Friday, February 22, 2008

Mavericky Straight Talk from St. McCain

John McCain is in some ways worse than Benito Giuliani. At least Giuliani never pretended to be anything other than a self-aggrandizing authoritarian nutcase.

But St. McCain advertises himself as a Man Of Principle. A Right-Doer. Captain of the Straight Talk Express. As usual with these types, it's all bullshit. Thankfully the electorate is rapidly being informed of this fact prior to his installation in the oval office as Warmaker in Chief.

After spending years as an anti-torture activist, McCain, upon becoming a contender for the Republican nomination for President, suddenly discovered that the Republican base strongly favors torture. In fact, their support of torture is well-nigh prurient in nature. In response, McCain -- the Man of Principle -- votes against a congressional ban on torture, then urges the current occupant of the White House to veto the measure. All while saying he remains steadfastly against torture. My friends, that is some of the Straightest Talk you're likely to hear, ever.

So then, following this morning's NYT takedown of McCain, which details a rather cozy relationship with a lobbyist, McCain today canceled a previously scheduled press event: "Sen. John McCain toured Ford's Wayne Stamping and Assembly Plant on Thursday, but canceled a press conference in which he was sure to face more questions about his ties to a Washington lobbyist." John McCain, the Straightest Talking Avoider of Tough Questions you're likely to find.

Not all all surprising. But what gets me is that the media, including many of the liberal bloggers I've read today -- and indeed the NYT itself in the article in question -- frames the trophy-lobbyist/mistress issue as one of "optics" or the "appearance of impropriety". Because, you know, having an affair with a lobbyist who represents clients that happen to have mission-critical issues pending before your Senate committee just appears so slimy. Nothing really wrong with it, of course, but it just looks bad to us morons out here in flyover country. It makes it seem as if something untoward were happening.

I will issue one caveat. The NYT appeared to pull some punches in their story. There had apparently been a lot of lawyering going on for at least 2 solid months prior to the story being greenlit. It was clear to me from reading between the lines that the reporters had much more information that they could not document sufficiently to stave off Bill Bennett and his gang of high-powered Washington attack-monkeys. So the NYT editors spiked a lot of the meat out of th story. But for our purposes here, it pretty much amounts to the reporters not quite having the goods, which means that one of the following could be true: (1) the NYT's sources (at least two highly placed people inside McCain's 2000 campaign) were mistaken, (2) the sources (independently) made the whole thing up, or (3) the NYT made the whole thing up because they're so Librul that they just can't stand to see McCain succeed.

Of these, #3 is obviously a fantasy and #2 is improbable. But #1 is at least plausible. Which means McCain should probably get the benefit of the doubt. For now.

But in any event, let me be perfectly clear: IF indeed St. John McCain had an intimate relationship with a lobbyist representing clients with crucial pending matters under the purview of McCain's Senate Committee, this circumstance represents IMPROPER and UNETHICAL behavior of the highest order. Its "appearance", the "optics" involved, are utterly irrelevant. Yes, it looks bad. Know why? Because IT IS BAD. Very very bad.

There is no meaningful distinction here between a judge having an affair with a lawyer litigating a case before the judge's court. Which would be grounds for immediate removal from the bench, followed quickly by disbarment.

John McCain is a phony. A complete fraud. And if the underlying accusations in this latest news turn out to be true -- which remains to be seen -- he would appear to be a complete disgrace to his office and to the American people.


Anonymous said...

John McCain reminds me of the sleeper from the Manchurian Candidate.

Too bad the republican choice is between a guy who doesn't believe in evolution and the king of campaign finance reform and pork barrel reduction, who still signs checks for the war.

Dems are even sorrier.
No real plan or policy, just a lot of hand motions and body language consultants. The real choice for democrats is, "which minority do you want to see in the office first?"

HHL said...

agree on the Manchurian Candidate comparison. heh.

but i don't think i agree that the two democrats are sorrier. certainly i am no fan of hillary, and i tend to think -- until proven otherwise -- that her policies as president would be only slightly better than bushco as relates to authoritarianism, with more nanny-state b.s. thrown into the mix.

obama on the other hand -- as i mentioned in a comment to one of the posts below -- has the potential to be someone who would at least make inroads against our government's shameless and idiotic oppression of petty "drug criminals", whose only "crimes" amount to getting high so as to block out from their minds the (correct) impression that they are, due at least partly to circumstances beyond their control, far more poor and disenfranchised than the great bulk of other Americans.

i hate to get on a soapbox about this (especially as it is off-topic), but the drug war is one of the most immoral policies ever perpetrated by a civilized society. here's a good post I saw on this subject last night.

Denney Crane said...

I am probably what you would consider a neocon or libertarian, so do know that I am very conservative.

I don't know that I have ever heard straight talk from a presidential candidate.

That being said, I believe if Obama were President, his term would last no more than 4 years and the Dems would lose control of Congress in 2 years. If the country survives that era, the Republicans would have no choice but to get a true conservative to run for the office. McCain is the same wolf in sheep's clothing as Hilary and O'Bama...the difference being McCain's inference that he is a conservative, which he is not.

We might as well implode now or forever show our arse...

I have enough food, water and ammunition for a year...good luck!

Anonymous said...

I do think that Obama might be the so called lesser of two elvises.

The thing I like most about him is that his net worth is somewhere between $400,000 - $1.1 million, and most of that is pretty recent. So, he isn't as tied in to the power structure as others, one would think.

Might be nice to have a leader who actually notices the salary they'll get paid.

but, this might make him corruptable. who knows...

about 50/50 probably.

HHL said...

good points. thanks for the comments.

Obama doesn't seem all that greedy to me, though you never can tell. Also, for a president, the rewards you get post-office, as far as lecture fees, etc, would tend to argue that you'd be likely to keep your nose clean and wait to rake in the dough once you come out the other side.

But my thought is not so much financial corruption, but rather the corruption of power. Lots of people might get into public service with idealistic thoughts of helping people, making things better, etc (and even genuinely want to limit the power of government over citizens), but once they attain high office and get a real taste of power, everything changes. Maybe Obama is different, but I'm not holding my breath.

And Denney, I'm well-stocked up too!