The Real McCain: Tidbits
- The world is currently outraged that the military dictatorship of Myanmar/Burma is refusing to let U.S. and international aid in to help the millions devastated by the cyclone. Even Pres. Bush is begging to send massive aid (aid he still hasn’t sent to New Orleans, but that’s a different story). So, who has Sen. John McCain picked to run the upcoming Republican National Convention? Doug Goodyear, once a lobbyist for the Burmese military dictatorship! Great choice, no? And yet more evidence that McCain’s relationship with D.C. lobbyists is MUCH closer than he lets on. (Update: Goodyear just quit over the Burma ties. Good call, but doesn’t show much judgment on McCain’s part. People have made a big stink over Obama’s slight aquaintance with a former member of the Weather Underground–even though that movement took place when Obama was eight years old and living in Indonesia!–but McCain should thoroughly vet people he wants to employ! He’s an adult and trying to become President, for crying out loud.
- In 2000 and 2004, John McCain tried to modify the GOP platform plank on abortion: allowing exceptions for rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother. These are exceptions that even the majority of pro-life people support. Now, because his relationship with the GOP rightwing base is so shaky (thousands of GOP voters in North Carolina last Tues., long weeks after McCain secured the nomination, still voted for Romney or Huckabee), he is flip-flopping–and won’t challenge the plank’s opposition to all abortions under any circumstances!
- McCain’s reputation for honesty seems to rest on simply a cozy relationship with the media. Arianna Huffington claims that in 2000 (after Bush and Rove smeared McCain grossly in South Carolina), both John and Cindy McCain told her that they didn’t vote for George W. Bush. Now, McCain says that he did. Who is telling the truth? Well, consider some other McCain denials:
- He denied ever talking with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) about becoming his VP running mate in ’04. Later, he admitted this conversation did take place. (I thought Kerry was dumb to think about McCain, but that’s a different topic.)
- McCain has denied that he ever said that he doesn’t know much about the economy. But he said exactly that to The Wall Street Journal (not exactly a bastion of liberal spin!), and the Boston Globe, and The Baltimore Sun. That’s in addition to the original quote to Tim Russert, which you can watch here. Recently, McCain has been touting economic plans in Iowa (where he polls well below either Obama or Clinton) and Michigan. If I were living in Michigan, I’d remember that when he was campaigning for the GOP Michigan primary in January, he told potential voters that their jobs were leaving and never coming back. So, the new jobs he’s promising must be Wal-mart types, huh?
- McCain claimed that in 24 years in the U.S. Senate, he’s never asked for an “earmark” (porkbarrel projects snuck into appropriations bills without voting–both parties regularly waste taxpayer money this way) for Arizona. But he did.
- Less than 24 hours after Cindy McCain told reporters that the McCain campaign would not resort to smear tactics (she was branding a DNC commercial that quoted McCain’s own words and used them against him as a smear), John McCain claimed that Obama is “the favorite candidate of Hamas.” Now, Obama has always said that Hamas is a terrorist group and, in his only trip to the Palestinian territories, told Hamas that unless they renounced terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to existence, NO U.S. President, from any Party, would ever recognize or help them. So, this was clearly a smear. But now McCain says that people want him to link Obama and Hamas. Which people? Bill O’Reilly? Karl Rove? Nasty stuff.
- McCain has been involved in yet another land swap deal that does not show anything illegal, but does show that he has not been as immune to lobbyist charms as he has claimed after his involvement in the Keating Five scandal.
- And then there’s major McCain flip-flops: He voted against the Bush tax cuts, but now wants to make them permanent. (Note: McCain claims that, as a fiscal conservative, he wanted tax cuts only if accompanied by spending cuts to pay for them. Sounds good. Except that’s not what he said at the time. The first round of Bush tax cuts he specifically opposed because they favored the rich. The second round he opposed because, as he rightly said, it is irresponsible to cut taxes when going to war!) He voted, and CAMPAIGNED for immigration reform that he now opposes. He once opposed the Religious Right as “agents of intolerance,” but now actively seeks their support–including the support of the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley (who urges America to declare war on all Muslims!), and John Hagee!
- McCain was formerly for much stronger climate change legislation than he now supports.
- McCain, a victim of torture while a prisoner of war, used to be completely against torture, including waterboarding (the drowning torture). He had said that all interrogations should be conducted according to the Geneva Conventions as codifed in the U.S. Army Field Manual. But recently he opposed legislation that would have specifically restricted the CIA to the techniques authorized by the Field Manual and praised Pres. Bush for vetoing it.
- He makes jokes about bombing Iran.
- He voted against desegregated housing in Arizona and against the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.
- He has made crude jokes and comments that suggest a deep-seated sexism, even misogyny. They are too vulgar for me to repeat or link to, because of the danger that children could see them. But you can find them on the web. One such joke in the ’90s was a put-down of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno in one breath. It also implied that all strong women must be lesbians. Another “joke” publicly referred to his wife, Cindy, by a nauseatingly vulgar slang term.
- Then there is the strange opposition of McCain to a new “G.I. Bill.” Why would someone of the “we support the troops” party oppose Democratic-sponsored legislation to help the brave men and women we send into harms way (especially into stupid, illegal wars like Iraq)? The G.I. Bill after WWII helped to create the vast middle class of the 1950s by paying for college or job-training for millions of vets. Why would McCain begrudge this to today’s vets?
- McCain’s use of his wife’s jet for campaign purposes may be illegal. So may her refusal to release her tax returns.
For more on the John McCain who is NOT the jolly maverick created by the media, see The Real McCain. With a McCain presidency we get less jobs and more wars. No thanks.
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