Monday, March 03, 2008

Profile in Courage: John McCain?

John McCain Is A Kook
Some people seem to believe that John McCain is more qualified than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to be president. When asked why, they say it's because he's been in Washington for such a long time (precisely the wrong answer). Then they say it's because he's such a rebel; he doesn't run with the crowd (again, wrong answer). Finally, when pressed, they say it's about his experience in Vietnam (um, wrong again).

I want to tackle each of these misguided notions in turn.

First on the confusion between time served and contribution. While John McCain made a valiant attempt at campaign finance reform with the overused "McCain-Feingold" legislation passed in 2002, quite oddly after his failed run for president the first time around. It will be interesting to see which dog he gives no teeth when (if?) he loses this time around.

Let's not forget that McCain has had his share of, shall we say, unscrupulous conduct. "The Keating Five" comes immediately to mind, thus far part of the biggest capital vacuum this country has ever seen (time will tell that the latest banking fiasco, the Mortgage Meltdown or the Credit Crunch, whichever, is bigger, but back in the 80s, the Savings & Loan debacle was HUGE).

The Keating Five, as it became known, was a scandal precipitated by the failure of Lincoln Savings & Loan, which ultimately cost taxpayers over $3 billion (not to mention all of the other failed S&Ls which cost over $500 billion). Five senators were accused of meddling in a government agency's investigation into the failed Lincoln S&L. To be fair, 3 senators were found, by their own peers, to have improperly interfered with the investigation, to the degree that they had their hands slapped; John McCain was found to have only "minimally interfered" and thus only got a hand-wringing.

Essentially, Lincoln and its chairman, Charles Keating, had given the 5 senators a boatload of money ($1.3 million, collectively). In return, he and the bank sought "assistance" when the time arose with dealing with any investigations. It was a classic "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" case of "campaign finance" shenanigans.

You will never hear John McCain speak of this scandal. I am surprised that there hasn't been made more of this. He was a direct beneficiary of exactly the BS that he supposedly is so against. Granted, that was 20 years ago, but can a leopard really change its spots? I think not.

McCain only became interested in campaign finance reform when it benefited him. He got a really bad taste in his mouth after he was smeared, literally and figuratively, by George Bush and Karl "Marx" Rove in the 2001 primaries. The Bush camp put out the story that McCain had fathered a black child. How did they do this? With money. Hence, campaign reform became McCain's pet project.

McCain recently has bee scrutinized, though not very much and the NY Times did nobody any service by their crappy journalistic garbage, for his dealings with a particular lobbyist (who proceeded to tell anyone and everyone about her relationship with McCain). All the Time had to say was that McCain had close ties with a lobbyist. Then mention the company for which the lobbyist lobbied, and follow the money. If there was a story, that would have been the route I chose to take. But no, the Times, in their quest to become the New York Enquirer, chose to make this an accusatory piece on McCain, suggesting that he had an affair with the lobbyist. While this would have been news had the lobbyist been a homosexual, or, as the Republicans like to claim, "a straight man who likes to have sex with other men," this was not a story because the lobbyist was, ahem, a woman.

No story there. Politicians have been having affairs with women since the dawn of time.

Read John McCain Has Some Explaining To Do.

So, keep the Keating Five in mind next time McCain's no Bullshit Express comes to a town near you.

Let's move on to the rebel in John McCain. "They" (whoever "they" is) say McCain is a maverick. A leader. Not a member of the sheeple. I say, BS. He's a politician for crissakes. He simply -- sometimes -- says inflammatory things about his co-workers. Just think if you openly called your peers jackasses. You'd be called "fired." But not John McCain. He's called a reformer. A man who can "reach across the aisle" (by the way, why is there an aisle? Shouldn't we try to integrate, rather than segregate, these assholes?).

John McCain is Uncle Fester. He's the uncle at Christmas dinner you wish wasn't there. He makes rude comments, laughs about it, then proceeds to eat the entire ham. With his grubby paws.

John McCain is no more maverick than Eeyore of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.

Read John McCain Is Not Very Nice.

Onto his Vietnam record. "They" say he's a war hero. I say he's a shitty pilot, shot down over Vietnam and then tortured nearly to death. While surviving torture for years proves he is resilient, it does not prove John McCain is a hero. A hero saves people. A hero is Super Man. Not a guy who failed in his singular mission.

Sorry to be so harsh, but I get really bent out of shape when people start talking about heroes. There's a difference between greatly admiring and respecting somebody and a hero. I give props to McCain for surviving. But he's no hero. Who did he save from a burning airplane? Who did he rescue from a collapsed building? Who did he get down from falling tower?

If anything, a true war hero was beaten to a pulp by the political machine that John McCain helped to make what it is today. Of course, I'm speaking of John Kerry.

We can disagree on whether McCain is a hero. However, I'd like to know how "they" can say his experience gives him a leg up on his opponents. I say quite the contrary. I think the torture he experienced made him a little kooky. Maybe a lot kooky. The guy is a whack job if I've ever seen one.

He is scary insane: You know those guys who are "normal" and then one day snap? That's John McCain. I just hope he doesn't snap while Commander in Chief. "There he goes again. He just ordered an air raid on Cuba because they would not send him a box of cigars." I can hear it now.

Read John McCain Is Going To Be President.

I admit that I haven't addressed the above failings and shortcomings in relation to his opponents. I will be the first to tell you that Hillary and Barack don't have much experience either. But I'm not convinced that experience is the key to being a great, or deserving, president.

It just chaps my hide when people talk of McCain's "vast experience" and how that matters. After all, how many of these guys and gals have ever been president before? Zero.

They're career politicians. McCain has been in DC for 28 years, before that a career soldier. In other words, he's been on the taxpayers' dole his entire adult life. He knows nothing about the common man and woman: Their needs, their issues, their dreams that have been crushed by the beast we call Congress.

Read Experience: Who Needs It?

I don't want that in a president.

Do you?

List of articles where I mention John McCain

Agree or Disagree? Tell my why here!