The (right) stuff of dreams

Here comes the really loopy part, but it seems so real: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is publicly saying that the guy should not have been read his rights, that it was a "serious mistake.” He was appearing on "Imus in the Morning," which just goes to show the tricks my subconscious is playing on me.

Isn't McCain the guy who fancies himself a "maverick,” someone willing to go against the grain of Republican orthodoxy, unintimidated by the majority of arch-conservatives who have routinely tried to banish him from the fold?

It couldn't be that this brave man is reduced to folding under an onslaught from the Tea Party wing and a tough primary race, that he is ready to say anything that will please those hell-bent on making the GOP the TP. That's gotta be wild fantasy.

It gets even more bizarre: You cannot believe who criticizes McCain for suggesting that the accused bomber shouldn’t be Mirandized. You ready for this? It's Glenn Beck, for cryin' out loud! That symbol of uncompassionate conservatism.

There he was, sitting on the set of "Fox and Friends,” and out of his mouth came the words “He [meaning the guy under arrest here] is a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens. [Faisal Shahzad] has all the rights under the Constitution. ... We don’t shred the Constitution when it’s popular. We do the right thing."

It doesn't take a Glenn Beck to remind us how precious the protections for the accused are in our country. Those who contend that we can't defend the nation if we don't jettison those rights are making a preposterous argument: that we are unable to be safe and live up to our nation's promises, and must take the expedient path.

Any thoughtful person knows that any shortcuts will ultimately threaten all of us. So do the political demagogues who have made a career out of inflammatory, simple-minded thoughtlessness. But we're talking John McCain here: the war hero, the fellow who infuriated the right by daring to step out of the pack. This has to be some bizarre REM delusion.

It can't be real: Glenn Beck the voice of moderation up against John McCain going off the deep end. I can't be awake. That would be a real nightmare. A sad one.


Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.