Tag Archives: John McCain

Schwartzenegger panders to common sense – huh?

Those of you living outside of California (or Kaleeefahneeah) who may not be used to seeing Arnold speak at length about political issues may be surprised to learn something about this former juicer and Hummer enthusiast: he actually gets it.  The Governator is coming out of this presidential election looking better than just about any of his fellow Republicans.

Not only did Arnold conveniently skip the Governor’s Association Conference last week in Florida (he had some real fires to put out) in which solutions were in short supply and grandstanding (see Palin, Sarah) and “message” mumbo jumbo were in full bloom, he made his way to “This Week with George Stephanopolous” and admitted what for Republicans has been the toughest thing to admit in the Bush years: you can’t be a competent party that meets the needs of its people if you keep sticking to the same failed ideology, an ideology that is essentially bankrupt.

Why did it take this long for a national figure in the Republican party to say that building roads, good schools, keeping people in their homes, and saving the environment aren’t “Democratic or Republican” issues but issues that transcend political labels?  Arnold goes on to say that his “core values” are those of the Republican party of Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt — when Republicans weren’t afraid to spend money on programs that invested in the future — and are not the “nonsense” core values of his current party. This is such a stark contrast with the Palin rhetoric that relies on embracing “pro-America values” and prayers to a Christian God to govern at the highest level.  At one point in the interview, George S. tells Schwartzenegger that he’s sounding a lot like Obama.  This particular Republican didn’t disagree. 

Palin supporters may be dissapointed to hear one of the most popular stars of their party (and the most famous — prior to the convention) espouse essentially the same non-ideological rhetoric as the terrorist loving, America hating, Marxist President Elect.  Maybe they’ll want to send Arnold back to Austria when President Palin passes her comprehensive immigration bill after 2012.  But it must be music to the ears of many Republicans who have had to suffer through this past election as their man John McCain turned his back on his own values to embrace the Rovian politics of the Dark Side and crackpot ideology of the far Right.  Better late than never I guess.

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Bush and Obama at White House: private conversation caught on tape!

November 10, 2008: Conversation between President George W. Bush and Barack Obama caught on audio tape by press pool sound man at historic White House meeting …

Guess whose coming and staying?

Guess whose coming and staying?

 

 

O: Thanks for having me come to the White House and talk to you today about the transition …

W: Whoa! Hold on Big O, who said anything about transitionin’? Didn’t you get the memo: my buddy Mayor Mike Bloomberg got me a third term – ha!  Just fuckin’ with you. Heh, heh.

O: Mr. President …

W: ‘member last time you were here I gave you some advice?  I think you wrote about it in your book “The Opacity of Hope.” .  Laura may have read it.  Not much of a reader myself, heh, heh.  Anyway, after 8 years of fixin’ this country I’m here to give you some more advice …

O: I appreciate that but we should really be talking about how we’re going to help the American people with the economy, the war …

W: We’ll get to that.  Now, first let me let you in on a somethin’.  You know all these critics been sayin’ I invaded Iraq because of Cheney and his Neo-con boys or because of some Edible complex or whatever.  That wasn’t it at all. You know why I did it?  Mommie.  That’s right, the old gal said “Georgie, you go and take that effin’ Saddam out.” It was that or she would do to me what Jesse Jackson said he was gonnna do to you!  No kidding, you do not mess with that part of Texas! What the hell else could I do?  She practically tore another one for ol’ Brent Scowcroft for trying to talk me out of it. Only gal that scares me more is that Sarah Palin.  She’s a piece of work. Ol’ Johnny Mac’s prostate must’ve grown twice its size after he picked her.

O: Interesting but …

W: And, listen you could appreciate this … you know before Condi got the Secretary job me and her got a lot of alone time together up there in Camp David, if you know what I mean. What’s that expression, “once you got your black you never go back?”  Well, I’ll tell ya, for me it was “once you go brown you can put that sh*t down!”

