The Plank

John Mccain Panders To The Right

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National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru has transcribed his recent interview with John McCain. Watch McCain pander:

Ponnuru: What about stem-cell research that involves human cloning?
Sen. McCain: I'm obviously against any human cloning. Obviously.
Ponnuru: Would you be willing to ban it?
Sen. McCain: Sure.
Ponnuru: So you'd support something like the Brownback bill?
Sen. McCain: Yes. I think I'm a co-sponsor.
Salter [McCain's aide]: I'll double check that.
Sen. McCain: I'm pretty sure I'm a co-sponsor on it. [Editor's note: He wasn't a co-sponsor in the last Congress, but says he will support it when it is re-introduced in this Congress.]
Could I also tout my pro-life voting record?

This is just a hilarious window into the process: A conservation between somebody who is deeply informed and passionate about a subject that he considers to have enormous moral weight and a politician who knows almost nothing about the issue and cares even less. It's obvious that McCain's thinking throughout the interview is entirely confined to the question of what he can say to avoid displeasing his questioner (and, by extension, social conservatives.)

Are you willing to ban cloning? Sure. Will you support the Brownback bill? Yeah, I think I'm a co-sponsor. Or maybe not. Whatever. Can I have your vote now?

This kind of box-checking goes on all the time, in both parties. It's just hilarious to see it in real time.

--Jonathan Chait

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