Monday, April 7, 2008

10 things to know about McCain

I received an email today titled "10 things to know about McCain (but probably don't)." It originated from, a liberal/progressive organization that always goes Democrat. It lists ten things about McCain that it wishes to warn people of. But are these really such revelations?

No, not really. The list mentions standard Republican platforms and facts about McCain that were already well known. I'll go through them one by one. There's not a thing in here that's a surprise.

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.

Maybe McCain just didn't want another holiday. Of course you can say he 'opposes civil rights laws' but without saying what effect they have I tend to disbelieve. In fact, I can't really think of much legislation nowadays that would really be called 'Civil Rights.' Just because it pertains to blacks or black issues does not make it Civil Rights. Voting against King was probably a bad move for McCain's Presidentail run though.

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."
McCain is more hawkish. This is his official position. If you've never heard this before, then you're under-informed, not deceived.

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.
Because, like so many others, he would argue waterboarding isn't torture. This simply goes hand-in-hand with McCain's conception of large expansive executive powers and 'emergency measures.'

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."
This is part of his party's platform. He would not be on anyone's radar if he was a pro-choice Republican. Meanwhile, McCain places pro-life issues at a much lower priority than most other candidates did.

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.
I don't know what "for children" means here. Is banning pornography on the internet 'for children'? Is regulating down to the most ridiculous detail what can be served in school cafeterias? Is opposition of abortion? I guess health care is, but the bill mentioned here could simply have been a bad bill. We're supposed to assume that McCain's opposition makes the bill a good one, but what if he opposed it because it was single-payer instead of universal? Or vice versa?

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.
So what if he's rich. So is everyone else. Owning lots of homes makes him susceptible to the subprime mess, and having a big chunk of cash makes him less likely to need money from lobbyists. The Clintons are ridiculously rich, but no one tells them to drop out of politics because of it. I would be less hasty to hold someone's personal wealth against them unless they're batshit like Ross Perot.

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
Of course, the source is unnamed because he didn't want to seem unfaithful to his own party. But that makes me suspect whether it was said at all. This might be the only item on the whole list that would sway undecided voters, since all the others simply assume a liberal outlook. An undecided might want a calm and collected Commander, and this is the only item here that might sway them towards the Democrats.

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.
He's also been in politics longer than Clinton or Obama, and is the decided nominee. Lobbyists will coalesce around whichever Democrat wins too. No lobbyists go near Ron Paul because he scares them. Lobbyists aren't automatically evil either, nor are they automatically corrupt. There are lobbyists for liberal causes too, and I'm sure that a few of those have talked to McCain.

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."
McCain is, yet again, just reflecting his party makeup and platform. This isn't new or special, though it might concern Muslim Republicans, or gay Repulbicans, or any potential antichrists out there who've just lost their title. Besides, didn't we hear all about the separation between religious and political messages with regard to Rev. Wright? Again, McCain puts religious issues at a lower priority than other Republican candidates.

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.
Would MoveOn have preferred a lobbyist convince him? That would count for him in part 10 but against him in part 8.

The problem with this list of grievances is that it won't convince undecideds. This is a mistake for MoveOn, and for Democrats who publicize this list. It just assumes a liberal position on environment, health care, abortion, etc. Only part 7, which details McCain's most well-known character flaw, could sway an undecided. That said, there are myriad reasons to vote for McCain and myriad to vote against him. Neither party will win without convincing moderates to join it, and this series of problems will not do that. It may make Democrats angry, get them pumped up for a fight, but it won't do much more. The point of dissecting this email isn't to slam McCain, or to slam MoveOn but rather to muse upon a mass-mailing that's much less effective than it thinks it is.


Anonymous said...

I see that you are, perhaps, trying to be even-handed, but why do you so easily dismiss democratic "talking points" against McCain? Why not point out how wrong and hypocritical it is for him to take the party platform (on abortion rights for instance)when that is not, as I recall, what he's previously stated. He moves all over the place to attempt to satisfy so many... Mr Straight Talk Express, oh yeah?

a woman who believes she and her doctor should decide, not the government!

Anonymous said...

is he related to lucas mccain,the "rifleman"? it was a tv western which is almost as old as he is. it was in black and white which is how many republicans see the world.

I like tv as a metaphor