O: Look sir, I don’t think that’s appropriate …

W: You know, Colin didn’t like that joke either.  What’s wrong with you guys?  You two need to lighten up a little – oops – no pun intended.

O: Can we get back to the agenda?

W: Look now, I’m not only the Decider I’m the Advicer.  I’m givin’ you some good stuff here. 

O: I appreciate your wisdom sir …

W: You’re going to like it here in D.C.  It’s not like Chicago with all that crime, unemployment and stuff.

O: Sir, I hate to correct you but this city has some serious economic problems and as President ….

W: Well I haven’t seen any.  Not from where I’m sittin’. Hey, did you meet my hot little Press Secretary Dana Perino?  She is whip smart and not too hard to look at.  You know since I hired her the press has really gotten off of my case.  You should see that John King from CNN checkin her out – he’s practically speechless around her. I think Bill O’Reilly gets out the loofa every time she’s on C-Span. I heard Rachel Maddow —

O: So is that your advice, Mr. President, on the war and the economy?  Don’t take foreign policy advice from a bitter old hag, don’t sleep with my National Security Advisor, when I’m in D.C. don’t venture outside of Georgetown, and make sure to hire a hot Press Secretary that will turn on the cable guys.  Is that it?

W: Can you do just one more thing for me: I know you’re gonna raise taxes on my friends makin’ more than $250K.  Can you lower the tax rate when it hits, say, $10 million?  I got some things I’m workin’ on with my Saudi brothers for when I got out of this place.

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Post Election Exclusive! McCain and Lindsey Graham late night phone call

Lindsey, are you there?

"Lindsey, are you there? I got a new ePhone."

According Newsweek’s just published special “How He Did It, 2008” disclosures re: the campaign  

On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain’s core group of advisers—Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmons—met to decide whether to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had “a pulse.”

 

Here is an excerpt from a phone call made by John McCain three days later – the morning of the big day

When: October 15, 2:00 a.m.  John McCain unable to sleep before his final debate with Obama dials his good ol’ buddy Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator of South Carolina …

J.M.: Lindsey, hey sorry to call so late I couldn’t sleep …

L.G.: No problem buddy.  I’m just watching last season’s Dancin’ with the Stars on the ol’ TIVO.

J.M.: Did you figure out that VIVO thing yourself?  You are good with the ol’ techno my friend.  I’m going to make you my cyber czar.  Look, Cindy helped me go on the Google and she found this interesting clip from an Obama rally: this plumber guy asked Obama how he’d do under his economic plan …

L.G.: He’d do friggen great, what else is new …

J.M.: No – get this, when he asks Obama how’d he do if he earned more than $250K – chicken scratch for us and from the look of this guy, not gonna happen, but anyway – Obama tells this Joe the Plumber that he might pay higher taxes but that it was okay because if he makes more he should “spread the wealth around.”

L.G.: Makes sense.  We’ve supported that progressive tax stance since way before that asshole W. started on his tax cutting spree for those schmucks at Exxon and put the economy in the toilet.

J.M.: Yea, but don’t you see.  Obama said “spread the wealth.” We could use that.  I was thinking of dropping that on him at the debate:  “Senator, why would you want to spread the wealth, sounds like Socialism to me!”

L.G.: Wow!  That’s so cool – we’ve been looking for a way to get those corn pones in the “real America”  to vote against their own interests.  We lost guns, we’re losing on God even with Palin’s evident hotness, abortion is a wash.  Maybe we could use this Plumber guy.

J.M.: Hold on.  Let’s not make too big a deal about the guy, I’d rather focus on the words.  Besides, we don’t have time to vet him.  He could be a real nut job.

L.G.: Who cares?  He can’t be worse than anything else we got.  This Ayers thing has got no legs except among the racist wackos showing up at our puny events.  And they probably’ll be too drunk on election day to even cast a vote.

