Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is Senator John McCain Insane, Stupid, or Just Out to Further Wreck the Republican Brand?

I've never liked Arizona Senator John McCain, as you might guess from the headline to this blog. I'm sure my dislike for him started before his trademark "McCain-Feingold" bill trashed the U.S. Constituion and it continues to this day.

His reaction to the "Cash for Clunkers" and revelations in the Wall Street Journal today about his thoughts on the political campaign last year indicate he must be both insane and stupid. As to whether he's out to intentionally wreck the Republican party brand is a matter of definition:

  • Insane: The Wall Street Journal interview with McCain has him talking about the missteps he took during the financial crisis, of 'suspending' his campaign in September 2007, rushing back to Washington to play a part in 'solving' the crisis. Now he's bemoaning his perception that he was misled by Bush, Bernanke and Cheney to support the Fed's TARP program. So here's the so-called "maverick" doing everything he can during his campaign to distance himself from Bush-Cheney going back to Washington and then stepping and fetching to their warnings. Talk about lack of leadership, lack of conviction. I think that this misstep made the American people understand that McCain might talk a game about his leadership capabilities and not kow-towing to the interests that be, but then when push came to shove he steps back in line and fails to lead. If anything, the American people want leaders, not ninnies, and that proved McCain to be a follower, not a leader. The American people expect Democrats to be ninnies, so that's why Obama, despite doing the exact thing as McCain in that situation, didn't suffer any fallout. But the point here is that McCain, the Maverick, who trademarked his bucking the system and bucking the Party, had the ultimate chance to demonstrate that to the American people and yet he did not. It's no wonder they measured him short of the leadership role he aspired to fill.
  • Stupid: The Wall Street Journal interview notes that "[McCain] seems perplexed that his pals in the media turned on him in 2008 after years of worshipful press treatment. “In 2000 [when he ran against George W. Bush] I used to go chat with reporters on the back of the bus, and we would have these long, pleasant conversations . . . . I was the underdog clawing my way up. But then in 2008, I noticed that it would be kind of a gotcha session with the press—a totally more hostile attitude.” The interview author Stephen Moore points out how conservatives warned him over the years how the media vermin [my paraphrase] would turn on him. And they did. McCain must have such disdain for conservatives that he either ignored their warnings or is just too stupid to understand how Washington media works.
  • Out to Wreck the Republican Brand: Yesterday's CBS radio news reported that McCain would filibuster against renewal and expansion of the Cash for Clunkers program that has worked so well. I can't find any print news confirming that position online, and CBS news is not known for its integrity, but if McCain is going to filibuster you have to ask Why? This program directly illustrates that cash incentives are good for spurring the purchase of cars and spurring the economy. Cash incentives -- in the form of across the board tax cuts that acknowledge the power of freedom of each and every American to make decisions that benefit their own economic well-being -- would also be good for every other component of the U.S. economy. If the Obama Administration and Democrat Congress (and the Bush Administration before that) had cut taxes and left more money in the hands of the American people, this Congress-Fed-induced failed nationalized housing recession would already be over. McCain's threat of filibustering a popular program without seeing the opportunity to educate the American people about the viability of Republican tax cuts smacks of determined inability to understand core tenets of Republican economic ideology -- also known as proven economic laws -- and he now positions the Republican brand as being against the American people's power to effect recovery (even while buying new cars!). CBS, the Democrat propagandists that they are, quickly understood the PR value of positioning McCain as out of touch with the American people and so mentioned his filibuster prominently in their news coverage. The program allows the Democrats to say "See what we're doing for you" even while getting the American people to accept the Democrats social engineering and "We know how to better guide your purchases than you do" scheme. What a golden opportunity McCain had to say, "Hey, I'm all for moving forward with the Cash for Clunkers program AND a $4,500 tax cut for every American, to be redirected from the Obama $787 billion economic disaster plan."

Anyway, to me the jury is still out on "Insane, Stupid, or Just Out to Wreck the Republican Brand." I suppose it could be all of the above.

1 comment:

Christopher London said...

As Ross Perot once said about McCain, "John McCain is the classic political opportunist, always reaching for attention and glory." John McCain is the most dishonest man in America. I will not say that he's "intellectually" dishonest because that might presume that I think he is an intellectual, and most certainly he is not. McCain's "Maverick" brand is but a fiction created by his handlers and friends in the mainstream media to explain away his hypocrisy, to allow him to continue to maneuver politically in a shape shifting fashion in a dynamic world, to insure his legacy, solidify his brand so that he can continue to be an effective and credible voice for corporate militarism and shill for America's military industrial complex whenever needed. That he wraps himself in the flag and claims he does it for the citizens of Arizona, his fellow countrymen or those in uniform is not to be believed. McCain has no fundamental understanding of economic issues or arguably even the military. This "maverick" label fosters the illusion that McCain is his own man and he is not. McCain's rise to political power and prominence is related first and foremost to due to his alliance with Cindy Hensley and powerful forces in the military industrial complex who use McCain as an effective shill. McCain's lifestyle is not possible without Cindy's family money, political connections and the military contractors and the paycheck the people give him in the Senate. The man knows little else except how to survive in congress.