Wednesday, May 24, 2006

McCain's Crooked Talk Express

On A Tiny Revolution, Jonathan Schwarz has written McCain Gives Us More Straight Talk About How Great Santa Claus Is, in which he relates the tale of a Vietnam war protestor of McCain's acquaintance who had a revelation:
He saw the huge cargo planes bearing the insignia of the United States Air Force rushing emergency supplies into [Israel, during the Yom Kippur War in 1973]. And he had an epiphany. He had believed America had made a tragic mistake by going to Vietnam, and he still did. He had seen what he believed were his country’s faults, and he still saw them. But he realized he had let his criticism temporarily blind him to his country’s generosity and the goodness that most Americans possess, and he regretted his failing deeply.

Schwarz goes on to give a less misty-eyed account of the "American generosity" behind that aid:
the U.S. hopped to with the airlift because on October 8th and 9th we began hearing from Israel that they were seriously considering the use of nuclear weapons. This, of course, would inevitably have led to World War III between America and the Soviet Union.

...There was widespread rage inside the Israeli cabinet at the Nixon White House—aimed especially at Henry Kissinger—over what was correctly perceived in Israel as an American strategy of delaying the resupply...

Thus does McCain convert the most cold-blooded realpolitik on the part of the U.S. and Israeli governments into a happy fairy tale about how his wayward friend realized America is good, good, GOOD!

Following on the McCain bashing is Bob Harris, in A Convenient Untruth. He focuses on McCain at the 2000 Republican Convention:
Even after McCain had tried to play to his Maverick™ brand identity for months by making repeated overtures to the then-growing reform movement which manifested itself in the Nader campaign and Arianna Huffington's "Shadow Conventions;" even after being steamrolled by a Bush campaign cash machine which had an early 15-to-1 advantage over McCain in cash-in-hand; and even after the Bush campaign had personally swift-boated McCain in South Carolina by circulating false rumors about McCain's mental health, his wife's drug problems, McCain's supposed fatherhood of a illegitimate black child, and more...

Before the convention's end -- I believe on the morning after his forced-march endorsement of Dubya -- McCain was on TV, saying with a straight face that (I will never forget these words) "George Bush is the real reform candidate."

Both posts are interesting and go into more detail; they're worth reading in full. The bottom line is the reminder that McCain - the "maverick", the "reformer", etc. - is full of just as much bullshit as you'd expect from a politician (especially a Republican).


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