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Identity Crisis (yes, just like the comics!)

Someone recently told me, "I may not agree with McCain on all of his positions, but at least I know what his are without having to go out of my way to find them," so I asked:

Really? Is he for drilling off shore, as he has been for the last two months, or against it, as he was for over a decade before that? Is he for keeping troops indefinitely in Iraq when its ministers tell us we must leave or set a timetable, as he has just recently intimated, or against staying if asked to go, as he had said previously? Is he a respectful friend of Evangelical Christians, as he has been trying to make himself out to be since 2002, or does he consider them 'agents of intolerance' who should be excoriated as he had characterized them for years before that? Is he against any and all forms of torture and inhumane treatment, including measures the Bush administration has put into use, as he had been prior to '04, or for Bush's approach, as he has been since '06? Does he want to talk with Hamas and other rogue groups, as he had suggested prior to getting into this race, or does he consider talking itself to be appeasement, as he has claimed in the last six months?

While he still holds many independent minded views, McCain has done so much to align himself with his party's base over the last 6 years, and particularly in the last year, that it's hard to tell where he stands on many issues, whether or not those stances are serious or merely affected, and what tacks he will actually pursue once in office. Does he believe in balancing the budget and cutting spending as he's always said, or in all the tax cuts and programs he's promising now?

Now, by no means am I saying Obama hasn't changed or refined his positions on matters. Nor do I believe that politicians should always avoid reconsidering their views. But, when one changes so many, so often, and so quickly with the obvious goal of winning the trust (or at least the backing) of party faithful, it is obvious that politics have been trumping one's ideals and better judgment. Now, leading up to the and through the primaries, that was good politics. I don't fault him for making those moves. He wouldn't have gotten this far if he had stayed in the same mode as his 2000 campaign, where McCain's maverick reputation and promise of straight talk lead party insiders and power brokers to run to the untested George W. Bush's side.

But, which set of views will he uphold in office? The ones he held when he wasn't so worried about the sort of folks who to this day think Bush is doing a good job, or the ones which he thinks will help him keep their votes? Or will he find some kind of middle ground? At this point, I'm not even sure John McCain knows, so how could you?


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