Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I think Andrew Sullivan's Giving McCain Far Too Much Credit

"You have probably seen our European friends say: ‘Well, the Israelis have got to stop.’ What would we do if somebody came across our borders and killed our soldiers and captured our soldiers? Do you think we would be exercising total restraint?"

- Senator John McCain
A statement that most Americans would agree sounds a little too "green-light" on behalf of a state's unbridled violence, considering the fact that a civilian population is being terrorized by war and a humanitarian crisis of monumental proprtion has been created. It's time to keep it real or give up our nation's reputation as a fair broker. Our "European friends" happen to fall in the same category of moral and ethical opinion as the rest of the international community.

I think Andrew Sullivan's Giving McCain Far Too Much Credit

When it comes to why a Democrat like myself has stopped supporting Joe Lieberman, Andrew Sullivan writes in such a way - today - that shows me that he "gets it."
The notion, advanced by Lieberman, that criticism of the president's war leadership is somehow inappropriate when the country is in danger gets it exactly the wrong way round, I think. It is precisely because the danger is still so great that criticism is so necessary. That's democracy's strength. You could understand, if not forgive, this abdication of leadership if Lieberman were bound by partisan loyalty to Bush. But he isn't. And even those who are - like Chuck Hagel and Lindsey Graham and John McCain and John Warner - have had more astringent criticisms of the the conduct of the war than Lieberman.
I'll agree with Mr. Sullivan on Senators Graham and Hagel.

However, I have to say that, having paid very close attention to Senator McCain since I saw him give grossly overcompromising support of Bush's handling of the Iraq war at the September 2004 RNC convention; and knowing that he failed to convince me that he would have a coherent plan for a "victory" and "exit" in the many months since, that his public questioning has been far less astringent than I would have hoped.

A Scenario I'd Regret to See

Iraq's a failed mess of a mistake - the worst strategic mistake in America's history. I strongly suspect that no venture - whether it's in war or diplomacy - will politically go America's way in this world again until we end the occupation of that country. Here's what I foresee if a McCain presidency should come to pass: It's 2009. The hawkish President, who has a son serving in Iraq [and rumors are that it's likely his 18-yr-old son Jimmy could be serving in Iraq soon] tells America that at least 250,000-300,000 more troops will be needed to tackle the dangerous instability in the Middle East caused by President Bush's failed foreign policy. McCain could have spoken up in 2004, but he chose campaign politics over honest criticism of the President's obvious failings. At that time, he looked us in the eye and dared to say: "Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war." The military is exhausted. A draft will be required. President McCain will expect no dissent on the draft. After all, he always supported the war in Iraq. Americans voted for him because he believed that this war was always right [he said so without question in 2004 when we all knew the course was failing]. He will have a mandate. A President McCain would tell you that we should continue with even more firepower and boots on the ground and that your sons and daughters can expect their draft notice in the mail. All for American imperialism.

McCain Should Have Spoken Out Honestly in 2004
Hiding Behind Flowery Rhetoric in His RNC Speech Gave Bush Political Power to Perpetuate Failure

My disappointment in September 2004 upon hearing McCain speak at the RNC had much to do with the fact that McCain said:

[Democrats] emphasize that military action alone won't protect us, that this war has many fronts: in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy. [..] We agree. [..] That is what the president believes. [...]

The President never utilized the style or the standard of good-faith diplomacy employed by all other American Presidents. Instead, he carried on on his own revolution of thugs, where nations who had any ideas of their own to contribute were shunned and the America's trust meant nothing. For too long, each American citizen's intelligent dissent over the Iraq war was treated as near-treason by Republican leaders. They should be ashamed to call themselves defenders of freedom for having done that.

By the time Senator McCain spoke the following words, it was already clear that the war in Iraq was never necessary - especially the way Bush did it. Yet, McCain heaped undue praise upon Bush, giving him political support to keep failing. It's hard to forgive Senator McCain for that. He should be embarrassed to have ever said it:
We couldn't afford the risk posed by an unconstrained Saddam in these dangerous times. By destroying his regime, we gave hope to people long oppressed, that if they have the courage to fight for it, they may live in peace and freedom. Most importantly -- most importantly, our efforts may encourage the people of a region, that has never known peace or freedom or lasting stability, that they may someday possess these rights. I believe as strongly today as ever, the mission was necessary, achievable and noble.

He said:
What our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach. It cannot be taken from us. It can only be surrendered.
Yet, we've been losing more liberties with each passing year - surrendered - thanks to a rubber stamp Republican majority who would not assent to the fair oversight for which they owed responsibility to the American people. {McCain does get credit for pushing for the independent 9/11 commission, Then again, so did Joe Lieberman.

