Friday, September 26, 2008

Former Congressman John Buchanan (R-AL) Wonders What happened To The John McCain He Knew And Supported


I serve on the board of directors of a large, esteemed, nonpartisan public affairs organization in Washington-- my one official connection to the world Inside the Beltway. A few years ago I sat next to a Board member I was just getting to know, former Congressman John Buchanan of Alabama, a Republican. He represented a part of northern Alabama that takes its Republicanism seriously. He told me a fascinating piece of history I had never heard, about how one county, Winston, even seceded from Alabama when Alabama seceded from the Union. Congressman Buchanan was still an Abe Lincoln type Republican when he became the first victim of the Christian Coalition a century later. The fledgling Coalition ran a far right extremist in a primary against him, a successful primary (which eventually resulted in the district falling to Democrats). Anyway, my fellow-board member sent me a requiem for an old friend of his today: John McCain, someone who had had voted for in the Republican Party primary just a few months ago. Congressman Buchanan's letter:
I write to mourn the passing of a true American hero, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Like millions of other Americans, I have thanked God for his courage, enduring years of hardship and even torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, being a source of strength to his fellow prisoners and becoming a role model for us all. I have celebrated his integrity and straight talk through later years as a long-term United State Senator.

As a Republican, I voted for him in his run for the Presidency eight years ago, and marveled at how well he handled the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, conceived in Hell and brought to earth through the merciless, evil forces of Karlrovian politics, which cost him the race, but not, in the words of our founding fathers, his sacred honor...

I voted for that same man of character again in 2008. And now he is no more, leaving our country less than it would be if he remained among us, and leaving people like me only fond memories of the man he used to be.

The Republican candidate this year for the Presidency of the United States is proving himself to be a very unfunny caricature of the John McCain we knew and loved and now have lost, and we have reason to grieve. He is using the same oft repeated big lie strategy of bearing false witness against Obama that was used against him in 2000. The real John McCain was above such nefarious tactics. He would instead be running an honest and honorable campaign on the real and important issues our country faces in this election.

Even worse, the pseudo John McCain has put within a heartbeat of the Presidency, should he win, someone totally unprepared to lead our country, much less the free world, in these perilous times. There are people of both genders in both parties with the knowledge, experience, judgment and character to assume the helm if necessary. His nominee is not one of them. He recklessly chose someone with no such knowledge or experience, who is on the far right extreme of the political spectrum, and who is joining him in setting truth on its head in this campaign.

Those who choose to poison the well of American politics can win elections that way, while truth and justice weep. Those who call forth the best that is in us can also win, and truth, justice and our country win with them. I mourn the passing of John McCain. The best way we can honor him and serve the American people is to roundly defeat the Republican ticket in this election.

John H. Buchanan

Former Member of Congress

(R) Alabama

In a postscript he added that "for our country's sake, I hope... Barack Obama, becomes our next president." One hears more and more Republicans saying that nearly every day. I know it's very difficult for some of them. Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, who seems to have become a family friend of the McCains over the years, expressed much the same sentiment, writing about McCain at HuffPo today.
"I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war," he has said throughout this campaign. Yet, in choosing Palin, he has demonstrated-- whatever his words-- it may be permissible to imperil the country, conceivably even to "lose" it, in order to win the presidency. That would seem the deeper meaning of his choice of Palin.

Indeed, no presidential nominee of either party in the last century has seemed so willing to endanger the country's security as McCain in his reckless choice of a running mate. He is 72 years old; has had four melanomas, a particularly voracious form of cancer; refuses to release his complete medical records. Three of our last eleven presidents (and nine of all 43) have come to office unexpectedly in mid-term from the vice presidency: Truman, who within days of FDR's death was confronted with the decision of whether to drop the atom bomb on Japan; Lyndon Johnson, who took the oath in Dallas after JFK's assassination; Gerald Ford, sworn in following the resignation of Richard Nixon. A fourth vice president, George H.W. Bush, briefly exercised the powers of the presidency after the near-assassination of Ronald Reagan.

Given that history, what does John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin-- the cavalier, last-minute process of her selection and careless vetting; and her over-briefed, fact-lite performance since-- reveal about this military man who has attested to us for years that he is guided by his personal code of honor? "Two things I will never do," McCain told me, "are [to] lie to the American people, or put my electoral interests before the national interest"-- an obvious precursor of "I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war."



At 10:20 AM, Blogger Distributorcap said...

but we live in a country that is soaking in american idol - and that is what sarah palin is --- the AI candidate

and the people who like her - are eating it up. who cares if she is not qualified or prepared. she is kewl

we are screwed if she gets in the office


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