I’ve watched all the debates this season. Last night, John McCain supposedly needed a game changer. Despite the fact that Barack Obama hadn’t slipped at one debate and got all his dirty laundry aired during the Democratic primaries earlier this year, McCain came out aggressively. And it didn’t work. McCain came off as whiny, and rude. He certainly did not display any characteristic that comes close to Presidential. A quick question: will the media talk non-stop about McCain’s constant heavy breathing? The entire debate, he huffed and puffed so much that at times it was difficult to listen to Obama’s solutions. Remember when Al Gore sighed a couple of times in the 2000 debate? He was ridiculed for weeks about that so-called “gaffe”? Let’s put it this way: I won’t hold my breath waiting for the corporate media to do the same to McCain. They’re scared he’ll throw another temper tantrum at them.
Just what did McCain mean by saying his ads have turned 100% negative because Barack Obama wouldn’t meet him in a series of town-hall meetings? Here is the obvious problem: McCain didn’t take responsibility for his own campaign. If McCain were President, how many actions would his administration blame on everybody but themselves? No, we already have a “President” that does that. Americans want a President that accepts responsibility for their actions. Telling America that his opponent is a traitor and is dangerous is not an appropriate response for rejecting a debate style. It’s simply cowardice, a trait that McCain has shown us too often this election cycle.
Then, McCain had the nerve to demand an apology or a repudiation. Despite running nothing but negative ads for the past three weeks, McCain tried to get Americans to believe he was somehow the victim. The kind of self-victimization is typical for Republicans – that’s how they’ve stayed in power for the better part of 30 years now. But let’s be honest: allowing supporters to call a sitting Senator a terrorist or allowing demands to kill him isn’t in the same ballpark as calling someone erratic. It’s not even the same freaking sport. If you think it is, you’re beyond rational discourse. Am I saying Obama’s ads are excused from criticism? No. But equating the two is another act of cowardice. Threats against Senators’ or Presidential candidates’ lives have no place in our society. Letting those slide is purposefully stoking the flames of hate and racism. So McCain wants an apology and a repudiation. I’m waiting for McCain to apologize for his comments. I’m waiting for McCain to repudiate the hate speech that is all too common from his base: the most extreme among us. Has McCain ever called on Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter or the dozens of other hate-mongers of his party to repudiate their disgusting comments? No. No, Mr. McCain, do not waste America’s time with your one-man pity party. Your party has a long history of inciting hatred and violence against fellow Americans. You’ve long remained silent about that. Trying to make the cast that being called erratic is somehow above the top is pathetic.
McCain made no sense when he was talking about teacher certification. Does he really think American education will be better if teachers aren’t expected to become certified or pass examinations? How about doctors? Would our health system improve if they didn’t have to take tests? McCain was at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. Maybe that’s where he developed his ‘no certification’ approach to education. If only his professors weren’t required to know what they were teaching, he could have done better.
There is a parallel between his education policy and his buddy Joe “the plumber”. Except Joe is no plumber: he isn’t registered to work as one anywhere in Ohio. Joe lied. He has worked for only 6 years, not 15. Joe lied. He isn’t about to buy the company, like he told Barack Obama. Joe lied almost as much as McCain has during this campaign. But put that aside. If Joe’s imaginary company is making more than $250,000 per year, that company is in the top 5% of all companies in the U.S. Only 1.4% of actual small businesses will be affected by Obama’s plan. That plan is all about paying their fair share. Under Republicans, the largest corporations and the wealthiest people have paid less and less. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans are making less and less and our towns and cities are crumbling around us. Joe’s imaginary company can afford to move from paying 36% tax to 39% tax. Millions of Americans are not achieving the American dream because of backward policies like Ronald Reagan’s, George Bush’s, John McCain’s and Joe’s.
[Update]. So Joe was all worried about his taxes, was he? As I thought, it doesn’t look like that was the case. It seems Joe Worzelbacher has had troubles in the past paying the taxes he owes. But all of Obama’s policies are socialist!! Joe, it’s time to get better talking points. You’re part of the 23% of Bush-backers that has wrecked this country. Your invocation of scary socialism isn’t going to work in this election.
