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Selling your soul to be President

September 25, 2008

This is a difficult post to write. I want so much to be just “pro” something instead of against something else, but I can’t help myself. I now see the dilemma that Barack Obama must face on a daily basis – wanting to talk about that which we have in common and to unify – but also a fervid belief to set the record straight and make sure that the truth is revealed. You see, I’ve actually been paying attention to what’s going on and I have to speak out. It’s my duty as an American Patriot.

You may not know that I went to school in Arizona at Arizona State University in Tempe. I worked as an RA (Resident Assistant) at one of the residence halls. I had a fellow RA named Sharon Vosmek who was a great woman and ardent and vocal feminist. I was shocked to learn that she was actually working for a Republican by the name of John McCain. She told me that although he was a Republican, he was independent minded – and for one thing fully supported a woman’s right to choose. That always stuck with me and I considered John McCain a moderate Republican that I might be able to support someday. He also co-authored one of the only attempts to bring reform to finance in the McCain-Feingold bill – probably his biggest achievement in the Senate.

I almost felt sorry for him when I learned about the Karl Rove style dirty tricks played on him by George Bush and company when they were competing for the Presidency back in 2000. You see, the evil campaign of GWB – who understood what it took to win an election after studying the playbook of such dark hearted evil doers like Richard Nixon has just gotten whipped in New Hampshire by McCain so “somebody” sponsored what’s called a push-poll. It went something like this … “Ring, ring, ring. Hello – yes I’m calling to ask you a simple question about your views on John McCain. Would it change your opinion of him if you knew that he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”  Seriously, I’m not making this up. Look it up. In fact there was a reference to this in the recent Saturday night live skit I’ll try to embed in this post. Too busy to look it up? Here you go.

He lost South Carolina, and the nomination and I’m sure that stung John McCain, and that’s probably the biggest lesson he learned about “hardball” politics in his 2000 run. Even though he probably felt completely undermined, sabotaged, and alienated by the people in his own government (or was that Vietnam?) – to his credit he sucked it up and went on with life. But now it’s his turn at the table, and time for revenge.

Just take a look at the recent activities of the McCain/Palin campaign and the flip flops, and flat out lies they are spawning on a daily basis. It’s a page right out of the GWB playbook. If you are going to lie, look straight into the camera and mean it. Then repeat it over and over again until you can actually convince yourself that you are not a liar, then you’ll really own it. Just keep reading from the teleprompter Mr. McCain.

Here are some facts as I see them:

1. McCain clearly laid out that he’s no expert on the Economy on more than one occasion before the wheels fell off last week. With a miserable economy, he wanted to keep the attention focused on his biggest strength – being a war hero. In fact, last Monday he said in a rally that “The fundamentals of the economy are strong” which was repeating a line that he had used several times over the previous month and sixteen times since the beginning of the year. It seems that JM is from the same psychological school as our president – as long as you don’t admit there is any trouble, then there won’t be. Hey, I’m all for optimism and hope – but you also have to be in touch with reality. After this comment on Monday morning his handlers rushed him out to explain later – what he meant by the fundamentals was, er, that the american worker and small business is what he meant by the fundamentals. What? Surely he couldn’t have been talking about jobs lost, foreclosures, home values, unemployment, deficit, trade imbalance, value of the dollar or any of the other “fundamentals” one who understands what the economy actually is might measure. Then, just several hours later at another rally he said that the “Economy was in crisis.” Wow, in two hours the economy had flip flopped from strong to crisis. Apparently somebody had an iPhone on them and noticed that the Dow has just sank over 500 points and Lehman Brothers had declared bankruptcy on one of the worst days of economic news in history.

Here’s a video from June 9th – well before the wheels fell off last week:

2. The “No talk Express.” John McCain used to be known to “romance the press” and spend hours chatting them up and taking questions until no one could think of anything else to ask. He was a straight shooter that didn’t need anyone to “handle” him and keep him separated from the press who might ask tough questions.  He was a tough guy and he could handle them.

