October 16th, 2008

Double-Talk vs. Straight Talk

If he can fool his pro-choice wife into thinking that he supports Roe v. Wade, should we really be surprised that John McCain can fool his countrymen, too? As Sarah Blustain observed this past summer in the New Republic,

McCain has spent years manipulating the public’s perception of his stance on abortion and reproductive health. He’s been against overturning Roe v. Wade and he’s been for it; he’s embraced the idea of a pro-choice running mate and, more recently, recoiled from it. It’s no wonder the public is confused.

Kudos, then, to Bob Schieffer, who in last night’s debate pressed McCain for clarity. Double kudos to Schieffer for following-up not just once, but twice, resulting in the following exchange:

But even if it was someone—even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.

Translation: Roe is disqualifying, even though I don’t believe in such qualifications in the first place.

Those who have followed McCain’s career recognize this massive contradiction as one of his classic tricks: A little pandering, a little double-talking, and hope that no one notices.

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