Tag Archives: John McCain

A reminder on McCain and veteran’s issues

In case you forgot, McCain-the-veteran is not always McCain-champion-of-veterans.  From a New York Times piece this morning on the new GI bill which is enabling more veterans (think young guys returning from Iraq and Afghanistan) to go to college:

The bill met strong resistance from John McCain, the senator from Arizona who is now the Republican candidate for president, and from President Bush ….

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Hero? Seriously?

I haven’t blogged on Joe the Plumber ’cause, really …. really?  But yesterday at a rally, John McCain called this dude an “American hero.”  Seriously?  A “hero?”  Someone explain this to me, please.  Please.

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The LA Times / Khalidi issue

I’m gonna be as fair about this as I can.  This Khalidi thing has been around for a while.  This isn’t new:  this is the McCain camp’s attempt at some sort of last minute surprise to sway the election.  Who can blame them?  If I were running their campaign, I’d be looking for something, too.  Unfortunately for them, this just isn’t it.

Background:  the LA Times is in possession of a videotape of a 2003 farewell dinner for then U of Chicago professor Rashid Khalidi.  They were given this video by a confidential source on the condition that they not release it to the public.  Pay attention:  this is why they haven’t released it:  it was the condition of their receiving it and they want to protect and continue a relationship with their source, as well as protect their honor.  Got it?  Moving on ….  In April, the Times published an article describing the events on the tape.   

Though this issue was addressed when the article was first published, it has lain dormant, except in radical right wing circles, since then.  At this critical point in the election, however, the McCain camp is attempting to revive it.  While it is true that they may get some traction from the fact that the Obamas and the Khalidis were close friends in Chicago and Obama did emphasize that Khalidi helped him understand a different viewpoint on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict, McCain cannot win the argument if he is trying to paint Khalidi as a terrorist or trying to paint Obama as pro-Palestinian.

First, Khalidi is currently a well-respected professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and has always been seen as a moderate on the Palestinian issue.  He has decried suicide bombings, for instance.  Second, if McCain is seriously concerned about Khalidi’s associations and philosophy, he should have been more careful in giving him money.  From the Chicago Tribune:

McCain also has connections to Khalidi.

During the 1990s, while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, the group distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including a $448,873 grant in 1998 to his Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank.

And, since 1993, when McCain joined IRI as chairman, the group funded several studies run by Khalidi’s group in the Palestinian territories, including more than 30 public opinion polls. Khalidi helped found the center, “an independent academic research and policy analysis institution.”

It’s difficult to paint someone as a terrorist when you, yourself, have financially supported his work.

Finally, it’s nigh impossible to paint Obama as pro-Palestinian.  He has been so staunchly pro-Israel that even Fox news recognizes it:

Here’s a little more, from the LA Times article back in April:

Even as he won support in Chicago’s Palestinian community, Obama tried to forge ties with advocates for Israel.

In 2000, he submitted a policy paper to CityPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee, that among other things supported a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a position far out of step from that of his Palestinian friends. The PAC concluded that Obama’s position paper “suggests he is strongly pro-Israel on all of the major issues.”

In 2002, as a rash of suicide bombings struck Israel, Obama sought out a Jewish colleague in the state Senate and asked whether he could sign onto a measure calling on Palestinian leaders to denounce violence. “He came to me and said, ‘I want to have my name next to yours,’ ” said his former state Senate colleague Ira Silverstein, an observant Jew.

As a presidential candidate, Obama has won support from such prominent Chicago Jewish leaders as Penny Pritzker, a member of the family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, and who is now his campaign finance chair, and from Lee Rosenberg, a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Attempts to paint Obama as anything but pro-Israel should fail miserably.

This Khalidi thing is, clearly, distraction.  We are five days away from the election and the McCain camp is grasping for anything, as a losing campaing normally does.  I’ll be surprised, shocked even, if they get any traction out of this one.


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I figured it’d been too long since we’d had a good cartoon around here, so I went surfing over at Cagle and found this fabulous gem:

R.J. Matson, NY, The New York Observer and Roll Call, 10/26/08

R.J. Matson, NY, The New York Observer and Roll Call, 10/26/08

This reminds me of JJP’s penchant for calling McCain “Senator Country Last,”among other things. 

And then I came across this one which, among other great Halloween cartoons, just made me laugh:

Dwane Powell, Raleigh News & Observer

Dwane Powell, Raleigh News & Observer

Maybe it’s the obsession with all things Star Wars in my house.  Or maybe I’m just really, really … REALLY … ready for change.

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David Frum calls for retreat

In the Washington Post this morning, David Frum calls for a full scale retreat of conservatives from the McCain presidential campaign.  In his piece, “Sorry Senator.  Let’s Salvage What We Can,” Frum argues that all resources should be diverted to saving what the Republicans can in Congress:

There are many ways to lose a presidential election. John McCain is losing in a way that threatens to take the entire Republican Party down with him.

Frum cites a “senior Republican House member:”

There is not a safe Republican seat in the country.  I don’t mean that we’re going to lose all of them. But we could lose any of them.

