Take a stand, John McCain

The New York Times, reporting on John McCain’s campaign, writes:

On Thursday, even as he promised a stream of the candid comments that distinguished him in 2000 — “Anything, anything you want to talk about,” he said — he steered clear of offering opinions on two of the biggest issues on the political landscape this week. He declined to say whether he agreed with the assertion by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that homosexuality is immoral, or whether he thought Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should be ousted for his handling of the firing of federal prosecutors.

I can understand the reluctance of a candidate to express strong opinions on anything: part of the secret to winning an election surely is pissing off less people than your opponents. But equally, you want to see your politicians stand for something.

By refusing to answer the question on homosexuality, McCain is signalling to non-homophobic voters that either he believes that “homosexuality is immoral,” or he is pandering to the religious right in order to win the Republican nomination. He is also signalling to the religious right that while he pretends to share their ‘values,’ he won’t come out and openly say it.

Either way, he could be losing himself voters, and that’s a damn good thing. He showed his disregard for free speech with the odious McCain-Feingold act, and hedging his bets on an issue like this is, in my book, disgraceful.