June 25, 2008

The Real McCain: Part II

Something tells me there will be a number of “The Real McCain” type posts (and articles) as John McCain’s true personality and political stand on a myriad of issues come to light. McCain is hardly the “maverick” darling that his supporters would claim he is, he’s voted with the Bush administration on an overwhelming majority of issues, and has shown himself to be an anti-choice, anti-family, anti-poor, anti-civil rights, anti-constitution conservative again and again.

None of that in and of itself is terribly surprising, but what is coming to light and is surprising is exactly how venomous he is about it:

But there is another, very different side to John McCain. Away from the headlines and the stirring speeches, a less familiar figure lurks. It is a McCain who plans to fight on in Iraq for years to come and who might launch military action against Iran. This is the McCain whose campaign and career has been riddled with lobbyists and special interests. It is a McCain who has sided with religious and political extremists who believe Islam is evil and gays are immoral. It is a McCain who wants to appoint extreme conservatives to the Supreme Court and see abortion banned. This McCain has a notoriously volatile temper that has scared some senior members of his own party.

Yeah, that’s frightening. Should this man become the leader of the free world, freedom-loving people around the world would have a serious problem on their hands: a religiously motivated, aggressive warhawk with anger issues at the helm of the United States and all of its military, economic, and political power. Haven’t we been down this road for the past 8 years?

McCain believes in projecting American military power abroad. So it is no wonder that the neoconservatives who pushed for war in Iraq have now regrouped around him. McCain’s main foreign policy adviser is Randy Scheunemann, who was executive director of the shadowy Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Other leading neocons on board include John Bolton, America’s belligerent former UN ambassador, Bill Kristol, editor of the Neocon bible the Weekly Standard, and Max Boot, who has pushed for a US version of the old British Colonial Office. Another close McCain adviser is former CIA director James Woolsey, who has openly advocated bombing Syria.

Such a group of warlike counsellors has raised fears that McCain may strike Iran to stop its suspected quest for a nuclear weapon, triggering a fresh war in the Middle East. The Republican candidate has openly joked about bombing Tehran.

That list of backers as potential cabinet members and policy leaders in a McCain administration is far more frightening than the cadre of hawks that President Bush trusted to get him through the war. Then again, these folks get you into quagmires, they don’t specialize in getting you out.

It doesn’t stop there though. Paul Harris dissects the war hero image that McCain glady thrusts upon himself, and picks apart McCain’s “pastor problem:”

Just look at McCain’s ‘pastor problems’. He has enthusiastically sought the political blessing of some of the most conservative religious figures in the country. McCain gave the 2006 commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University, a college that has taught creationism alongside science. McCain also courted and won the endorsement of Texan preacher John Hagee, despite Hagee blaming Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’s liberal attitude towards gays. Hagee believes the disaster was God’s judgement on the sinful city. Another McCain-backer, Ohio preacher Rod Parsley, has spouted hate about Muslims. Parsley, whom McCain called a ‘spiritual guide’, believes America was founded partly in order to destroy Islam. He has called Mohammed a ‘mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil’ and has supported prosecuting people who commit adultery. Though McCain later repudiated the endorsements of Parsley and Hagee, he did so only after bad headlines threatened his moderate image. Most of Hagee’s and Parsley’s views were widely known from public speeches or books. It was not their bigotry that caught the campaign out, it was the reporting of it. ‘McCain has had links with these religious figures who are just way, way out of the mainstream,’ says Cliff Schecter.

There are other nasties, too. McCain is friends with G Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars. Liddy, who once plotted to kill a left-wing journalist, has hosted a fundraiser with McCain in his own home. McCain also endorsed and campaigned for Alabama politician George Wallace Jr in 2005, despite Wallace’s links to racist groups. Wallace has praised and spoken at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white-power group that opposes inter-racial marriage and promotes white racial purity. If a moderate voter were seeking to judge a politician by the company he keeps, then McCain keeps some very odd company indeed.

But it is not really that strange. McCain himself holds deeply conservative views, including proposing teaching the creationist idea of Intelligent Design in schools alongside evolution. McCain has also always been anti-abortion. He believes the landmark Roe vs Wade ruling that legalised abortion was a bad decision. McCain has vowed to continue the Bush policy of appointing extreme conservatives to the Supreme Court and many fear a McCain presidency will see Roe vs Wade overturned. ‘McCain is neither moderate nor a maverick when it comes to a woman’s right to choose. He’s just plain wrong,’ said Nancy Keenan, president of abortion rights group NARAL.

So we see who John McCain’s real friends are – racists, homophobes, fundamental Christians – with all of this data in hand, it’s actually somewhat surprising that even elements of McCain’s own base consider him too left-leaning for their votes.

And then there’s his feint to the left on environmental matters while maintaining a message to his base that he doesn’t really mean it:

On the environment, too, McCain is not the green warrior some might think. He has voted against tightening fuel efficiency standards for American cars. The League of Conservation Voters gives McCain an environmental rating of 24 per cent; Obama gets 86 per cent. ‘His rhetoric does not match his voting record on this issue,’ says David Sandretti, a director of the League. ‘McCain is better than Bush, but that’s not much of a yardstick, because the current president is abysmal.’

That sounds about right. If the American people are looking to go back to the old-school classic politics of leaders who say one thing to get your votes and then do something completely different and more in line with the people who fill their coffers and make sure their agendas are taken care of, then I think John McCain will be a perfect fit; but unfortunately, those of us looking forward to a brighter tomorrow can see McCain for what he is.

[ The Real McCain ]
Source: The Observer / Guardian UK (courtesy of Truthout)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI
You can also bookmark this on del.icio.us or check the cosmos

Leave a comment

XHTML ( You can use these tags): <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .