* A note to attendees of McCain-Palin rallies – After participating in these rallies that get your juices flowing with hateful responses to hateful and divisive remarks by the Republican standard bearers, go home and open your quarterly retirement plan statements. Perhaps even read a newspaper. If there is objective grey matter still functioning, consider how the U.S. reached this weakened state. Republicans blame everyone but themselves while their blame game and desire to maintain power has reached a vicious level. Seeing the crowd reaction at your political rallies one could conclude that the dumbing of America now mirrors the Dow Jones Average. And is it not ironic that your political party, that touts its affiliation with the religious-right, has no problem promoting ungodly hate, prejudice, ugliness and divisiveness? If there is a God of Hypocrisy you are on his wish list.
NY Times columnist Frank Rich offers a thoughtful analysis of the McCain campaign strategy and McCain and Palin’s refusal to condemn Republican rally attendees’ yells of “terrorist,” "treason,” “kill him,” and “off with his head” directed at Obama. Rich pointedly notes the anti-black sentiment the McCain campaign and Palin’s speeches are engendering. While thinking about my very negative opinion of such despicable tactics, as well as the ticket and policies of the 2008 GOP, I remembered emails I recently exchanged with a conservative friend who calls himself a Libertarian. He said that he is voting for McCain. My reply to him was, “I just don’t get it.” I am curious to learn if my friend is changing his mind. I would like to think that fair-minded Americans who were for McCain now have serious doubts.
* Choices - In many respects this presidential election is a wake up call for America. It is an election that offers very clear choices. John McCain offers a continuation of the Bush strategy of blind military power and a deregulation philosophy that favors the haves and disregards the needy and disadvantaged. Barack Obama offers a foreign policy approach that includes negotiation supported by a strong military. Obama offers a healthcare plan that enables all citizens to have access to medical care. McCain would give further tax breaks to the wealthy and the mega corporations while Obama offers tax decreases to individuals earning less than $150,000, including small businesses. Obama’s campaign appeals to the broad spectrum of Americans while McCain’s campaign raises fears of difference. Consenting Adult has a video of Donna Brazile, Democratic activist and Al Gore’s campaign manager for his presidential run in 2000. She speaks about growing up in a segregated South, sitting in the back of busses. Brazile notes that America has come a long way since those days. She emphatically states that she is not going back. Let us hope that America makes the same choice.
* A “friend” of veterans they don’t need – When John McCain utters his often-used expression “my friends” he would have you believe that the expression includes veterans. He is fond of saying, “I know them. I know them well.” Then why does McCain get consistently low ratings from veterans groups? At VetVoice.com I counted over 25 examples of Senator McCain not supporting those who have served in the military. McCain’s abandonment of his fellow veterans is outlined in the article: McCain's Miserable Record of Not Supporting America's Troops and Veterans. One can imagine Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men addressing McCain supporters and bellowing, “You can’t handle the truth.” Too often history has demonstrated that fear mongering and hate overshadow truth and facts. The McCain campaign is trusting that history repeats itself.
Another take on McCain with respect to veterans was offered by Paul Rieckoff, founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a non-partisan group, and author of the acclaimed book Chasing Ghosts – Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier’s Perspective. Appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show Rieckoff discussed his organization’s analysis of McCain’s 2008 voting record on veterans’ legislation. McCain earned a D from IAVA. A synopsis of the legislation and a rating of all senators and representatives is available at this link. Senators Obama and Biden earned a B. My friends, Senator McCain is not a friend of veterans.
* Another non-friend of veterans – Sunday October 12, 2008 marked the 100 days left in the Bush Administration.
* Handling the truth – An aspect of the Republican smear campaign on Barack Obama is their accusation that three former executives of disgraced Fannie Mae are economic advisors to Obama. FactCheck.org investigated this claim and shows it to be a fabrication. It is interesting that the lie comes from the political campaign that currently employs over 150 former lobbyists, many of whom lobbied on behalf of the financial industry for less regulation. As I have noted before, McCain’s chief economic advisor Phil Gramm legislated as a senator and subsequently lobbied on behalf of financial institutions for less regulation. McCain’s current mantra is for the voter to take a closer look at the real Obama, a test McCain cannot stand up to.
* Media myopia – ThinkProgress.Org noted that some in the media have excused McCain for his campaign’s virulent political tactics against Obama. The article notes that Ben Pershing and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and Bob Schieffer of CBS have made excuses for McCain, implying that he is in a bubble - his campaign is responsible for the effluence. Since McCain has been repeating most of the crap appearing in his ads, the ads that end with “I’m John McCain and I approve this message,” I find it difficult to believe the Arizona Senator is operating in a bubble. McCain owns this strategy. One of the criticisms of George W. Bush has been that he functions in a bubble. Perhaps these media types have not noticed that this country does not need consecutive bubble heads or a president that is dangerously divisive or a president that does not know what is going on. Been there, done that.
* Broken Brokaw ~ indifference, incapacity or agenda-based punditry? – On Sunday’s Meet the Press Tom Brokaw was interviewing a Republican talking head (RTH) whose name I did not get. He asked about McCain’s negative ads. The RTH responded that Senator Obama has run more negative ads than any other campaign in history, much more that Senator McCain. As ludicrous a remark as this was, Brokaw proceeded to mosey on to his next question. There was no follow up as to the veracity of Mr. RTH’s claim. Is Mr. Brokaw incapable of functioning outside of a script or does he have an undisclosed agenda? Neither alternative serves the public’s interest.
* Cockeyed optimism meets cockeyed spin – On Thursday night the McCain campaign released a statement saying that the investigative report concerning Sarah Palin in the Troopergate scandal exonerates her. This was before the report was released. On Friday, when the report was actually released, we learn that Palin “unlawfully abused her authority.” During the Biden-Palin debate we were given the impression that a poster of authority-abuse rock star Dick Cheney hangs in Governor Palin’s bedroom - bless her heart. The fact that the Governor of Alaska abused her power and lied about it was not exactly shocking. After a review of the report Time magazine concludes: “Is the Palin administration shockingly amateurish? Yes, it is. Disturbingly so.” The report also reveals that when you elect Sarah Palin you also get an active husband Todd – a recent member of the Alaska Independence Party that wants the state to secede from the U.S. Yes, this election offers Americans a clear choice. It is a choice of moving forward or backward.
* Each vote that we cast is more than the selection of a candidate. It is a profound statement about who we are.