2008-08-24

This is why I don't hate John McCain

I'm not a fan of John McCain. I think he decided a few years ago to pretty much align himself with George W. Bush and has been happy to parrot right wing boilerplate ever since he announced his candidacy for the 2008 election. His economic policies are dangerous and he seems to have little idea what his actual positions are on issues.

Having said that, with all the standard rumours entering the various echo-chambers making it hard to think, I have decided to reject some of the more standard attacks.

First of all, I think that his service for the US Navy as a Skyhawk pilot was brave. He was certainly braver than George W. Bush who managed to avoid the war by defending the Republic of Texas as part of the Air National Guard. As a pilot McCain may have been a bit of a jerk, but then a lot of fighter pilots are. He did his job, bombing targets during the Vietnam war, a war which I think was a big mistake for America to get involved in but I blame the leaders at the time (Johnson, McNamara and 1st term Nixon) not those who fought in it. I think he did stellar service and anyone who is happy to point out his shortcomings as a navy aviator needs to understand that many of them aren't perfect. McCain did get shot down and was imprisoned and was tortured. That, of course, was a horrible thing, but I'd wish he'd used his experience of being tortured to explain to the American people why those in Guantanamo Bay, who underwent similiar treatment, were being tortured as well. Nevertheless I don't think McCain's service in Vietnam - as pilot and as prisoner of war - was anything but brave. Along with Vietnam Veterans such as Al Gore and John Kerry, we should recognise his service.

Secondly, it is true that McCain committed adultery while his first wife was sick in hospital. As a result of this infidelity he left his first wife and married the woman he committed adultery with - which is his current wife. McCain's actions were definitely immoral in a Christian sense, but there's no way I would describe McCain as being a Christian anyway. Having said that, a public official's private life should only be of importance if he or she has broken the law and disqualified himself or herself from public office. McCain, like many politicians (including Bill Clinton and John Kerry), has had marital difficulties and/or problems with adultery. Just as it was not enough to disqualify others from public office, so too is it not enough to disquality John McCain.

Thirdly, John McCain was one of the Keating Five, a group of US Senators who were involved in a corruption scandal in 1989. McCain admitted his wrongdoing to Congress but none of the five were jailed. Had voters been up in arms about McCain, he would not have been re-elected by the state of Arizona as their Senator in 1992. Obviously Arizonans know McCain and have been happy with his service in the Senate both before and since the Keating Five scandal.

Fourthly, a lot of mention has been made lately about McCain not knowing how many houses he owns. As a rich man, McCain's inability to remember his personal assets is understandable. Okay, he is not "like ordinary people" and maybe if he has been presenting himself that way then that would be a bit problematic. I don't have any problem with a rich man in public service. John Kerry and his wife had multiple properties as well, and John Edwards probably did spend a lot of money on a haircut. McCain spent a lot of money of his shoes. This is not a reason to portray someone as being elitist of out of touch as it can probably be said that 99% of all members of congress are elitist and "out of touch", even right wing politicians who have convinced their voters that they aren't. Besides, I agree with Jon Stewart on this one - not only do I want an elite president, but I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me.

So, is John McCain a horrible person? A lying liar who has managed to cover up his incompetent past in order to progress politically? Definitely not. I think if he were to become president he would be better than many of his predecessors (Bush 2 and Nixon for starters).

However, McCain is a Republican, and Republican politicians are more to blame for America's current economic problems than Democrats are, and Republicans are more to blame for America's loss of standing in the world than Democrats are. If he follows through with his economic promises he will continue America's stupid fascination with Voodoo Eocnomics (aka Supply side economics). Moreover, while I don't think Barack Obama is the Messiah I certainly don't think he's the antichrist either, and I think he represents a far better choice for both America's present and future.

6 comments:

BLBeamer said...

Barack Obama is not the Messiah? What about all those sick children he healed merely by looking at them?

I went to go see him when he came to Seattle earlier this year. I was able to touch the hem of his garment and I was immediately healed of an effusion of blood, so I think you better reconsider your opinion.

One Salient Oversight said...

I think you might need a colonoscopy...

BLBeamer said...

BTW, I like Jon Stewart - I think he's funny - but I have to disagree with him. Three of our most "superior" presidents (in Stewart's definition of the term) had administrations whose baleful effects still haunt our country to a certain degree: Wilson, Hoover and Nixon.

So, "superiority" does not seem to be a necessary trait for a successful president.

One Salient Oversight said...

Wow. Tell me, what has been the result of inferior, non-elitist presidents with little in the way of critical thinking who surrounds themselves with men who can simply tell him what to do?

I can think of one president in that category, and his legacy will be far, far worse than the three you mentioned.

apodeictic said...

You state "there's no way I would describe McCain as being a Christian". Are you aware that McCain himself claims to be a Christian (and also attend church)? On what basis then you are willing to contradict McCain's own claim to faith in Christ? Do you have some kind of window into his soul?

If you watch the Saddleback forum (available on youtube) both Obama and McCain claim to be Christian and answer the question of what faith in Christ means to them. Now I'm fully aware that it's possible for someone to claim to be a Christian and not to be. But what reason do you have for suggesting that McCain is not a Christian when he himself states that he is?

BLBeamer said...

Wow. Tell me, what has been the result of inferior, non-elitist presidents with little in the way of critical thinking who surrounds themselves with men who can simply tell him what to do?

I don't know. Ask me in four years after we've had a chance to observe President Obama in action.

Ba-da-bing!

Seriously, though, just because I don't think "superiority" is a necessary trait for a successful presidency doesn't mean I think "inferiority" is a necessary or desirable trait.

You didn't mean to imply that those three have laudable legacies, did you?