Wednesday, October 01, 2008

McCain Was A Worse Pilot Than Bush-- And, Yes, He'd Be A Worse President Too


Holiday in Cambodia Turtle Island

Many Democrats and independents have been thinking how much better-- and more Mavericky-- McCain is than your run of the mill Republican and, buying into the well-greased multi-million dollar hype machine that has been at work 24/7 for decades, there is some thought that McCain is somehow "better," or at least less dangerous, than Republicans like Bush, Cheney, and the menagerie of political midgets he beat to win the primary. That would be faulty thinking. There is nothing that has come shooting out at us from the deep, dark bowels of the Republican Party as bad as John McCain.

Put aside for a moment the virtually lockstep rubber stamp voting record, craftily disguised to appear semi-independent on a rare much-ballyhooed occasion or two. And forget for a moment the staggering contempt he must feel for all of us to have, at 72 and gravely ill, named an utterly unqualified and inexperienced small town bigot from Alaska his political successor. (And if it isn't contempt, my friends, then it is surely judgment so egregiously bad as to disqualify him.) Instead let's look at the man who would be president.

Yesterday a Professor of Classic Literature & Arts, Mary-Kay Gamel, stepped forward and gave the kind of powerful personal account of a vacation she had spent with the McCains earlier in the decade. This is not a decent man. This is not a stable man. This is not what his hype machine presents to the American people. I recommend you read Professor Gamel's entire post. Some highlights:
I was irritated at his large ego and his rude behavior towards his wife and other women, but decided he must have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh. I asked him about this one day, and his response was shocking: "Oh, that was Cindy's idea-- I didn't have anything to do with it. She just went and adopted this thing without even asking me. You can't imagine how people stare when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in Arizona.

No, it wasn't my idea at all."

I actively avoided McCain after that, but unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political discussion which soon got us on the topic of the active US bombing of Iraq at that time. I was shocked when he said, "If I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a lesson." Given McCain's personal experience with the horrors of war, I had expected a more balanced point of view.

I commented on the tragic consequences of the nuclear attacks on Japan during WWII-- but no, he was not to be dissuaded. He went on to say that if it was up to him he would have dropped many more nuclear bombs on Japan.

It was courageous of Professor Gamel to come forward and testify about the Real McCain. I hope it isn't too late and I hope it won't get lost in the shuffle and hype. Tim Dickinson's revelations about McCain, the make-believe Maverick in the latest issue of Rolling Stone may not have the emotional content of Professor Gamel's story, but it is something every American heading for the polling both in November ought to read and consider carefully. Dickinson makes a powerful effort to unmask the real John McCain, "the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather."
In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

...In his current campaign, however, McCain has become the kind of politician he ran against in 2000. He has embraced those he once denounced as "agents of intolerance," promised more drilling and deeper tax cuts, even compromised his vaunted opposition to torture. Intent on winning the presidency at all costs, he has reassembled the very team that so viciously smeared him and his family eight years ago, selecting as his running mate a born-again moose hunter whose only qualification for office is her ability to electrify Rove's base. And he has engaged in a "practice of politics" so deceptive that even Rove himself has denounced it, saying that the outright lies in McCain's campaign ads go "too far" and fail the "truth test."

As more and more people start to grapple with who exactly the real McCain is, his poll ratings plummet. Today polls in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania show him trailing Obama so significantly that people are starting to use the word "landslide" again.

Even when a member of the elite media insiders who McCain has cultivated so assiduously over the years, Maureen Dowd, slipped up and let a bit of the cat out of the bag about what kind of a man McCain really is ("a long-tailed rat" who has continued to shamelessly flash "the P.O.W. card to rebut any criticism, no matter how unrelated") an enraged and out of control McCain kicked her off his plane in Pittsburgh and told her to walk home, crowing about her humiliation as a way of showing how independent he is of the very media he used to build his fake reputation. Many members of the media are sorry now that they've been part of the McCain hype machine and have helped cover up the real man and create a myth than many Americans have bought into. This isn't part of the myth:

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At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is must be more than a little mind-boggling that McPlaneCrash lost to the worst president in recent history.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please note: It was not Professor Gamel who was on that vacation. She's making public a letter sent to her by a friend. This is not to say that it's not true (we still need to find that out).

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Damn! Why isn't this story getting out more?

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reverse Ace McCain--As a pilot he destroyed 5 American planes.

If his Daddy wasn't an Admiral, he'd have been thrown out of the Navy way before he was ever shot down.

At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... WAS written by Gamel. It was emailed by Shakina Nayfack, MFA PhD (ABD). Nayfack is the one who prefaces the email saying: Hi Friends,

The story below is from a professor I knew at UC Santa Cruz. Please read and pass it along to everyone you know, especially folks who might still be undecided about the upcoming presidential elections.

In Community,

Shakina's friend is Gamel.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So would the real letter writer please stand up?


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