J.M.: You’re right.  I’m making the maverick decision. Let’s put this Joe character on every channel.  Let Sarah tongue kiss him on the stump.  Fuck it!  We got nothing to lose at this point.

L.G.: Damn straight, brother … hey John …

J.M.: Yea, Lin.

L.G.: Between this Palin pick, the racist taunts, the suspension of the campaign so you can go to D.C. with no real economic plan, and you looking like a ghost of your former centrist self  –  it looks like we’re gonna lose this thing aren’t we?

J.M.: Put the fork in it, my friend.  But, at least I got to piss off those Bush and Cheney assholes and sink his fuckin’ party into a shit hole that we probably won’t be able to crawl out of for at least 20 years.

L.G.: Ha! Revenge is sweet, my friend.  Especially when served cold – you ol’ maverick!  I haven’t had this much fun since I led the effort in Congress to impeach Clinton.

J.M.: Speaking of cold – is that Kristi Yamaguchi babe the hottest queen on ice or what!  Forget Palin.  Forget DWTS.  I’d let her skate over me in all 7 of my houses!  I’m gonna have a lot of time for entertaining once I get to cut loose again from the ol’ Cind-erella.

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Sarah Palin’s debate performance benefits from low expectations — but is that okay?

One of the points that many of the blogerati are missing re: last night’s debate is that Palin is not only just mouthing the words she’s been given, she hasn’t shown any particular views in the past that would support these positions. 

Any way you look it you lose

Here's to you Mrs. Palin: any way you look at it you lose

Although a social conservative, she has said (and probably thought) little re: national policy — the economy, the War — in the past.  And, in her state the majority of voters are Independents – they don’t have the stomach for the kind of hard partisanship that she has been showing on the stump (see excellent NYer article on Palin and Alaska).  Although a Republican in name, she has become a cheerleader leading the cheers of the away team.  I kind of feel sorry for her. 

Someone should rewind to the first Bush vs. Gore debate in 2000. A lot of similarities – Bush starting out with the benefit of low expectations, avoiding direct answers to the questions, using folksy talk and generally sticking to prepared points.   And the pundits saying “nice job.” 

But, why is so much of the country – and many in the MSM – okay with low expectations? Bush partly won the presidency because he managed to overcome his “low expectations” and the press played right along. Given this momentous time can’t we all have high expectations re: ALL of our elected officials? Can’t that be the standard? Instead of constantly quoting FDR, TDR and Harry Truman why can’t we have people who perform to their standards? Don’t we as citizens deserve it?

Biden Wins but …
There is no question that Biden won this debate and he made some great points about McCain’s views, including McCain’s flawed position on Iraq. But I still think both Obama and Biden have not been forceful enough on their Iraq strategy: the candidates are still playing within the Republicans’ frame of “defeat” vs. “victory.” You can’t just keep repeating that McCain was wrong in the PAST about Iraq. Biden should have made the point that Obama is confident of “victory” but that it will only come if we push the Iraqis into a timetable. McCain’s plan is to sit around and wait for the Iraqis to get their act together (Palin expressed this view in her definition of “victory”). Obama and Biden have to explain that this is not leadership. We don’t wait for the other guy, we ACT. Republicans want to WAIT for victory to somehow show up some day in a nice shiny package. But the Iraqis will not have any incentive to make the hard choices necessary to self govern under McCain’s strategy. Stating this difference will change the frame and poke a huge IED sized hole in their “Democrats want to raise the white flag” rhetoric.

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Palin pick shows McCain to be prisoner of the religious right

Caribou Barbie

Caribou Barbie

John McCain has done it once again.  While purporting to be a maverick, he has chosen the greased path of religious convenience with his recent pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. 

Although Republicans are touting his choice as evidence of his bold independence, it is clear that McCain chose the same route as his predecessor George H.W. Bush in his pick of Dan Quale: to pander to the intolerant right wing of his party. 

