John McCain sure is a maverick, I'll give him that.
In just a week, he's managed to alienate the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Iraqi people, the American people, and the veterans community. The question is, is this the kind of maverick that we really want to see?
First, just after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki backed Barack Obama's plan for a timeline to redeploy from Iraq, Senator McCain stubbornly said that he would not listen to the Iraqis , despite past statements saying he would. This, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Iraqis want us to set some kind of timeline, that the American people want some kind of timeline, and that the Bush administration even had to cave on timelines.
In response, we at VoteVets.org launched this ad, featuring Iraq War Veteran Brandon Woods. In the ad, Brandon makes clear - we fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and freedom means the Iraqi's sovereign government and the Iraqi people have the right to self-determination.
Then, at a town hall in Dover, NH, Senator McCain said we should ration care for veterans, by directing the VA to focus on those veterans who sustained injuries as a "direct result of combat."
As a letter veterans from 18 states sent to McCain today makes clear, this would be a retreat from a promise we've made to veterans ever since 1930 - that no matter how or when they received service-connected injuries, they would receive timely and quality care.
Further, McCain's new policy goes against every single veterans organization. Year after year, in the Independent Budget, the major veterans service organizations make clear that the answer to issues in VA care is not to cut or ration services, but to increase funding, which has been billions short for years.
So, there's your maverick. Not afraid to blow off foreign leaders, the population of other nations and the citizens of our own, or veterans and the organizations who look out for them. What's next, puppies and kids with special needs?