Friday, March 28, 2008



Bush's media strategy wasn't too much for McKinnon to take, but McCain's...

Mark McKinnon worked for Bush in 2000 and 2004 as his chief media advisor. You may recall those were two of the dirtiest, nastiest most shameful political campaigns ever run. Needless to say, McCain could barely wait to hire him-- which he did. A couple months ago we talked about how McKinnon, now the chief media strategist for McCain, the most media-dependent candidate in history ("the media is my base") promises to leave the campaign rather than run the kind of filthy and divisive negative smear attack ads the lobbyists who call the shots over at McCain Headquarters have devised. Today McKinnon was on the radio, reiterating his promises to leave the McCain camp rather than run the negative strategy on Obama, who he admires and respects. The far right of the GOP coalition moved into attack mode against him immediately, some smearing him as gay. Would anything less be expected from them?

Winning the presidency is very serious business-- and I do mean business-- for the far right. They don't like or trust McCain but they know, in the end, he will do what they tell him to do; except when he loses his temper or has his more and more frequent "McCain moments," he always has. As Paul Krugman pointed out today, in regard to domestic policy, McCain is anything but a moderate or a maverick. "McCain, we’re told, is a straight-talking maverick. But on domestic policy, he offers neither straight talk nor originality; instead, he panders shamelessly to right-wing ideologues." And what is true for domestic policy is even more the case for international policy, where McCain and Bush see eye to eye on the catastrophic and failed approach to international relations. McCain's hothead demeanor and his innate nastiness presages even choppier waters ahead though.

But why would anyone vote for someone espousing the kinds of anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-middle class policies we've all watched drag the country down under Bush? Needless to say, it is the job of Mr. McKinnon to present McCain in an entirely different light than his record would. Today I heard another of McCain's staffers on the radio-- an economics policy advisor who worked in the White House during Bush's first term-- and he was trying to make the point that McCain's approval of $400 billion for greedy and selfish bankers on Wall Street has nothing to do with McCain's opposition to $30 billion for what they see as irresponsible bums who lost their homes because of some kind of inherent moral failings. The spin was so intense I started getting dizzy and nearly pulled off the side of the road.

The Real McCain is completely out of step with what American voters are looking for in a president. That has led them to the smear campaign McKinnon wants nothing to do with and to rolling out another re-invention of McCain. (I used to be the General Manager of Sire Records, Madonna's label; I know about re-invention. And when I was president of Reprise Records, if there was anything I missed on the Madonna tip, I learned when we rolled out Cher v.76.9.)

McCain will run from his voting record and try to make the election about "islamofascism" and play on every kind of ugly fear the right always uses to divide and mislead people. Here's what he won't be talking about:
• His recent votes against the expansion of the SCHIP program.
• His opposition to the current Medicare prescription drug program on the basis that it gives too many benefits to too many seniors.
• His support for changing the tax treatment of employer-provided health benefits as a component for funding health care for low-income individuals.
• His support for free trade agreements and favorable trade treatment for China.
• His view, stated during the primary campaign, that while today Americans are facing tough economic times the country is better off economically than it was eight years ago.
• His slowness to call for urgent action to deal with the housing finance situation.
• His past admissions of knowing less about the details of economic policy than about national security issues.

McCain's tranformation into McBush, his willingness-- even eagerness-- to cast away his carefully crafted image as a maverick and a moderate independent, is not something McKinnon will find easy to deal with if he stays aboard the Double Talk Express. So eager was McCain to grasp for the White House that he has shifted drastically on many fundamental positions in order to cater to extremists in his own party.

He has flipped and flopped all over the board on immigration reform, from working with Ted Kennedy on serious reform to championing fences and deportations and anything else the extreme right demands. Similarly he voted against Bush's tax cuts and now says he wants deeper tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations. The old John McCain wanted to close gun show loophole but the more elderly John McCain doesn't care-- as long as you make him president and let him bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb whoever he wants he couldn't care less about loopholes or gun control or anything else. John McCain as just another craven political hack with “wishy-washy” views that shift with the seasons-- or, rather, with his own short term political needs. A leader? Hardly.

His 19th century views on health care-- particularly women's health-- makes him appear out of touch with modern day realities. His claims to be a moderate are not born out by his voting record on women's issues. McCain is not 70% anti-choice and he's not 90% anti-choice... no, not even 99.9% anti-choice. His voting record is 100% anti-choice (and anti-contraception!). There is not one member of the United States senator more radical right than McCain when it comes to women's rights to control their own bodies. Several extremist maniacs, though, are tied with him-- like John Cornyn (TX), James Inhofe (OK), David Vitter (LA) [hopefully he uses contraceptives when he visits all his ladies of the night], Saxby Chambliss (GA), Mitch McConnell (KY), Jim DeMint (SC)... Those are the senators with identcal voting records. Would anyone accuse them of being moderates? Maverick? Independent? I don't think so. These are the half dozen most bizarre extremist in the Senate. Actual moderate Republicans have voting records on women's health that look nothing whatsoever like McCain's. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) may be a bit right of center but you can at least see the center. Her voting record compares to McCain's like night to day. Same story with Arlen Specter (R-PA). Even hard core conservatives like Ted Stevens (R-AK), John Warner (R-VA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) make McCain look like he's far, far from the mainstream he always tries portraying himself as part of. McCain is on the record to overturn Rose v Wade and criminalize abortion. He freely admits it-- if you can pin him down and answer the question straight.

McCain is convinced that virtually the only important problem worth his time and energy is what he insists is the greatest threat to America: "radical Islamic extremism." He's obsessed as Cheney... and eager to be the next war president. And I do mean EAGER. Bush's job approval rating is hovering between 18-24%. Those people should probably vote for McCain because if they think Bush has been doing a good job, they'll love McCain. The other 76-82% should look elsewhere.

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At 9:14 AM, Anonymous IludiumPhosdex said...

But then again, how much longer before John McCain will be expected to parrot the Religiopolitical Right's line about homosexuality being a Greater Threat to American National Identity than Islamic extremism and the socioeconomic fallout of the ur-RAHOWA?


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