Senator McCain said,
Let us argue -- let us argue our differences, but remember we are not enemies, but comrades in a war against a real enemy...
The only reference to "enemies" I ever heard during that time came from the mouths of Republicans toward anyone who would not accept the obvious political manipulation and daily trot-out, even in the mainstream press, of outright untruths from our government about their 21-plus rationales for going to war with Iraq.

We aren't stupid. Senator McCain's not stupid - but I believe he was condescending to the American people in that RNC speech. He blasted Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary [for cheap laughs and some applause] - having never actually seen the documentary for himself. I personally heard Michael Moore's retort when I [and 10,000 others] saw him speak in Syracuse later in September of that same year. From my own journal:
How many times did we hear Osama bin Laden’s name mentioned at the RNC? George Pataki mentioned it once. Michael Moore says his own name was mentioned more (and received more boos) than Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Moore said, sarcastically, that he was glad the Republicans have their priorities straight. Moore says he felt a bit embarrassed for John McCain, who didn’t know Moore was in Madison Square Garden when McCain spoke negatively about him at the RNC. After the speech, McCain spoke to Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball and admitted to him that he had not even seen ‘Fahrenheit 9/11” for himself.

To this day, Senator McCain still thinks that the war in Iraq is a necessary and noble venture. I disagree. Millions upon millions of Americans disagree. He has underestimated many intelligent Americans - and he's done so at his own political peril.

See my reasons for doubting his credibility as a capable handler of Iraq.
- November 2005
- December 2005
- March 2006

I think McCain's a personable fellow and I know what he went through as a POW beacuse my great Uncle was nearly tortured to his death as a prisoner of war in the Phillipines and Japan during WWII. I consider my uncle and the Senator as brave and tough men for having survived their similar experiences. With respect, it doesn't make either of them automatic candidates for commander in chief. In the end, character really does count. I've seen Senator McCain waver on too many of his so-called convictions. His suck-up at Bob Jones University was just one more example of the marshmallow-soft center of his alledged convictions. Bottom line, I think he isn't much different than Senator Joe Lieberman in the sense that both men have underestimated and miscalculated the feelings and opinions of the American people.

YouTube Station Devoted to John Edwards' Political Activity

YouTube Station Devoted to John Edwards' Political Activity

There's a new station for videos [47 to date] of the public speeches and other related political activities of Senator John Ewdwards that have been created, produced, and/or collected by the savvy members of the One America Committee blog.

Double Cross:Family Values Hypocrisy in Congress

Double Cross:
Family Values Hypocrisy in Congress

Yonce Shelton, who has testified in front the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of Call to Renewal on the issue of minimum wage, says that there's a double cross going on this week in the House and Senate. You can see his full article at the current issue of SojoMail. [Sojourners]

[..]Last Friday, the House passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over three years. But there's a catch. The bill (Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act - aka "trifecta" bill) would also permanently reduce the estate tax - an important source of federal revenue impacting only the wealthiest half of one percent of our nation's taxpayers, which also encourages billions in charitable donations (according to the Congressional Budget Office, between $13-25 billion in 2000). The bill would also extend other expiring tax cuts. [..]

[..]The House leadership proudly touted its "American Values Agenda" week in July, which included votes on gay marriage, the pledge of allegiance, abortion, and human cloning. Missing from that agenda was the value of promoting family economic security. Integrity of political procedure seems also to have been missing, which isn't new. Before last week's vote, a $7.25 minimum wage increase passed a House committee as part of an appropriations bill. Apparently that committee's values took House leaders by surprise. Stuck without an easy way to strip out the wage increase, House leadership has chosen not to move that appropriations bill forward until after the elections. By denying a straightforward vote and coupling the wage increase with other politically dicey provisions, House leaders are again choosing political charades over people and the common good.

If the "trifecta" bill becomes law (the Senate will vote on it this week), the trade-off for a minimum wage increase will be a sacrifice of other supports for working families playing by the rules but coming up short. Work must "work" - working families, individuals, and those unable to work deserve a living family income. They deserve to be treated with respect - especially by their elected representatives. They deserve an up or down vote on the wages for their labor. [..]

On the heels of this WaPo article, here was a discussion about the situation at the One America Committee blog yesterday, where many expressed their own opinions, including myself.

Bob Geiger rreports that the Republican bill to "increase" minimum wage will actually lower wages in seven states!

As it stands at 7 pm today, the success of Congress passing the bill in the Senate looks to be highly in doubt.

I personally question Senator James Inhofe's (R-Ok) priorities and values when he adnits that he “really hasn't decided” whether to swallow a minimum-wage increase in exchange for an estate-tax rollback. He can barely stand to see minimuim wage workers in his state making more than $5.15 per hour while he opens new avenues for millionaires to play welfare "Dynasty"-style and robbing Oklahoma of much-needed revenues that could benefit working families. Inhofe's statement makes me sick, especially since he claims he's such a devout Christian.