The pro-torture choir speaks
Jesus was not pro-torture
McCain Stand Comes at a Price
Battling Bush over rules for detainee treatment, senator jeopardizes his courtship of the right.
By Janet Hook and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
September 19, 2006
WASHINGTON — Conservative activists are heaping criticism on Sen. John McCain for fighting President Bush over proposed rules for the interrogation of terrorism suspects, a dispute that has reopened long-standing divisions between the maverick Republican lawmaker and his party's establishment.
The attack from the right, which coalesced over the weekend, could undercut McCain's effort to woo Bush backers and other party regulars for an anticipated 2008 presidential bid. His position on terrorism prisoners has fueled critics' skepticism about McCain's conservative credentials.
"This very definitely is going to put a chilling effect on the tremendous strides he has made in the conservative evangelical community," said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, one of several conservative activists who support Bush's proposal on interrogation techniques.
Even as conservative leaders berated McCain for refusing to yield to Bush, the high-profile battle could burnish the Arizonan's credentials among admirers who have been concerned about his moves to court the GOP establishment.
His aides say McCain's position in the interrogation dispute is a matter of conscience — not calculation — but they still see a political upside.
"When he does the right thing and he knows it, that works out well for him," said John Weaver, a top political advisor to McCain. "He's going to see this through."
The administration took a possible step toward breaking the deadlock late Monday, when it sent a new proposal to Capitol Hill. Details were not immediately available and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a military judge in the Air Force Reserve who is a key McCain ally in the fight, was noncommittal in responding.
"The parties continue to share ideas with each other," Graham said in a statement.
Referring to the back-and-forth, Graham told reporters, "Have y'all ever bought a car? This is how you buy a car."
The episode underscores the complexity of McCain's political position as the perceived front-runner in a potentially crowded field of GOP presidential candidates. He must please the GOP activists who play a big role in choosing the party's nominee while demonstrating the independent streak that could appeal to moderates in a general election.
As McCain's profile in the interrogation debate has risen, other potential GOP presidential candidates have weighed in.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, widely seen as a leading competitor for McCain's centrist appeal, has forcefully endorsed Bush's position.
"I am foursquare behind President Bush," Romney said in an interview. "Sen. McCain's position is mistaken on this issue."
What Romney meant to say was that he was foresquare for the humiliation and murder of US troops overseas. That he wanted Americans to be tortured when captured.
So how many years was Romney a POW in Vietnam?
posted by Steve @ 2:46:00 AM