My Word for June 4, 2001

I think I'm like most of you. I can't figure out what John McCain is up to.

The smart guys in Washington say this talk about leaving the Republican Party is mostly about creating attention for McCain so he can push his own issues ... and about making trouble for Pres. Bush, for whom he still harbors resentment.

But having said all that, the question is: Did leading the McCainiacs on that exhilarating ride last Fall actually change John McCain's politics?

Is he now anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-taxes, pro-big government. In short, has he turned his back on his political mentor, Barry Goldwater — the memorable senator from Arizona?

I don't know. Like a lot of people, I can't figure him out. I like him, like a lot of people do ... but at this moment, I can't say what John McCain is for, or what he's against.

People are describing him as a Republican progressive, which I suppose is the new age way of saying Republican moderate. In other words, not so conservative as he once was.

I fear what has happened is that McCain has gotten addicted to the roar of the crowd, and that he will say what he needs to say to get the crowd to roar.

I hope not. I hope McCain figures out what he's for and against, letting his followers decide if they're with him or not.

And here's some advice to the senator: Stop doing those college town halls. That roar of that crowd is always for the things that will push you — not to the middle, but decidedly to the left.

Don't forget, senator. Before you showed up at the campus for your town hall, those professors have had those kids for years, and as a general rule ... don't make the views of America's professors your political platform.

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