Then something happened – he really, really, really wanted to be president and would do anything, change anything to make that happen. I’m guessing that it was probably a question presented by one of the 7 lobbyists that head up his campaign “John, do you want to answer questions, or do you want to be the President of the United States?” So on August 13 he quit taking questions. Yes, that’s right – according to NPR report I heard this morning – for the past 6 weeks he has not talked to the actual press people riding along in the same bus with him covering his campaign. Is it the questions about the economy he’s ducking? Is it the questions about Palin? Shockingly, he ended his speech yesterday with “Are there any questions” and took some for 7 minutes. Then he was done.

3. Speaking of avoiding the press, I’m not sure where to start on Governon Palin. I highly recommend that you take a look at the excellent blog of Mudflats who’s an Alaskan living in Anchorage and who’s been reporting on the amazing events in Alaska since the big pick was made. The story is truly incredible. Personally I think the press let up on the JM campaign regarding the questions of due diligence. Within hours after the announcement the discovery that her teenage daughter was pregnant, that there was an open investigation into the firing of a trooper now known as Troopergate, that she had tried to ban books, etc. came to light. Did JM know these things and pick her anyway (judgment) or did they not actually do in any due diligence on a person that would be one heart beat away from the Presidency with the oldest man ever to take the office (judgment).  Only after the news broke – THEN a team from the JM campaign flew to Alaska to find out what they had really gotten themselves into. NOW they are filing as many lawsuits as possible to try and delay the findings of Troopergate that are due October 10th. Alaskans who are fiercly independent and mostly republican are seemingly ALL tired of the charades. There is a TRUTH rally scheduled for this Saturday that will likely be huge (by Alaskan standards).

From what I can tell, Sarah had zoomed to popularity as a “reformer” in Alaska and a fighter against corruption (apparently not a very high bar in Alaska – just google Ted Stevens) and campaigned on transparency in government. As noted in her speech, she even put the state checkbook online – an idea that I really like actually. She also said “Hold me accountable” to her constituents. I don’t have the time to explain the whole story here – please read mudflats to understand how she welcomed an investigation (by three people that she appointed), and then after the national spotlight was suddenly thrust onto her decided (likely by the goon squad running the McCain campaign) that she would not urge the investigation to go forward. That’s when the Republican led legislature’s committee voted unanimously to mount their own investigation. Lawyers for the McCain camp have moved into Alaska and have done everything in their power to disrupt, delay, and stonewall the very candidate that said “Hold me accountable” and stood for “transparent government.” McCain’s lawyers are calling the investigation “tainted” by Democrats, and (laughably) claiming “political” bias (hmm, isn’t that why they are there in Alaska?) after the Republican dominated committee UNANIMOUSLY appointed the most respected prosecutor in the state – who also happened to be a Democrat. Now Sarah and all of her appointees and husband are refusing to comply with a subpoena asking them to testify. Wow, how the appeal of power can change people overnight. Apparently the last news on this is that Sarah, after second (or is it third?) thought, and after the Alaskans wouldn’t budge, would like to proceed with the first investigation, but only if it’s still lead by the three people that she appointed.

4. As Sarah stepped up the microphone to introduce herself to the world during the Republican Convention – she flat out lied. Yep, in her very first speech – and on a subject that is easily researched – the topic of earmarks and particularly the “Bridge to Nowhere.’ Read Mudflats from the beginning to find out about the details about this incredible bold faced lie. Sarah had been very effective in bringing earmarks to Alaska – go to YouTube and search for “Palin Earmarks” to see video of her talking about it. In fact, Alaska was NUMBER 1 in the entire US per capita in gathering earmarks. You can read all about it here in the Seattle Times. It’s not the earmarks that are the problem – that’s an institutional problem that needs to be dealt with. Most politicians are “graded” by their constituents on how much pork they can bring home. But that’s not the issue here – it’s the breach of trust, the out and out lie, that is the issue. Normally it would take a Politician a little while to work up to such a red-faced lie – but I guess that is the lure of power that corrupts what are mostly honorable people into liars. Since Sarah has been kept from the press like Uranium from Iran we haven’t gotten any direct questions answered on this. I can’t believe this is even happening – do they think that they can just keep her in a cage until after the election is over and that it somehow won’t matter after that. Is this the “Reform” (laugh) that they are touting to bring to Washington? God, it makes me want to scream – I guess that is what I am doing here. By the way, I wonder if the Governor’s popularity zoomed because while begging for federal handouts, her state had a surplus economy – so much that she ordered checks be cut to the tune of about $1200 per person. I’d say that was buying votes but that would  be cynical of me.

