07/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McWink and McNod

John McCain has winked at so many slivers of the political spectrum that his eyes are now permanently shut. Both of them, stuck together by the spit and sealing wax of too many promises that will never be kept, can never be kept, and will never be kept because they're all implied, nothing more. That is the secret of McCain's success, it's all by implication. Everyone thinks some bit of him is theirs.

As he's stumbles through the media tunnel on his way to the nomination, he has given a nod in every conceivable direction. Kind of like one of those bobbing heads, but this one feigns bonding through twisted body language and words of vague support. Smile and the audience presumes you're smiling with them and not behind their backs.

Take pro-choice women. It's astonishing how many women think that John McCain is pro-choice. No wonder, in 1999 he told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, "Certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations." He added that while he ultimately favors repeal of Roe, "we all know, and it's obvious, that if we repeal Roe v. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations." Today he says he wants the South Dakota Solution to the choice question, which means no choice at all -- no abortion under any circumstances but the threat of death to the mother. Fortunately, this successful ballot initiative was finally excised in a followup election in which the good women of that state decided to stand up for their rights even as their men folk voted to keep them pregnant in summer, forever. And, now it's back on the ballot yet again this year!

Winking and nodding your way into becoming the most powerful person in the world is quite a feat, only a hero of Herculean magnitude could measure up to the task. That may be what concerns me most about John McCain the survivor. Should he become president at 73, I can easily see him packing the Supreme Court with ever more conservative judges as he firms up his base for his re-election effort in 2012 at the age of 77! My 10-year old daughter will be thirteen then, just on the tip of potentially pulling a "Juno." Roe vs Wade has been repealed. What then? Do I have to take her to a Third World country to get an abortion if she doesn't want a child while she still is one?

The classic and often successful model for a Republican campaign for president is to "run to the right and then move to the middle." Nixon, Reagan, Bush One and Bush Too, all got to the White house by winking and nodding their way to the top. It looks like McCain is on the same journey.