‘I have not changed in my positions’

‘I HAVE NOT CHANGED IN MY POSITIONS’…. Jill Lawrence caught up with Sen. John McCain (R) in Arizona, and brought up Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) recent assertion that McCain has no choice but to move away from some of his previous positions. “John’s got a primary,” Graham said. “He’s got to focus on getting re-elected.”

McCain interrupts me. “Lindsey knows that I don’t change in my positions,” he says. “I have not changed in my positions. I know how popular it is for the Eastern press to paint me as having changed positions. That’s not true. I know they’re going to continue to say it. It’s fundamentally false. Not only am I sure that they’ll say it, you’ll say it. You’ll write it. And I’ve just grown to accept that.”

McCain continues to sound bitter and belligerent — he’s convinced journalists are desperate “to see John McCain, the nominee of the Republican Party, in serious trouble” — just for bitterness’ sake. He brings up his failed presidential campaign, only to pretend he’s moved past it. It’s kind of sad, really.

But for McCain to angrily insist he’s hasn’t changed his positions, and that the very idea is “fundamentally false,” is pretty silly, even by his standards.

Can anyone name a single major policy position that McCain hasn’t flip-flopped on? I’ve looked and can’t think of any.

I mean that quite literally. Some of the more recent reversals — on immigration policy, on cap-and-trade, on Supreme Court nominees, on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — are glaring because they deal with issues that have been the subject of a lot of attention of late, but this is a man who has nothing in common with previous iterations of himself. McCain did, after all, recently claim, “I never considered myself a maverick.”

McCain also vowed, just last week, that if re-elected, he promises not to work in a bipartisan fashion on immigration policy — a complete reversal to the entire image he built up over the last decade.

It’s tempting to run through the entire compilation of every McCain reversal, but when I gave up keeping track two years ago, the list was awfully long. His changed positions encompassed everything from taxes, to national security, to culture-war issues, to foreign policy, to constitutional policy, to the economy, to campaign-finance reform.

John McCain has shed one skin, only to climb into a very different one. For him to insist, on the record and with a straight face, “I don’t change in my positions,” is among the single most ridiculous claims I’ve ever heard.