Saturday, September 13, 2008
Citizen McCain, Faust or Both?
John McCain's evolution from a hard charging truth telling centrist with some liberal policies to conservative-base-pleasing win the race at any cost candidate is reminiscent of the great cinematic character, Charles Foster Kane.
"Citizen Kane" is a movie about many things on many levels, not least of which are the extraordinary changes in the political views of the title character. Charles Foster Kane's career begins as a person determined to "use journalism to protect the interests of ordinary people."
He does so with great vigor and is heralded, at first, as a reformer. But Kane becomes a man
consumed by his own ambition and he leaves his well known crusading values by the wayside as he struggles to achieve political success. As one critic noted, "This is a mighty exposition of American society and a devastating critique of the American Dream which, coming on the heals of the Great Depression found an audience that was all too aware of the shortcomings associated with a capitalistic free market enterprise system when it does not work. To a great extent the film is a contemporary version of Faust (a fact that was no doubt not lost on Hearst or Wells), the story of a man who gains the world and loses his soul in the process."
This, sadly, is the way I see John McCain, a politician I once admired. I defended him many times over the years, believing he was one of the few truth tellers, unaffected by pressure put on him by the Republican party. I honestly believed he went his own way.
John McCain has succumbed to the very people he once resisted. His desire to be President has overcome his desire to maintain his moral code. He is a maverick no more.