Purportedly, Palin went through a rigorous vetting process, including a 50 page questionnaire.  Evidently, one of the questions that she got right was “how do you spell po-ta-to?”

Some insiders are saying that lapsed Democrat (and angry nebbish) Joe Lieberman was McCain’s choice but that several groups within the party were planning to boycott the pick on the convention floor (antisemitism anyone?).  Okay, he is a Democrat in the lions’ den but still … The maverick had to back down – wouldn’t want to upset the party regulars by showing his backbone.  If he had chosen Mitt Romney he could have run a decent Center-Right charge and evened out the ticket with an experienced pol from the business world.  But the Mormon Romney is not a “real” Christian.

While McCain basks in the glow of his convention this week (and the new energy eminating from religious conservatives who would just as soon sink the country in order to have someone on the ticket that cares about their faith-based issues), voters should seriously question McCain’s decision making ability. 

Do we want another guy in the White House who makes decisions from his gut in order to appease the worst elements of his party?  Who goes with political expediency over thoughtful analysis? 

The brouhaha over Palin’s family problems is a nice distraction for McCain.  While the country is busy talking about Palin’s daughter’s uterus they are missing the larger issue: McCain would rather make a reckless decision and be overruled by the same elements of his party that have ruined this country for the past 8 years than follow his own instincts and do what he feels is right.  Country First indeed.

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McCain’s Indecision 2008: Reject religious intolerance or continue to pander?

It took him awhile but John McCain finally came out to denounce and reject the endorsement of controversial preacher and well known Catholic hater John Hagee. 

Hagee, whose antisemitism is cloaked in the “but I love the state of Israel” rhetoric that is typical of evangelicals, just got too hot for McCain to handle after the public heard his remarks equating the Holocaust with God’s shortcut to leading the Jews into Zion (BTW, if God wanted to return the Jews to Israel couldn’t he have done it in a slightly more direct way, say, by not allowing 2 of every 5 Jews to perish in the process?).

While pundits are comparing McCain’s “preacher problem” to that of Obama’s relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the comparison isn’t really apt: McCain has taken a principled stand against people like Hagee in the past whereas Obama chose not to reject his preacher until forced into a corner.  That leads to the question as to why McCain has continued to embrace — and seek out the endorsement of — outspoken, right wing conservative preachers that he wouldn’t be caught dead associating himself with 8 years ago. 

Here is what the more centrist John McCain said back in 2000:

“Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right,” 

Bravo!  But, Johnny why were you led astray?  The pandering (his word, not ours) seems to have started in earnest a few years ago when McCain began his most recent run for President. 

(McCain and Jerry Falwell make nice in ’06)

In May of 2006 he spoke at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.  And ever since, his campaign has been courting some of the more infamous “intolerance agents” of the extreme religious right, including Hagee and Ohio’s Rod Parsley, who has called upon Christians to wage a “war” against the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it. 

The answer to McCain’s getting religion as it were lies in the after effects of the simultaneous rise of the New Religious Right and the Reagan “revolution.”  Back in 1980 Reagan recognized an important voting block by making alliances with more activist religious leaders like Falwell (who was just starting the Moral Majority) and others on the religious fringe who could be counted on to get out the vote.  While George Bush senior was able to keep these newly powerful religious leaders at arm’s length to win the presidency back in ’88, Bush II made them a centerpiece of his successful run for president in 2000.  This gave old guard bigots like James Dobson and Falwell unprecedented power in American politics and has helped them make inroads re: many of their pet issues including laws meant to restrict abortion and gay rights, and to promote “intelligent design,” and other means of breaking down the separation of Church and State.

But John McCain was never in that camp.  He was a Republican more along the lines of his conservative mentor and fellow Arizonian Barry Goldwater, who barely tolerated the religious wing of the New Right. In fact

When Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1981, some Religious Right leaders suspected she might be too moderate on abortion and other social concerns.  Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell told the news media that “every good Christian should be concerned.”  Replied Goldwater, “Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell’s ass.”

