Monday, October 06, 2008

POW! Rolling Stone goes after McCain

Well it's about time someone questioned the McCain tactic of "I'm a war hero! Don't you dare question me about anything" (whether or not the anything has any connection with POW! being beside the point).

Personally I fail to see why being a POW! should give one an automatic "in" to the Presidency - nor do I see any reason why a person's POW! experience would be useful to, or indeed bear any relationship to, the role of President of the US of A. But then I'm just a hippy peacenik, so hey, what do I know?

So why don't we ask a few people who do know - a bunch of people that Rolling Stone has been talking to for their 10-page exposé on John McCain - Make-Believe Maverick - ooooh he's gonna be pretty mad about this article, I can tell you that! And when John McCain gets angry... well, let's see shall we...?

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

"John has made a pact with the devil," says Lincoln Chafee, the former GOP senator, who has been appalled at his one-time colleague's readiness to sacrifice principle for power. Chafee and McCain were the only Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts. They locked arms in opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And they worked together in the "Gang of 14," which blocked some of Bush's worst judges from the federal bench.

"On all three — sadly, sadly, sadly — McCain has flip-flopped," Chafee says. And forget all the "Country First" sloganeering, he adds. "McCain is putting himself first. He's putting himself first in blinking neon lights."

It's all there - how this son and grandson of 4-star navy admirals used his family connections to get into Annapolis with a less than impressive school record, the planes he crashed in training (and how he pulled strings to keep his wings, as well as get preferential treatment wherever he went).

The real story of his time in the Hanoi Hilton and what his fellow POWs really thought of him, his appalling treatment of his first wife Carol, crippled in a car accident when he was in Vietnam and no longer beautiful enough to keep him interested when he came home, his affair with and rapid marriage to Cindy the beer heiress before the ink was even dry on his divorce papers.

His use of family connections (and Cindy's money) to get himself into politics, his unfortunate membership of the Keating Five, and how, in politics, he started as he meant to go on...
McCain voted to confirm Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. In 1993, he was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for a group that sponsored an anti-gay-rights ballot initiative in Oregon. His anti-government fervor was renewed in the Gingrich revolution of 1994, when he called for abolishing the departments of Education and Energy. The following year, he championed a sweeping measure that would have imposed a blanket moratorium on any increase of government oversight.

...the creation of the "Straight Talk Express' following the Keating Five revelations and Cindy's embarrasing (and criminal) descent into Vicodin and Percocet addiction. The development of his natural inclination towards deregulation, which sowed the seeds of the current economic crisis on Wall Street:
Indeed, if the current financial crisis has a villain, it is Phil Gramm, who remains close to McCain. As chair of the Senate Banking Committee in the late 1990s, Gramm ushered in — with McCain's fervent support — a massive wave of deregulation for insurance companies and brokerage houses and banks, the aftershocks of which are just now being felt in Wall Street's catastrophic collapse. McCain, who has admitted that "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," relies on Gramm to guide him.

...McCain's legendary temper, including the "C-word" incident with Cindy in 1992:
At least three of McCain's GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief. Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has said that McCain's "temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him." Sen. Domenici of New Mexico has said he doesn't "want this guy anywhere near a trigger." And Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi weighed in that "the thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded."

...and how all these elements of McCain's life experiences, character and temperament come together to create a man who should be kept far, far away from the Presidency:
The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism.

"He's going to be Bush on steroids," says Johns, the retired brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the National War College. "His hawkish views now are very dangerous. He puts military at the top of foreign policy rather than diplomacy, just like George Bush does. He and other neoconservatives are dedicated to converting the world to democracy and free markets, and they want to do it through the barrel of a gun."

...his role in the lies that led to the Iraq war (and how he's since changed his tune on how difficult the war was going to be):
In September 2002, McCain assured Americans that the war would be "fairly easy" with an "overwhelming victory in a very short period of time." On the eve of the invasion, Hardball host Chris Matthews asked McCain, "Are you one of those who holds up an optimistic view of the postwar scene? Do you believe that the people of Iraq, or at least a large number of them, will treat us as liberators?"

McCain was emphatic: "Absolutely. Absolutely."

Today, however, McCain insists that he predicted a protracted struggle from the outset. "The American people were led to believe this could be some kind of day at the beach," he said in August 2006, "which many of us fully understood from the beginning would be a very, very difficult undertaking."

...and finally, the now legendary McCain 'flip-flps':
"They're drinking the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues," he said of his critics at the end of August. The following month, when challenged on The View, McCain again defied those who accuse him of flip-flopping. "What specific area have I quote 'changed'?" he demanded. "Nobody can name it."

In fact, his own statements show that he has been on both sides of a host of vital issues: the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax, waterboarding, hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, kicking Russia out of the G-8, a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the GI Bill, storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, teaching intelligent design, fully funding No Child Left Behind, offshore drilling, his own immigration policy and withdrawal timelines for Iraq.

Ouch! And POW!

Well worth reading. I hope it will reach some people who are still under the misconception that McCain would make a decent President. The evidence (in all directions) shows otherwise.
"I'm sure John McCain loves his country," says Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar under Bush. "But loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view."

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