Man Without Qualities

Friday, April 30, 2004

Disliking John McCain

Arizona Senator John McCain was, of course, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for a very long time - and endured hardship in the service of his country far beyond anything the Man Without Qualities ever has endured or is ever likely to endure. And I respect him for that. I am grateful to him for that. And I really do want to be his fan - if he would let me.

But I just can't stand John McCain, and today's news brings yet another reason why I can't stand John McCain. You see, while there have been a lot of dishonest assertions from various people - especially John Kerry and other Democrats - that others are questioning their patriotism, John McCain has the repulsive gall to actually do it:

A media company whose executives have been strong supporters of President George W. Bush, Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., barred its ABC-affiliated stations from airing the "Nightline" broadcast, calling it a political statement that failed to give all sides of the story. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and Vietnam veteran, condemned Sinclair's decision "to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs." He called it a "gross disservice to the public" and the U.S. armed forces. "It is in short, sir, unpatriotic," McCain said.

Allow me to make the obvious point: This simple exercise of First Amendment rights by a broadcasting company in disagreement with the political content of this controversial ABC News broadcast decision is, in short, not in any way unpatriotic. And that remains absolutely and clearly true regardless of any letter from this Senator - who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. John McCain's letter is little more than an abusive and thinly veiled attempt by a well positioned holder of government power to intimidate a federally regulated business for exercising its constitutional right to freedom of expression. With it's improper purpose, the letter's tone of high dudgeon and its postured language tending towards bad Teddy Roosevelt impersonation ("It is in short, sir, unpatriotic.") make it all the more unpleasant.

It reminds me why I really can't stand John McCain.

And all those bad things that John Kerry and the Democrats have been saying would be true of anyone who actually "questioned their patriotism?" All those terrible, terrible things? Well, they are all absolutely and unequivocally true of John McCain.

John McCain owes Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and his own constituents an apology for his repulsive assertion - at a minimum. Those constituents are entitled to a Senator who shows more respect for the First Amendment and for what American patriotism means than Senator McCain's disgraceful claim indicates he possesses.

As the Senator himself might express the thought (see the last line of his letter): I hope he meets with the public opprobrium he most certainly deserves.

Comments: Post a Comment