Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was on NBC’s Meet the Press today and things got a little uncomfortable for him when moderator David Gregory asked McCain if he thought President Obama’s agenda was socialist. McCain would only say that, “this administration is governing from the left.” McCain would not label Obama a socialist.
Here is the video:
When asked by Gregory if Obama’s agenda was socialist, McCain answered, “Look, look, there is no doubt in my mind America’s a right-of-center nation and this administration is governing from the left. That’s why the president’s approval rating’s continued to, to decline. And I know you want to get off health care, and I will. But I want to say again–and Eric Cantor who’s coming on later will affirm this–we want to sit down and have negotiations, and we have a positive agenda, and we would love to see that agenda…”
Not satisfied with his answer, Gregory asked again, “my question is do you think that kind of–because you’ve heard that description before, not just from J.D. Hayworth but others. Does it go too far to say the president’s agenda is a socialist agenda?” McCain responded with, “I, I think I gave my description. I think they’re governing from the left on a broad variety of issues, but I’ll let others speak for themselves. I, I have enough time taking care of my own misstatements.”
One could see McCain’s obvious discomfort with the question. He didn’t want to answer it, because of his right wing primary challenger who happily labeling President Obama a socialist at every turn, McCain could not say that he knows that President Obama is not a socialist, so he stuck to the safe point that Obama governs from the left. It is debatable as to how far to left Obama is, but McCain stuck to the relatively safe statement, while dodging the socialist question.
McCain has already moved to the right in order to win reelection, but he will never have credibility with the right wing, because he won’t embrace their rhetoric and call Obama a socialist. If I was John McCain, and I saw the Republican Party moving as far to the right as it has, it might have looked like a great time to retire. McCain isn’t a maverick, but he isn’t a winger either. McCain is just a Republican, but in 2010 American conservatives are in no mood for regular Republicans.