Things aren’t better in the Senate where he cites 8 seats that could go down, including in such stalwart Republican states as Virginia (where Sen. John Warner’s seat … he’s retiring …. is almost a guaranteed loss) and North Carolina (where Elizabeth Dole will probably lose to Democrat Kay Hagan).  I’m getting almost daily emails about the GA race, where, extraordinarily, Republican Saxby Chambliss is in a death match against his Democratic opponent Jim Martin.  Democrats are not quick to forget the despicable campaign Chambliss ran against Dem Max Cleland last time around and the drag on Chambliss by the McCain campaign gives them just enough of a crack in the door to perhaps throw Chambliss through it. 

The Frum article takes a nasty turn when he begins to criticize “liberal Democrats” and MSNBC and the “left-wing blogosphere” for “a more militant style and an angry intolerance of dissent and criticism.”  That’s sort of a pot-meet-kettle argument.  The conservative media (think Limbaugh and O’Reilly for reference) has been, and continues to be, the most vitriolic voice on the airwaves.  The fact that Democrats are beginning to grow a collective spine should be threatening to the Republicans.  But militant?  Well, that’s a stretch.

Frum’s concern is that:

… this angry new wing of the Democratic Party will seek to stifle opposition by changing the rules of the political game. Some will want to silence conservative talk radio by tightening regulation of the airwaves via the misleadingly named “fairness doctrine”; others may seek to police the activities of right-leaning think tanks by a stricter interpretation of what is tax-deductible and what is not.

Angry?  Well, yeah, we’re angry.  We’re angry that the Republican administration has mucked about in our Constitution and tramped on our civil liberties.  We’re so angry, that we want stricter regulations to make sure that citizens are guaranteed free speech … even if we hate what they’re saying.  We want tighter controls to ensure that citizens cannot be surveilled without cause.  We’d like a strict interpretation of what is tax deductible so that folks going to church on Sunday won’t be subjected to political intimidation.  We’re angry enough to not want to silence conservative radio.  As much as we may hate the lies, the vitriol, the violence inspiring hate speech that can spew forth, we recognize that, too, is free speech and without it, this just wouldn’t be America. 

I encourage you to read the rest of Frum’s piece.  He lays out his opinion of what the Republican party should do at this point.  It’s a sort of cut and run strategy:  leave the McCain camp out to dry and focus on the Congress which will be your base for the next presidential election.  When leading conservatives begin calling for all support, both moral and financial, to be pulled from a presidential campaign, the writing is probably on the wall.

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Beyond outrage

Up until this … before this outrage … I have thought of Sarah Palin merely as a joke.  Yes, she’s unqualified.  Sure, maybe even a little dangerous.  But all in all, I have considered her more a sick joke played upon the electorate by a cynical Republican party than the outrageous, hateful, despicable and dangerous politican I see her as this morning.  I’ll grant you that I’m running on almost no sleep and am prone to fits of hyperbole, but this from the Brian Williams interview has truly put me over the edge:

Brian Williams: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition?

Sarah Palin: (Exasperated sigh.) There’s no question that Bill Ayers by his own admittance was one who thought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There is no question there. Now others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to, I don’t know if you’re gonna use the word “terrorist” there.

In a diary on Daily Kos, Meteor Blades put it best:

Under the pre-Patriot Act definition of the law, William Ayers and many of his compatriots in the Weather Underground certainly qualify as terrorists. Unlike the abortion clinic bombers and assassins, however, subsequent to the townhouse explosion in which three Weathermen blew themselves up in March 1970, the Weathermen gave advance warnings of their attacks.

The anti-choice terrorists didn’t warn Dr. Barnett Slepian and Robert Sanderson (killed in 1998) or Dr. Jack Fainman  and another unnamed physician (wounded in 1997) or Dr. Hugh Short (wounded in 1995) or Dr. John Bayard Britton, James H. Barrett, Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols (killed in 1994) or Dr. Garson Romalis and five others (wounded in 1994) or Dr. David Gunn (killed in 1993) or Dr. George Tiller (wounded in 1993).

Nor did they give warnings in most of the more than 200 clinic bombings and arsons since 1993, the most recent an unsolved case in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 2007.

During the interview, as you can see above, John McCain sits with his hands folded. So does he agree with Palin? Does he interrupt and say anti-choice assassins and bombers are definitely terrorists? No. Can he not use the word “terrorist” when it comes to these murderers? No. Which should come as no surprise, because, 15 years ago, when he was still supposedly a maverick, he twice voted against a law to prohibit blockades, bombings and arsons at abortion clinics.


Many Americans oppose abortion and want Roe v. Wade overturned. They have pursued lawful means to obtain their ends. Extremists have pursued other means, willingly murdering and maiming in their crusade to crush women’s reproductive rights. Most law-abiding anti-choice Americans have condemned these extremists. But neither Sarah Palin nor John McCain will call them what they are. Palin is, in effect, giving these terrorists a wink and a nod. Pro-life, my ass.

I couldn’t agree more.



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No need to be surprised

Marc Ambinder reports that John McCain will appear on Imus tomorrow morning.  Color me surprised.  (All possible reads and misreads into that last statement intended.)

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