Wow, while I was writing this post, I just saw that the press was kicked out of the room when Palin was talking to the world leaders they have apparently lined up at the UN conference so she can say “when I met with ….” It’s all over the news right now – check CNN for details.

5. Drill, Drill, Drill. This one was a shocker of a flip-flop among the many. If you know anything about our total oil reserves (about 3% of the world’s), that we maxed out our oil production in the 60’s, how long it takes to bring on new rigs, and the absolute fallacy that expanding drilling is really the way out of our dependence on oil, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. (By the way, you realize that oil is a COMMODITY right? And there is a world market for oil? And that we don’t drill for oil – just for US consumption, but for the entire world market, right?) Yet, that is exactly what John McCain did – he sidled up with the oil companies, friends of GWB, to keep those campaign contributions coming. To see his drooling mug chuckling at the crowds that chant Drill, Drill, Drill is like fingernails on a chalkboard to any environmentalist, or even an economist who has bothered to educated himself on the topic, or to someone that is concerned about our long term safety as a country. John McCain knew the right answer, but he bowed to his parties desires – AFTER he already won the nomination. Didn’t he believe that his oil friends would still vote for him instead of Obama if he stood by his word and stuck to his guns? But he didn’t, he folded like a tent. If you could get him to be honest, like at the very end of the final video of this post, he’d probably say “it was for all the wrong reasons: ambition.” To be fair, Barack didn’t do much better when he learned of the polling numbers, but though his knees buckled, he caught himself and stood upright again and said that is not the solution, despite it’s popularity.

6.  Regulation. You don’t have to do much research to understand that John McCain is “fundamentally a de-regulator” as is the Bush administration and most Republicans. You see, when you control most of the wealth and are writing the rules of the game, you don’t want any pesky regulators around policing what you can and cannot do, you want “freedom” to tilt the field in your favor even more – and take it to the bank. This is why the Bush administration deregulated the oil industry which has led to 30-70% (depending on whom you ask) of our gas prices. It used to be that the only people who could speculate on the spot price of oil were those inside the industry, but the Bush administration abolished those rules so now anyone, including huge hedge firms (that are also not regulated) could push billions of dollars at oil futures and drive prices up and down on their whim. Think about it, has the supply and demand really changed that much in the past two years to take oil from $14 a barrell to $140? Don’t believe me, do your own homework and start reading.

Now in a huge reversal where John McCain has literally reached in and grabbed his own soul and sucked it out – is all for “throwing out the greedy Wall Street” bastards, and all of Washington – even though it’s he and his party who have allowed this to happen. Comically, he had the gall to blame this on Obama when he said “it’s time that Obama take responsbility…” Check it out below on the video.

7. I’m tiring now, but I just can’t help point out this one last thing? When did the Republican Party become socialists? I thought “let the market decide” and “deregulation” were their calling cards? Is it because they have stolen so much money from the kitty, that without throwing this huge 700 Billion dollar shackle on the American public that the economy is sure to have an absolute meltdown and they have the most to lose? My friends on the right might say – well, do you want the economy to just completely fall apart? It’s the same argument they use for Iraq. Ok, sure we were caught LYING to the American public but do you want to bail out now? Are your for losing the war? The end doesn’t justify the means, and it’s time to pay the piper. I’m more of a free market economist than most Repbulicans apparently because I think a bailout, without some serious consequences for those who made this happen, and regulation to make sure it doesn’t happen again is criminal. And I have a substantial amount of money invested in the stock market.

