Friday, September 5, 2008

Good Cop, Bad Cop: McCain's Nomination Speech

McCain and Palin seemed to be playing the good cop, bad cop routine with their acceptance speeches. The McCain camp had Palin come out and, in her words, act like a pitbull with lipstick while McCain came out the following night talking about how we are all Americans and that is the most important thing to remember in the end. While the end of McCain's speech was quite inspiring when he discussed his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, the rest of his speech had me quite bored and was also bad.

To begin with, McCain spent a good deal talking about the war in Iraq. He highlighted the fact that he "fought to send more troops to Iraq." Nevermind that later in the speech he said that "I hate war" and that these two statements would seem to contradict each other. I think that he pointed out his support for the war and his wanting to escalate it with more troops because he thinks that the undefined "surge" has been working and will continue to work. The more I listen to the McCain campaign, the more I think that they think they are playing a game of Hearts and attempting to shoot the moon. If the situation in Iraq gets significantly better in the next nine weeks, McCain point out how he supported the war and even said so in his Republican nomination acceptance speech. If Iraq stays the same or gets worse, then Obama's camp can point to it and say "Look what McCain has supported and has been proud to support." First Palin to win over PUMA voters, now highlighting his backing of a very unpopular war.

He also discussed his praise for President Bush action's after 9/11 when "others" thought another terrorist attack was inevitable. Despite the fact that this is another example of a Republican politicizing the worst terrorist attack on American soil after the Oklahoma City bombing, the main point here is that McCain himself, in arguing for war with Iraq, said that another terrorist attack was inevitable unless we acted upon Iraq immediately. We now know that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al-Qaeda, so does that mean that McCain thought another terrorist attack was inevitable (because it has been provent that invading Iraq would not stop Al-Qaeda - just the opposite, it has allowed the Taliban (an Al-Qaeda supporter) to regroup in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon)?

Another quotable from McCain's speech was "I know how the military works." The following video (I am putting it in the body of the blog post because I doubt anyone clicks on the links here) shows McCain's knowledge of the Armed Forces at work:

He also lied about the weapons that Saddam Hussein allegedly had in Iraq in a USA Today editorial to make his case to invade the smaller country in order to gain access to more of the world's oil (a phrase he used to describe Russia and Georgia). He also continues to say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons when a November, 2007 NIE report specifically states that Iran halted their nuclear weapons program in 2003. So unless McCain means "I know how to lie about weapons stockpiles held by foreign leaders and how to ignore intelligence reports stating a country I have a grudge against has stopped trying to develop nuclear weapons and how to lead people into an unjust war" when he says "I know how the military works," I don't really believe him.

Then McCain started talking about the people. He said that he would help people find a good health care provider while Obama would force them into a bureaucratic health care system. The privatized health care system right now is a private bureaucracy and his major beef is that Obama wants to make it a semi-public bureaucracy? Either McCain has never dealt with the health care system today or he is full of it. He also made allusions to those "left behind" and ignored by the government. While this bears similarities to Clinton's DNC speech where she mentioned the "invisible American," it also bears a significant similarity to Nixon's "silent majority." Given the fact that Neo-Con Nixon cronies like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have helped deteriorate the quality of this country in many ways the past 8 years, the last person I would be trying to resurrect politically is "Tricky Dick" Nixon.

And finally (there are so many points I want to cover but do not have the time to) there was one portion of McCain's speech that was foolish. He put out this plan that would subsidize people's salaries to enter job re-training for a field of work where they could get a stable job. Clearly McCain (or his speechwriter) read Obama's book Dreams from my Father or else he would know that Obama fought to get almost a carbon-copy plan for the working class on the South Side of Chicago (the description of this starts at page 184 in the 2004 Three Rivers Press edition). That was before Obama even went to Harvard Law, so that was ov er 20 years ago. Hardly a fresh idea. Plus, Palin harshly mocked the role of a community organizer the night before McCain uses this same idea. Does no one realize the hypocrisy/sleaziness of this?

All in all, McCain's speech was poor. His story of being a POW in Vietnam was inspiring and I agreed with one line of his (that the descendants of those from the Mayflower and the child of the migrant worker in America are the same: Americans), but that line drew frowns from the crowd when the camera panned it. However, his stance on the issues, his stretching of the truth, and his borrowing an idea found in Barack Obama's book and presenting it as "new" is hardly what is needed in Washington right now. Peace.

Photos - McCain speaking at the RNC (, McCain and his wife Cindy (, McCain and Sarah Palin (, The post-speech festivities (

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