The Ignominious Death of a “Maverick”

One of the most remarkable things about John McCain’s decision to name Sarah Palin as his running mate, besides the blatantly cynical nature of it, is the idea that somehow it solidifies his reputation as a “maverick.”

Even more remarkable is the idea that McCain’s blatant pandering to the Right by choosing Palin in the first place will allow him the “flexibility” to re-claim his “maverick” image:

Given the intensity of Palin support among conservatives, McCain may very well end up with greater flexibility than ever to make his own direct appeal to independent voters. Palin can keep social activists at ease — and excited — while McCain seeks to reclaim his maverick image with a more direct appeal to those Hillary Clinton supporters and undecided swing voters.

McCain wanted to pick Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge but was told by the Right in no uncertain terms that doing so would destroy any support they might give him, and so he capitulated and named Palin, for which the Right is infinitely grateful.

Considering that McCain made his reputation as a “maverick” by attacking Religious Right leaders as “corrupting influences on religion and politics” back in 2000, how in the world does pathetically bowing to their demands eight years later end up bolstering his image as a “maverick”?

If you want to understand McCain’s complete and utter capitulation and the Right’s unbridled elation about it, just try to wrap your head around this quote:

“I am now more confident about a John McCain presidency than I am about a George Bush presidency,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “The campaign has courted conservatives aggressively, and it has turned around remarkably in just the last few weeks.”

Just last month, Perkins was warning McCain that if he picked someone they didn’t like “”the strength of turnout on Election Day is not going to be there for him” and now he is saying that he’s never been more confident about McCain.  It boggles the mind.