Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Many Faces of John McCain

While Barack Obama is said to be outraged about the latest sound bytes coming from his former minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, where is our outrage at the nonstop coverage of this nonsense, and the egregious efforts to abort the First Amendment guarantee of separation between church and state?

Now that we know everything we ever wanted to know about Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and more that we didn't, now that ballistics tests show the efficacy of weapons of mass distraction when it comes to news delivery vehicles, maybe it's time some chickens come home to roost for those who have gotten a free ride from the mainstream media.

Forget about how many people can name even one Supreme Court justice. How about---how many people can name John McCain's position on abstinence-only HIV/AIDS funding? Roe v. Wade? Gun control? Iran? Who cares, after all, anyway?

Why interrupt a politcal lynching to interject substance into an otherwise vacuous campaign. After all, who can forget when the senator from Arizona numbly repeated "We do not torture" while on a recent visit to Europe. I'd like to ask Senator McCain if the Justice Department will look any different under him than under his predecessor, George W. Bush, or if we may expect to see the FBI look the other way when the CIA engages in interrogation techniques that violate Geneva, and the Eighth Amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. But, why challenge him when nobody else does.

Why, after all, would anyone question the current dangerous liaision between Hillary and McCain---both claiming that Obama is out of touch with "ordinary Americans" while benefiting from millions raked in by their spouses, both pushing for a reprieve from the pump. Oh, and excuse me, but does anyone really believe that the Clintons earned over $100 million, over the past seven years, from book sales and lectures? But, who cares about the truth when fiction is so compelling.

Like the truth that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain want to move us from supply side economics to "bandaid "economics, to a place where we'll be happy with the meagre 18 cent saving on gas tax while the capital gains tax continues to be reduced, and corporate America gets to gorge itself on even more tax credits and tax write-offs. Who cares if, as Obama suggests, reducing the cost of gas, for the summer, is only a "short-term, quick-fix,", and doesn't solve the problem. Who wants to solve the problem anyway? What for? After all, isn't that what a second term is for?

And, who cares about credibility? So what if John McCain has more faces than the legendary Greek goddess, Janus, all sharing one common denominator---they aim to please. So, if you don't like this side of McCain, he's got another, and yet another. John McCain has more sides than your average garden variety cineplex, but nobody in the mainstream media is going to let his many inconguities interfere with their insatiable urge to vomit sound byte invectives from the mouth of Obama's retired minister. Rather sinister the treatment the Arizona senator gets from those whose job it is not merely to cover, but to uncover, the news; almost as sinister as a one size fits all nightmare.

How can we resist photo-ops from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee? Shots of McCain retracing the footsteps of another president, Lyndon Johnson, in Appalachia, talking about how he plans to help those who suffer through no fault of their own. And, oh, how he likes to help those who suffer effortlessly--like those who lost their homes, as long as they didn't buy those homes for investment purposes, ahnd those who are jobless because they are looking for work, but can't find it. Can it be that his Party is setting it up so that only those in the upper one percentile have the opportunity to see profit from anything they do? And, where are the sound bytes for that one!

Yes, watch Johnny venture forth into New Orleans where he assures us that, like his compassionate conservative brothers, he will never allow another "failure in leadership" like Katrina while, at the same time, virtually guaranteeing a projected budget shortfall of $400 billion. Indeed, this is responsible leadership with a capital "R"-- as in "recession." Oh, and all this noise about suspending the tax on gasoline, for the summer, so that people can not only drive more, and vacation, but spend more of those tax rebates that are in the mail. Gas tax relief is not unlike the Bush rebate---yes, folks, both shining examples of bandaid economics.

Neither Clinton nor McCain is atttacking the gaping hole that lurks in America's driveway---the one that threatens to consume us all while making the oil barons richer, with their spend until you mend ethos. Oh, and let's not increase the corporate gains tax, people, let's decrease corporate income tax, and enhance the list of things businesses get to write off while one in five children in America goes to bed hungry.

Remember, too, McCain announced Tuesday a proposed $5,000 tax credit for health insurance, and his so-called free market approach to health care. How remarkably like Bush's approach to social security reform. So close, we won't feel a thing after the inauguration. In fact, we may not feel a thing for years to come until it hits. The idea of privatizing social services, and leaving it up to the individual to find their way out of hardship, especially at a time when 40 million Americans are uninsured, is not merely reckless, it's downright neanderthal.

So, who is the Republican nominee-in-waiting trying to kid when he says he wants to fight a war on poverty. Isn't that kind of like a war on terror--except it costs a lot less? Just how many of the millions of those without health insurance will benefit from the tax credit to choose their own health care provider McCain proposes? You can bet many more who belong to his country club will benefit from his suppport for capital gains cuts, and tax breaks for the wealthy.

Yet, why does the mainstream media remain so fixated on the hyperbole of Reverend Wright? Are we witnessing, yet again, media complicity in a campaign of distortion and disinformation in the name of boosting corporate revenue? Yes, and what about that very public face McCain put forward in Kentucky when he said that Barack Obama is out of touch with America's poor? How can anyone claim to care about poverty and hunger while, at the same time, striving to ease the tax burden on those who least suffer from tax burdens?

Let's not forget, too, the side of Senator McCain that just voted against a Senate bill which would ensure gender equity with respect to wages.

Irony of ironies: the John McCain we saw in New Orleans is the same one who didn't think Martin Luther King's birthday should be a national holiday, and the same McCain whose parody "Bomb Iran" exploded all over the Internet; yes, the same one who suffered painful, lifelong injuries at the hands of his captors while a prisoner of war, and wants to send our sons and daughters back for another hundred years.

With all this focus pocus on the excesses of one Democratic candidate's former Baptist preacher, John McCain remains largely impregnable. He 's getting away with not not talking about his stand on Roe v. Wade, gun control, stem cell research, withdrawal of troops from Iraq, how it is that the oil companies are making record profits when, by his own admission, his tax proposals will cost taxpayers close to $200 billion annually. He's getting away with economic policies that virtually guarantee college, and cars, are possible only for the very rich.

Not only can we not look forward to an exit strategy with respect to Iraq from the Republicans. It's clear they have no exit strategy for recession, either.

Information is often the first casualty of arbitrary power, and there is nothing more tenacious than arbitrary power. In a culture of rabid narcissism, how refreshing to see a candidate take time out to split himself into as many parts as necessary to make sure that he wins as big a chunk of the election pie as humanly possible.

The question isn't so much who is pulling McCain's strings as who has been in bed with him throughout the process, as well as who is helping the Republicans "politicize" Reverend Wright to sabotage a candidate who has been consistently ahead in pledged delegates, and popular votes. If the phenomenon that is Barack Obama is larger than Obama, the McCain factor is larger than anything McCain himself could ever have imagined.

I guess the good news is that nobody can say this election was stolen. The Democrats are giving it away.