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Jon vs. John: The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart takes John McCain’s #DADT hypocrisy to task


by Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

Much good reporting has been done in recent days on the many positions of John McCain on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” campaign. John McCain changing positions drastically, or standing at odds with his own public statements is nothing new. We’ve seen it elsewhere as he’s flip-flopped on everything from the climate change legislation, to the DREAM Act, to campaign finance regulations.

In fact, McCain’s vacillation on most major policies has become somewhat of a mainstay in the Senate over the past year. However, when it comes to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” it seems even the McCain’s can’t keep up with the double talk.

As Igor Volsky reports at Wonk Room John McCain has taken no less than 11 different, and widely divergent stances on DADT:

McCain’s vacillation on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been well documented, but a thorough review of the Senator’s public statements throughout the policy’s 17-year span (from 1993 to 2010) reveals that the self-styled maverick of the senate has held at least 11 different positions on the issue. For instance, McCain was initially skeptical of the policy and feared that it would become a “fodder for legal challenges.” During one Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in 1993, McCain questioned then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Colin Powell about how DADT would treat soldiers dressed in “transvestite clothing” and had even proposed a compromise that would have extended DADT only to new recruits, but preserved the ban for existing servicemembers.

Wonk Room proceeds to chronicle 11 fully documented, and widely aknowledged, McCain has taken over the years, months, and weeks. All of which begs the question, not why does Senator McCain’s opinion matter (he is after all a US Senator) but why does this John McCain opinion matter, when he can’t even agree with himself? If more Americans came to this conclusion, maybe we could move forward towards real solutions and improved military readiness, instead of the tired epithets of an aged Senator?

Towards that end, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart produced a fantastic segment showcasing McCain’s hypocrisy, along with the cautionary note: When the eyes of history look back at this moment in our nation’s history, John McCain’s stalling won’t be seen as the last brave stand of a beloved statesman, but rather, as the incoherent and ultimately futile last efforts of a small-minded man refusing to embrace the 21st century. Quite simply, for you, Senator McCain “It Gets Worse.”

View and share the video via Facebook:

UPDATE BY ANDY: Video of Rachel Maddow’s recent segment on John McCain’s many flip-flops. Thanks to chamisaguy for providing the link:


  • 1. Michelle Evans  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

    McCain is simply homophobic, and he keeps trying to make excuses for not admitting that this is the basis of all he has done against us.

  • 2. Michelle Evans  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Also, Rachel Maddow did an excellent piece on all the flips of McCain last Friday.

  • 3. Alan E.  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I loved Rachel's post, too, but the "It Gets Worse" clip is amazingly funny, cause it's true!

  • 4. Ann S.  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Those were both excellent critical pieces. WTF is wrong with the man??

  • 5. Andy @ Courage  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Rachel was amazing. If anyone has the link to the clip, I'll add it as an update.

  • 6. Michelle Evans  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

    He's a homophobe, a transphobe, a phobe against anything his very, very small mind does not understand. Look at his comments to Powell concerning someone being dressed as a transvestite. As a former military man, does he not even have enough understanding of our military personnel to know that when serving, you have a uniform to wear. Anyone, no matter what mode of dress, would be disciplined if they did not adhere to that uniform policy.

    As a person who served in the military during the Vietnam era myself, I used to have great respect for him for his service to our country and his time as a POW. I find it very unfortunate that a man I once admired so much, no longer has one scintilla of respect from me. Now he is just a scared little bigot who can't think for himself.

  • 7. Chris B  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    @Michelle_Evans: Thanks for the reminder on military dress.

    These transvestite arguments are ridiculous, and are a sign of desperation and ignorance.

    I prefer to wear shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. I would assume once I joined the military I would have to wear their uniform, not what I prefer in civilian life.

    Does the military code even address personnel wearing clothing of the opposite sex? Perhaps Sen. McCain should focus on that, if it is such a concern to him. And someone should tell him that many cross-dressers are actually straight.

    Best of all, we should look to the countries that already allow gays to serve. It's not like we are breaking new ground here. Everything seems to be going well for those militaries. Israel allows gays to serve, and arguably Israel is one of the countries with the highest and most immediate concern for military readiness.

  • 8. Michelle Evans  |  November 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

    One problem with the possible repeal of DADT is that it does nothing to allow transgender people to serve, only openly gay and lesbian. I am transgender and I served in the USAF for 7 years. If I had been allowed to be who I actually am while serving, I would have been wearing the exact same uniforms as any other female, which in many cases is identical to what a male would wear (work fatigues for the most part). The only difference would be in the dress uniforms where a female has the option of wearing a skirt, but may also wear slacks.

    We are not drag queens wearing outrageous makeup and wigs and sequined dresses when we would go to work. McCain has no clue whatsoever.

  • 9. JonT  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:45 am

    He's being all 'mavericky'…

  • 10. Mouse  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Whatever criticisms people might have for Obama, it is good to be reminded that THIS was the other choice.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

    lol…if he had won…I would have moved……<3….Ronnie

  • 12. Sarah  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I saw this on tv and promptly posted it for my Facebook friends to enjoy. As usual, Stewart hits this nail on the head.