Also, when did the Republicans abandon all notion of fiscal conservatism? I now consider them the party of “Borrow and Spend” as in a single presidency they have gone from a budget surplus to the largest deficit in American history. Huge amounts of this country have been sold off to Chinese investors including our largest and most venerable institutions. And we are pumping 10Billion dollar a month into Iraq who has a budge surplus – all while Bin Laden still roams free. How is this ship going to right itself? Let me just suggest that it’s not going to be with a feeble old man who’s best days are long gone and who has lost his compass of what’s right and wrong – all in an unholy grasp for power that he’s dreamed about for a long time. JM, I thank you for your service to our country and all that you sacrificed but I’m here to tell you that your services are no longer required. It’s time for a change – BIG TIME, in BIG WAYS, and that is not what you are about, unless it’s on a position you once held.

Watch the very end of this video for an actual honest assesment McCain has on himself about “ambition” and why he lied about something he knew wasn’t true. It could be the last glimpse of “straight talk” we’ll ever get.

Ken Mahar

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    September 25, 2008 8:41 pm

    Very compelling Ken, and great reminders…made my guts churn. Thanks for the reinforcement. Though there is one contextual issue with the 100 years in Iraq comment….moot point overall though. Thanks again,
    -Dave

  2. Janet permalink
    September 26, 2008 8:58 am

    Personal view from Great Britain-
    There is a lot of information here for an observer across the pond as obviously the wheeling and dealing of American politicians probably mirrors what we get here on a smaller scale. I feel that it was ever thus in terms of certain unsavoury behaviours from politicians. Human nature and the struggle for power usually corrupts, it happens here too however being a much smaller country and having centralised government means that things appear to be slightly more transparent – there have been a recent spate of resignations in the UK regarding leadership, and due to the limited number of fairly powerful national papers public opinion can be a very powerful force.

    There were however a couple of other comments I wanted to make –

    In terms of the ‘credit crunch’ from our point of view apart from world trends, irresponsible behaviour from financial institutions and individuals appears to be one of the main drivers behind this, which the public purse is being asked to subsidise with very little accountability on the part of those financial institutions. I don’t know if you heard but after the collapse of Lehman’s, HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) was forced to it’s knees, it would appear, by rumour and irresponsible mass trading of shares at crashed price levels. There is a massive outcry regarding this to as Scotland will lose its longest running, most highly respected financial institution. Government is not holding those responsible accountable but has reassured the public here that they will not allow a financial institution such as a high street bank to fold. Again at what cost? We have already bailed out one – Northern Rock – at the expense of our taxes, again who next?

    Finally there is one point which may be a little controversial…. that is the comments regarding Osama Bin Laden and Iraq. I know it is slightly off the point Ken was trying to make however I think what lies at the root of the issue is that we are unwilling to really ask ourselves, and find a solutions to, certain points regarding Iraq and Osama Bin Laden. One question I think it is pertinent to ask is what compels these attacks from terrorist organisations/individuals? I think there has to be a certain amount of soul searching on behalf of the west – particularly America and following on Britain-relating to Israel – the need for the Jewish vote – and the suppression of Arab identity within Israel which has repercussions throughout the islamic world. I know this is an uncomfortable topic but I believe that sometimes we are happy to accept that what we do is right without looking any deeper for understanding because it is easier and more comfortable for us.
    Also there is the question of culture and expectations, who are we to say that our version of democracy should be implemented by force on another country with differing ideals and standards. We assume we do everything best and ours is the best way. Do we really? I am not so sure democracy suits everyone and I am not at all sure that we are the people to make decisions for others on opposite sides of the globe especially as there appears to be one rule for one country and one for another. Could it be that we are not acting for the greater good but for economic and control reasons? More likely I feel………
    Which brings me back to the behaviours described by Ken…..
    Anyway that is me finished for now. Cheerio for now.

  3. June 19, 2009 9:32 am

    Ken,
    Loved the post – except for two extremely minor facts:
    1) I did not work for John McCain – I worked for Dennis DeConcini (the Democrat in Arizona, who was not pro choice);
    2) I don’t really consider myself a feminist – I actually am just a really strong woman who likes being strong. But I respect and value what feminists before me have done, so I guess I don’t need to distance myself from them quite as I feel the need to do in point 1 above.

    Cheers from London,
    Sharon Vosmek

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