It is no secret that John McCain prides himself on being a straight-talkin’ maverick and that the media eats it up, which is why his cozying up to the likes of Rod Parsley and John Hagee received so little coverage. For that matter, it is probably also why McCain’s recent speech to the Council for National Policy received so little attention … well, that and the fact that the CNP is notoriously secretive and limited press access to his address.
But now, several weeks after the event and with absolutely no fanfare, the CNP quietly posted a transcript of his remarks on their threadbare website and while McCain would most certainly deny that he addressed the gathering with any attempt to pander for their votes, he certainly did a lot of telling them what they wanted to hear.
McCain offered up a litany of issues the Right cares about on which he completely shares their views: federal spending (too high), taxes (bad), dependence on foreign oil (also bad), the border (too porous), Iraq (a success) and, most importantly, judges:
I want to just mention a couple other things with you very briefly. Judges. I am proud to have played a role in the appointment of two of the finest judges I think that may have ever been appointed to the United States Supreme Court in Justices Alito and Roberts.
I commit to you, as I have for many years, I will appoint, nominate Judges to the United States Supreme Court who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench.
McCain then opened the floor to questions and assured those in attendance that he intends to use his campaign to “articulate a strong and conservative vision for the future of this country” and bring the party together. He also reiterated his pledge to secure the borders, defeat terrorism, fight the Fairness Doctrine, control health care costs, and “change the culture in America to respect the rights of the unborn.” He also promised to throw his weight behind efforts to prevent gays and lesbians from being treated equally when it comes to marriage:
ATTENDEE: Senator, we are from Ohio, and in 2004, many say that the marriage amendment made the difference for Bush. This coming election, you are going to have – Florida is already on the ballot. Arizona is more than likely going to be on the ballot, and California. Will you openly support the marriage amendments in those three States?
SENATOR McCAIN: Yes, sir. And as I say, I am proud to have been the honorary chairman of our effort last time, which was narrowly defeated, as you know, because there was a misinterpretation of the language, and we are going to clear that up. I think we can win it this time.
McCain’s “straight talk” reputation is based, at least implicitly, on the assumption that he tells it like it is and won’t hesitate to tell audiences things they might not want to hear. But so far in this campaign, McCain has addressed three purely right-wing audiences (the CNP, the Values Voter Summit, and CPAC) and each time he has used the opportunity not to demonstrate his “maverick” ways but to humbly seek their support by constantly reminding them of the principles and positions they share, touting his conservative record, and all around telling them what they want to hear.