Would You Have Voted For McCain the Independent?

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John McCain didn’t waste anytime trying to score Jesus-points after the Supreme Court handed down its decision in support of the “Partial Birth Abortion” ban:

“The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children.”

Since the world does not need another political eulogy for John McCain, I offer instead a “what-if.” Instead of his current stumble to the right, what if McCain had chosen to run as an Independent? Sure ’08 represents his last shot, and many argue that without RNC money he can’t win a bid for the presidency. Maybe so, but it’s getting clearer every day that the “New McCain” can’t win either.

In 2000, the “Old McCain” (remember who walloped Bush in New Hampshire’s open primary) had broad support among moderate swing-voters, McCain looked like a sure contender for the White House before he was smeared by Rove’s push polling.

Had he run this time as an Independent, he could have distanced himself rather than thrown all his chips in on Iraq. McCain, the campaign finance reformer and the closest thing the conservatives had to a Global Warming Paul Revere, was actually admired by quite a fair share of Democrats. Had McCain run on his own ticket, he would have at the very least had done what Ralph Nader tried unsuccessfully to do–add some life to the corporately-sponsored and painfully-orchestrated presidential debates (No offense Jim Lehrer).

Instead, he has set a new bar for pandering to the kingmakers on the religious right and made assessments of the situation in Iraq that make Bush’s seem factual. If he manages to win the Republican nomination, he will be seriously damaged goods and it’s hard to imagine how he might ever re-capture his once revered reputation as a “straight-talker”[You Tube]. And to tell the truth, despite statement like today’s, he seems to be having trouble proving the authenticity of his religious zealotry.

—Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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