Friday, November 03, 2006

Straight-talk pandering to the fundies

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So you think John McCain's a moderate, a maverick, the sort of Republican even liberals can get behind? Think again.

His campaign for the White House, already well underway, has compelled him to pander to the GOP's fundamentalist base. Either he believes in what this base believes, in which case his moderate-maverick image has been a put-on all along, or he doesn't, in which case he's a shameless hypocrite, a typical politician grasping for votes.

Consider what he's up to in his home state of Arizona. The Arizona Republic is reporting that McCain "is starring in two new television spots for Proposition 107, a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ensure that same-sex marriages or civil unions are never legal in Arizona and ban governments, such as cities or towns or universities, from providing benefits to unmarried domestic partners".

This isn't some sort of compromise position that would protect the traditional definition of marriage while allowing same-sex couples to enter into legally-recognized civil unions. This is illiberal extremism. And McCain is standing firmly behind it and speaking out loudly for it. Proposition 107 is stringently anti-gay. If approved, it would permanently deny gays and lesbians in Arizona the human and civil rights associated with marriage. It would legally establish gays and lesbians as sub-citizens. However it is spun, it is truly hateful.

And how is it playing in Arizona? According to a recent poll, only 30 percent of voters support Proposition 107. 56 percent are against it.

McCain stands with a minority of Arizonans on the wrong side of this issue. Yet doing so will allow him to parade his social conservative bona fides before the base heading towards '08.

Whatever his genuine beliefs, this is today's John McCain.

You can watch the ads at Protect Marriage Arizona -- click here.

For more, see Pam Spaulding, who puts it less generously than I do here.

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