2008

10 September 2008: As my mother would have put it: ‘Maverick, my foot”

As my mother would have put it, “Maverick, my foot.”

In the old TV western Maverick, brothers Bret and Bart were poker-playing rascals who took delight in besting their opponents with their skills and antics. John McCain showed he is willing to do likewise, to play a high-stakes game to fulfill his obsession: being president.

I once got an email from a reader who was upset with me for not using the title President when referring to George W. Bush. Given that, he ought to be really exercised by McCain’s mealy-mouth acknowledgment of Bush during his acceptance speech as simply “the President,” and not having the dignity nor courage to mention either his and his father’s actual names.

For McCain, George W. Bush is a toxic substance, a nuclear waste hazard that would be best stored in Yucca Mountain until he can pull a victory from his hat.

Pat Schroeder famously labeled Ronald Reagan the “Teflon President.” McCain can be called the “Who me?” candidate. While demanding accountability for public schools, he refuses to hold himself or his party accountable for the disastrous last eight years, despite his admission of complicity and guilt.

His message is “We screwed it up, but you need to trust me to fix it because I am not, even though I am, a Republican.”

After lambasting teachers, McCain dropped incendiary bombs on blue collar workers, insisting they be good boys and girls and being content with their plight and taking home less pay until they can be “re-trained.”

That’s not surprising coming from a man who has lived a life of privilege and never had to find a real job or experienced want other than during his time at the Hanoi Hilton, which he is quick to remind us of and admits to where he finally began to appreciate and “fall in love with” America.

The Republican National Convention’s theme was “Country First,” but McCain’s decision to select Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate was not about putting the country first, but about political ambition.

Lots can be and has been said about the Guv: She can field dress a moose and has more controversy and drama than a soap opera in her life, none of which makes her qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, which is the ultimate concern with seventy-two-year-old and twice cancer-survivor McCain.

Palin, a feminine version of Maurice Minnifield from Northern Exposure, might be red moose meat for those McCain once castigated as agents of intolerance, but her elevation raises serious doubts about McCain: his judgment, his willingness to discard face cards—e.g., Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, Joe Lieberman—in order to try to draw an ace.

Palin plays well in Colorado Springs with rabid religious rightists, but he’s playing foot loose and fancy free with America’s national security.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas is only one of several talented Republican leaders that have the essential attribute McCain felt necessary for his vice-president—estrogen—but judged unworthy and inadequate to serve with him.

Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan’s speech writer, made this observation about Palin: “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bull s–t about narratives.”

The move is shallow in its intent. As Katha Pollit of The Nation magazine puts it, “He must think we have the collective IQ of a Tampax.”

During his run for the Republican nomination, I would tell people I could think of 100 reasons to oppose Mitt Romney—not one of them him being a Mormon.

The fact is Mitt Romney is not McCain’s vice-presidential choice for that reason. Yet, interestingly enough, Utah will vote solidly for McCain.

Who’s your daddy, eh?

In the March 27, 2008 Military Times, Phillip Butler, a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot who spent eight years as a prisoner of war, states he will not be voting for McCain.

Butler, who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals, writes that all of the 600 POW’s endured extraordinary experiences with regard to torture, broken bones, and refusing to give aid an comfort to the enemy by making propaganda statements condemning the US.

However, “John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW,” states Butler, “which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.”

Butler warns, “I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.”

It is about character, and John McCain, erstwhile maverick, now rightwing lapdog, who once gave his all to defend his country, now is brazenly willing to put her at risk by choosing as his partner, in this time of war as he likes to put it, a complete neophyte.

John McCain is neither a gentle curmudgeon nor a maverick, and this time thoughtful Republicans ought to put country, rather than party, first.

Best sign at McCain’s acceptance speech: “Mavrick”

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