Senator John McCain tells NBC’s Chuck Todd we need:

[A] free and sometimes adversarial press. Without it, I’m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started… They get started by suppressing the free press… I’m not saying President Trump is trying to be a dictator, I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.

Classic. “I’m not saying this thing I just said.”

Well, sometimes dictators get started by co-opting the press. Sometimes the press sycophants enlist themselves. The press is free to print what it wants; but if it becomes immune to criticism that’s when it becomes the enemy, and when it acts like a hive mind, that’s when the possibility of dictatorship emerges.

We all remember the fiery outrage Senator McCain expressed when former President Obama wiretapped the Associated Press in 2013. We can never forget his impassioned speech when Fox News’ James Rosen was on Obama’s DOJ enemies list.

Well… No. We can’t remember outrage that was never expressed, nor can we forget something that never happened. Donald Trump called the press “the enemy of the American people” in a tweet – that got Mr. Straight Talk Express to sit up and take notice.

Given Senator McCain’s estranged relationship with GOP Presidents, we shouldn’t be surprised he’s bashing Trump. You may remember some of Senator McCain’s collusion with Democrats against President George W. Bush. It’s worth a review to recall the full picture.

At best that was about policies. At worst, it was McCain building his own ego. It’s quite another thing to glibly toss about the word “dictator” in response to a question about POTUS criticizing the MSM. The answer to Todd’s question is, “Yes, the press is the enemy of the American people who elected this President, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with their Progressive agenda. Get a clue.”

Given Senator McCain’s estranged relationship with the First Amendment, we shouldn’t be surprised he’s selective in citing it. He is, after all, the co-author of the anti-First Amendment Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, eponymously known as McCain-Feingold. Don’t take my word for its unconstitutionality – the Supreme Court has overturned major portions of McCain-Feingold in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., Davis v. Federal Election Commission, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

If John McCain understood that the First Amendment protects free speech (especially political speech) for all of us he would be too embarrassed to be currying MSM favor by implying Trump is suppressing the free press.

Powerline’s John Hinderaker sums it up nicely,

John, John, get a grip! Who is “suppressing” the press? Do you seriously not understand the difference between criticizing the press and suppressing it? The press is not above criticism. On the contrary, it deserves to be called out constantly for bias and inaccuracy. President Trump has taken a good step in that direction, but a great deal more press criticism is in order.

Also: not calling on CNN in a White House press conference does not constitute “suppressing” CNN.

The Vice of Selflessness

I have no brief for John McCain. My praise to criticism ratio is probably similar to MSNBC’s – around 1 to 1000. I expounded on McCain’s “selflessness” here in 2006. You may find it of interest after reading the following.

John McCain’s regard for his selfless image is his biggest single problem. It has damaged his campaign and distorted his responses to crises during that campaign. This narcissism, however, is of an entirely different order than Barack Obama’s. I hope any undecided voter reading this may be persuaded that the difference is consequential.

McCain does not suffer from Obama’s all-consuming narcissism – where the Presidency is simply a prop on the stage of Obama’s ego. No, McCain is obviously humbled by the prospect of being President. He respects the office in ways Obama can’t imagine: John McCain would never have presumed to design his own Presidential Seal or have faux-Greek styrofoam columns built for a convention acceptance speech. John McCain would never have delivered a speech in Berlin criticizing his own country, claiming to be a “citizen of the world,” in a calculated move to bask in the reflected glory of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, especially not as a barely one-term Senator who had spent most of that term campaigning for President. John McCain would never say of securing the Presidential nomination, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Obama did say that. The evidence is overwhelming that he actually believes it. What is the Presidency in comparison?

Still, McCain does sometimes seems confused about core principles when he encounters a novel question: What he displays instead is situational moral outrage. Fortunately, he has been in so many situations we know what to expect. So, if “situational moral outrage” seems a scary characteristic for a Commander in Chief; remember, you KNOW infinitely more about McCain in this regard than you do about Obama (aside from Biden’s guarantee of an International crisis).

You should only be frightened of McCain as CinC if you think we should have abandoned Iraq on Obama’s timetable: In which case you haven’t read this far. McCain is highly trustworthy as CinC, both because he is not naive about evil and because he has been intimately acquainted with the inside of War. Maybe that’s redundant. Nevertheless, this is the area where Obama has clearly demonstrated the principles of a water-moccasin.

It is not personal glory with which John McCain is obsessed. His hubris is of a less malign sort. He is possessed of an internally defined moral certitude that can divert him from considering principle when the certitude is challenged. This is probably what makes you fear voting for McCain. It does me. I’ve simply recognized that Obama is far, far more to be feared.

The good news is that McCain has been around so long we’ve been exposed to 99.9% of the major mistakes of principle he will make – and he’s demonstrated moral certitude that many of Obama’s worst promises ARE mistakes. Insofar as we well know McCain, we can trust him to screw up in predictable ways.

Bottom line – Obama is far the more dangerous narcissist. He is a megalomaniac with insufficient respect for the office he seeks. He does have a better grip on his principles, perhaps, but since they derive from people like Saul Alinsky, I am afraid of what an Obama Presidency means for my grandson.

Updated & bumped 3-Nov 7:25 Reagan/Kennedy line added