John McCain also had the gall to bring up class warfare and mock the notion that spreading wealth was a bad thing. The rich playboy that McCain has been all his life would certainly know all about class warfare – he’s been on the front lines of waging that war against the middle class his entire career. Since McCain came into office during Reagan’s tenure, and since he’s a self-avowed Reagan-man, the middle class has been under assault like no time since the Robber Baron days of the late 1800′s. The rich have had their taxes slashed time and time again while working Americans have had their wages slashed time and time again if they were lucky enough to have a job. Millions of jobs have been lost in America under Republican economic policy. McCain recognizes the threat that economic populism presents to his wife’s fortune and his donor’s future contributions. McCain and his rich pals don’t want to pay their fair share. They want Americans to work as serfs while they live the high life. If worker pay had kept up with productivity since 2000, do you know what the minimum wage would be today? $13.74. Do you know what the average wage would be today? $24.65. McCain and the corporate-cons are the ones who are waging class warfare. But since the corporate media has kept it out of their spotlight, most Americans are unaware of its reach.
Taxes – is McCain for them or against them? It depends on what the taxes are, of course. He’s against raising taxes on rich Americans, but wants to tax our insurance. See my commentary about class warfare above. McCain is trying to fall back on the main talking point of the right-wing for the last generation. That’s a big reason why he’s going to lose this race: a new generation has seen the effects of slashing taxes at every level. I’m somewhat surprised Obama let this slide during the debates: McCain and his Republican friends’ work to provide tax breaks for the rich and reduce oversight in government agencies had quite the impact in New Orleans in 2005, didn’t it? How about the Minnesote bridge last year? More Americans have been left without vital services since Bush took office than any other time. McCain has been an enabler of this immoral strategy.
Onto choice. McCain doesn’t want women to have control of their bodies. He wants to abolish abortion, and limit birth control. But wait. His health care plan would call for insurance plans to keep covering viagra. Say what? How will a bunch of hardened old guys and unprotected women improve our nation’s health care? What about the fact that the U.S. has the 29th lowest infant mortality rate. That’s correct: despite spending record amounts on insurance and emergency rooms, Americans have one of the worst infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. Aren’t we supposed to be the world’s only superpower, the world’s greatest nation? We can’t keep infants alive once they’re born. But McCain and Palin want to keep women from receiving the care they need before and while they’re pregnant. It’s clear once again: McCain is pushing distractions. He doesn’t want to discuss the sorry state of our health system. He wants his government to make health choices for women (and not for men, I might add), then tries to admonish Obama for wanting more government control. I have an idea for those who call themselves pro-life: try standing up for those babies that are born but aren’t getting the care that is their right for once. McCain’s health care policies would decrease the quality of care delivered in the U.S.
Along with his irresponsible, backwards health plan, McCain’s screed about socialism is falling on deaf ears when McCain’s party ushered in the largest step toward nationalized finances in our nation’s history. McCain voted to nationalize those financial institutions, despite the pork attached to the bill which McCain also hypocritically railed against. That nationalization was forced to occur after McCain worked his entire career to reduce regulations and oversight on those institutions (and other industries as well). The American people are recognizing that CONservative wailing about the evils of socialization just don’t make sense. They want a health care system that works. They want a finance system that works. The private sector has shown that it is spectacularly unqualified to do either without regulations and oversight. If they can’t conduct themselves responsibly, the American people are all too ready to have government step in.
I wanted to write a little more about McCain’s general conduct during the “debate”. Rude is the only way to describe his behavior. He acted as though Barack Obama had no place on the stage with him. He was derisive of everything Obama said. He was disrespectful and condenscending. Folks, this is exactly how McCain would treat other world leaders if they disagreed with him. Can you imagine the image left in their minds after McCain acted like this?
Last, zingers are not policy. It is the sad state of today’s media that they focus more on the one-liners McCain delivered all night than the coherent policy statement of Obama. But that’s what the media excels in: infotainment. Infotainment helped bring Bush and his corrupt Republican cronies to power. It is refreshing to me that Obama’s ability to discuss any issue in-depth has resonated so well with Americans. It’s disappointing that it took the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and a 7-year occupation of Iraq to bring America to a place where it’s hungry for real policies and disdain for personal attacks. But here we are. Obama is in the correct place at the correct time. John McCain is Finished.