discredit his service, but as Presidential material?

Let me do it for you. Theres a collecti of vets that I don't give a crap how much medals they have pinned to their chests in a fleeting moment of glory for their country. Its what they do in the long term TO their country that makes them traitors. Stand up McCain, Kerry, & Murtha. You all are traitous scumbags who by your actions now, disgrace your service and your country.

29 posted on 05/18/2006 10:11:56 AM PDT by Bommer
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To: LadyNavyVet

Good one my friend. I am just a good old Marine who knows what it takes to keep all of us safe...

30 posted on 05/18/2006 12:17:42 PM PDT by XtreMarine
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