Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Lost and Found for Credibility

Sooner or later, John McCain, the Republican party's designated candidate, may well have to pay a visit to the lost and found of credibility. And, if there is no such lost and found, one may need to be created for that express purpose.

Funny, isn't it, for a party so concerned with creed how little concern there is for credibility.

That said, it would be unfair to move from deriding the current commander-in-chief to knocking John McCain without even making a stop to refuel. After all, aside from the fact that he was against Bush before he was for him, the Arizona senator has tried very hard to distinguish himself from the perennial incumbent, if only by what he laughably calls the "Straightalk Express."

Last night, I got to thinking about how much everyone is saying about how little everyone knows about John Mc Cain. It's kind of like the weather---everyone talks about it, but nobody is doing anything about it.

The Republican candidate's sudden, meteoric rise in the polls makes me wonder at how adept Mr. McCain already is at information control, and he hasn't even been sworn in yet. How many would gamble on a dog and pony show where the winning mutt is in dire need of a distemper shot, but most voters visualize war hero, and not a poster boy for anger management.

After all, not everybody reads The New York Times, The Washington Post, or HuffPost. There is more pulp patriotism in America than pulp fiction. And, so-called "alternative media," in the end, only amounts to preaching to the choir.

So, last night, while thumbing through the bookcase looking for Crime and Punishment, I came upon an old how-to book, "Excel for Dummies," which made me think -- why not "McCain for Dummies," a laundry list of reasons why not to vote for John McCain:

1) In this age of record foreclosures, you've got to love a guy who has so many homes he can't remember how many.

2) Only Christopher Columbus would need to be coached more on geography.

3) Talk about credibility issues---McCain was against lobbies before he was for them.
The highest ranking members of his campaign committee include Charlie Black and Wayne Berman (AT & T, and Verizon, respectively.) Black is now McCain's chief political advisor, and Berman is his national finance co-chair. Both men, lobbyists for the telecommunications industry, will continue to work for immunity from prosecution for those who play ball with the National Security Agency eavesdropping program.

You know you can count on Ma Bell, not Big Brother, to monitor your phone calls with McCain in the White House.

4) How can anyone have as a signature greeting the words "my friends," and be so choleric, at times, he could be mistaken for a cougar?

5) Remember Jack Abramoff? That's good because, thanks to Abramoff, the Keating affair is history. Moreover, any claims that a McCain presidency will fight special interests end here.

6) As to campaign finance reform, take a good look at Vern Buchanan, the Republican South Florida congressman who took over Katherine Harris's seat in a landslide victory of under 400 votes!

Buchanan, former chair of the RNC Finance Committee, was also a top fundraiser for Jeb Bush, hearty endorser of George W. Bush, and donor to McCain's campaign. This ought to give you conspiracy theory folks out there a giant rush!

Mr. Buchanan allegedly violated campaign finance law by coercing employees at his car dealerships to contribute to his campaign, and is now under investigation by the FEC.

7) Oh, and as for those rascals of prospective accountability, the Supreme Court: McCain was for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and David Souter before he was against them. Last Saturday, McCain told a captive audience at Saddleback that, if he had it to do over again, he would never have voted in favor of their nominations.

8) As commander-in-chief, war would be the "last resort" says the Arizona senator, yet Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy advisor, a lobbyist for Georgia, is also an advisor to Georgian President Saakashvili whose election platform just happens to have included a pledge to take back, or occupy, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, according to The Washington Post. It gets curiouser and curiouser.

No wonder President Saakashvili is such a big fan of Sen. McCain's -- they share the same foreign policy advisor.

9) The Arizona senator wants a $5,000 tax credit to folks who pay out of pocket for their health insurance in an effort to privatize health care, and he will, no doubt, work as hard to privatize social security which means you and I had better start earning in the six figures, or we can forget retirement.

10) He will insure that big business is insulated from higher taxes, follow in Bush's footsteps by not tweaking capital gains, as well as by lowering taxes on the upper one percentile while talking about protecting the middle class . The simple truth is Sen. McCain is as clueless about economics as his former advisor, Phil Gramm, who claims that we're in a "mental recession."

Indeed, if the maverick knew anything at all about economics, he'd realize that, thanks largely to Bush, and previous Republican presidents, there no longer is a middle class.

And, finally, no one would question Sen. McCain's service to his country, and the sacrifice he has made, or his military record, but ask the group Vietnam Veterans Against McCain about his prisoner of war record, his temper, and see how credible his own comments, those of his campaign, and press coverage, have been.

So it is then that in John McCain, as in George W. Bush, there is a jihad against credibility, and a preemptive war against truth. Remember Bush campaigned as a "compassionate conservative." Ask anyone in Baghdad today just how compassionate his administration has been or, better still, ask the folks in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Ask administrators at the Veterans Administration who want to drastically reduce the number of service members diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to cheat returning soldiers out of justifiable treatment as a result of psychological injury they received in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The specious attacks against Barack Obama's character and patriotism are strictly little league in comparison to the egregious lack of credibility that John McCain has made a career of. And, what kind of character can one have without credibility?

Instead of hiring architects for his future presidential library, it might make more sense for Sen. McCain to come up with a blueprint for that lost and found.