    Until he picked Palin as a running mate I thought I would have been able to tolerate McCain as President. I shudder to think what that may have brought…

  • 13. Rev. Chewie  |  November 18, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I had a lot of respect for John McCain for a number of years. I didn't agree with him on all topics, not by a long shot, but I respected him. Some time in early 2008, however, the pod people took the man I respected away and replaced him with this mouthpiece for the neo-cons. It's the only explanation I can come up with. It seems like his entire personality, along with most of his political viewpoints, completely changed sometime during the '08 election cycle.

  • 14. Ann S.  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:40 am

    On another topic — another win for Hastings School of Law, another loss for the Christian Legal Society.

  • 15. Kathleen  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm


  • 16. chamisaguy  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:43 am

    andy @ courage,

    Here's the link to Rachel Maddow's clip about McCain's flip-flopping:

  • 17. Andy @ Courage  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thanks chamisaguy, adding it now.

  • 18. chamisaguy  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:46 am


  • 19. Alan E.  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Kathleen's services are needed! Looks like the arguments will be televised =) (but I need to see the actual document to know for sure what the last email means)

    Filed clerk order (Deputy Clerk:PA)C-SPAN applied to televise live the case captioned above, scheduled to be heard in San Francisco, on December 6, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. C-SPAN's request to televise live is GRANTED. A maximum of two (2) video cameras will be permitted in the courtroom. C-SPAN will serve as the pool-feed for all media organizations that submit an application.[7549282] [10-16696, 10-16751] (PA)

  • 20. Trish  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

    That is exactly what it means, Alan. Unless, of course, the USSC steps in to say that the attorneys might be too "yeller" to have their faces shown on camera.

  • 21. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:21 am

    wow, I surely hope they televise it. I might have to take the 6th off too!

  • 22. Kathleen  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Sorry I was MIA. Was doing my civic duty – vote count monitoring in Los Angeles County. The order are uploaded to my Scribd account now.

  • 23. Ann S.  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Wow, good on you. You're putting in a lot of time on this. I'll be interested to hear about your experiences doing this.

  • 24. Ed Cortes  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

    WAY OFF TOPIC (The prop 8 trial WILL BE TELEVISED!!):

    Docket Text:
    Filed clerk order (Deputy Clerk:PA)C-SPAN applied to televise live the case captioned above, scheduled to be heard in San Francisco, on December 6, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. C-SPAN's request to televise live is GRANTED. A maximum of two (2) video cameras will be permitted in the courtroom. C-SPAN will serve as the pool-feed for all media organizations that submit an application.

  • 25. Sagesse  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:43 am

    McCain is such a senior senator that he has a lot of clout, particularly on the Armed Services Committee. It's frightening that he's been elected for another six years, and can just throw his weight around on any issue he likes. He doesn't have to make sense, he doesn't have to justify himself, if he says it it will be listened to.

    Time for someone to go looking for the emperor's clothes.

  • 26. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

    The only reason he was elected was because of SB1070…had that never happened McCain would be history in AZ.

  • 27. Kathleen  |  November 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm

  • 28. Rhie  |  November 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Jon Stewart is awesome. I loved the conversation between him and Rachel.

  • 29. Jenny  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    John McCain is ignorant and homophobic. He doesn't want to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell because he doesn't like gay people and not because of any military reason. Anyone can read about how much of a non-issue ending military discrimination in other countries was. Does he think Americans can't handle it. Please. And for the record, I'm with Lady Gaga: if they are that hateful, they can be the ones to leave. McCain is just completely unreasonable and unwilling to accept any reality but his own fantasy one. It doesn't matter if every member of the armed forces came up to him and said, "I want to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell" he would still find a way to be against it.

    Also, Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart are amazing! Thank all that's good there are people like them to call out the hypocrisy.

    *end rant*

  • 30. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    On one hand, if J. D. Hayworth had won the Arizona GOP Senate primary, we would have had someone generally to the right of McCain, on the other hand, McCain has become the point man for DADT. So frustrating….

  • 31. Jeff W.  |  November 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Everytime McCain opens his mouth about DADT, he proves his ignorance, his homophobia and his out-of-touch views. Furthermore, he completely insults our fine fighting force, implying that they couldn't do their jobs if they knew someone in their unit was gay.

    He's clearly on the wrong side of history.

  • 32. Martin Pal  |  November 18, 2010 at 7:32 am

    When John McCain went on Jay Leno's show to promote his book "Why Courage Matters," Jay Leno asked him if he had an example of someone with those qualities of courage, an example from everyday life, not a famous person, but an every day type person. To my surprise, John McCain chose Mark Bingham as an example. A gay American who was on Flight 93 and helped to bring it down. McCain said that Mark Bingham was one of his supporters.

    And this is how John McCain now would treat someone he uses as an example of courage and one of his supporters as well?

    I have been looking for a clip of that Tonight Show segment, but have not been able to find it as of yet. If anyone else knows of it, please link it here.

    Thank you.

  • 33. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 18, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I don't know about this, but I hope Sen. Lieberman is right.

    Daily Kos: Lieberman says he has the Senate votes to repeal DADT!!!

  • 34. Richard A. Jernigan  |  November 20, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have long been known for their aptitude at totally shredding arguments that have no basis in fact. Keep up the good work!

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