So what’s a guy to do now?  Although we are no big fan of the man’s policies and think a McCain presidency is the wrong direction for the country, we have a suggestion that could help McCain retain some of his integrity on the issue and prove himself a true leader of his morally corrupt party: make a historic speech, similar to Obama’s, that demonstrates his true thoughts about religion and denounces intolerence of any kind.  McCain needs to go over the heads of these “agents of intolerance” and speak directly to those who embrace the Word of God;  publicly reject their message of hate and prejudice; and scorn their influence on the politics of distrust and division.  Talk instead about Jesus’ message of love for your fellow man and how we all need to appeal to the better angels in our souls.

McCain has an opportunity to turn around almost 30 years of political pandering to the “outer reaches” of America’s religious sphere and redefine his party’s approach re: the role of religion in politics.  With the ascendance of newer, more tolerent voices on the right like Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, this message can truly resonate among the country’s 65 million conservative Christians.  He can make history by removing the shackles forced on his party by men (and they are all white men) not worthy of mainstream public attention, let alone a voice in our national government. 

The move may not win him the presidency, but it could make him a hero among the more forward-thinking members of his party for generations to come. 

 

 

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McCain’s bright shiny future: Nostradamus on Acid?

In the wake of President Bush’s bizarre attempt to equate Barack Obama and Nazi appeaser Neville Chamberlain in front of the Israeli Knesset (did Obama give away Czechoslovakia — already?), comes another fantasist’s review of events.  This time it’s about the future rather than the past.  John McCain made a speech yesterday in Columbus, Ohio that contained some real whoppers about the state of the world in 2013, four years into a McCain presidency …

“By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom.  The Iraq war has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced.”

Here are some other predictions put forward by the Republican Nostradamus in that same speech (this is real, no kidding. Just say the word “check” after each as you go down the list)…

  • Osama bin Laden – captured or killed
  • Reduced influence of Taliban in Afghanistan
  • Al Queda, though still alive, will have no “safe haven”
  • The economy will be “fixed,” including several years of “robust economic growth”
  • Improved U.S. public education system
  • More accessible health care
  • The “Southern border” will be secure and illegal immigrants will be arrested and deported

Through an inside source within the McCain camp, we at the PW were able to obtain a copy of some of the notes that were edited out of that speech.  Also, according to McCain, in the year 2013 …

  • Upon his arrest, Osama bin Laden will own up to other “crimes against the United States,” including backing Rudy Guiliani’s failed 2008 and 2012 bids for president and 2011’s upteenth “Rocky” remake.  He takes no responsiblity for Chuck Norris, however.
  • Having been reduced to a few guys with hand-me-down Disney T-shirts given to them by Halliburton workers, the Taliban will reform as a regional soccer team and compete in the World Cup
  • McCain’s healthcare plan, which is heavily dependent on his “apple a day” prescription, will not only provide apple growers with windfall profits the oil companies would be jealous of, all leftover apples will be used as the keystone of McCain’s teacher incentive program in his wildly successful Education initiative
  • McCain’s “chicken in every pot” economic plan will be a boon to both chicken farmers and marijuana growers alike
  • Having secured the Southern border and arrested and deported all 5 million illegal immigrants, there will be huge demand for Canadian nannies, gardeners and Burrito makers resulting in the “10-day Taco War” with our neighbor to the North
  • McCain will be so ecstatic about the successes of his administration, he will choose to voluntarily step down after his re-election, making his VP Mitt Romney president. Upon hearing of this miraculous transition, the angel Maroni will descend from the Heavens once again and prove to the world all of the articles of the Mormon faith are indeed true.  The nation’s capital will move from D.C. to Salt Lake City and Donny Osmond will be named Vice President.
  • Oh, and the presidency of George W. Bush will be held up as a beacon for future presidents.  Plans for carving his face on Mount Rushmore have already begun.

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