John McCain Channels Reagan: Both the Good and the Troubling

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mccain thumbs twn.jpg
John McCain said tonight: “America doesn’t hide from history. America makes its history.”
This perhaps is the truest statement in McCain’s genteel, polite, and fairly unambitious speech tonight. America has in its past focused on major problems and figured out strategies to overcome them.
But while I liked John McCain’s manner tonight — for the most part — though there were lots of veiled references to Obama being a self-seduced believer in his own indispensability which I didn’t like — McCain gave us a roster of things he’d do which are clearly part of today’s incrementalism and an inertia of the past.
There were some odd moments, including talking about helping individuals who had lost their home in the sub-prime crisis and others who were working long hours and multiple jobs or who had become economic victims of corporate off-shoring. For the most part, McCain’s policy response to these sorts of problems have been tax cuts — not focused efforts that would help those who have been squished in today’s poorly regulated and turbo-charged global financial turbulence.
On health care, he spoke about helping more people but not all. How can he explain not trying to put a plan in place that would move those least well off into some sort of safety net? He didn’t touch that.
Compared to Barack Obama’s speech, there was a lot more policy detail — a lot of it actually. But taken as a whole, the package of proposals seemed anachronistic, tied to a past way of doing things — not jumping forward into a new world of institutional arrangements abroad and at home, a new social contract if you will here in America as well as a new global social contract with other nations.
But John McCain tonight sold his ability to work across the aisle — which Obama can do as well — but he also sold his POW experience and his toughness and competency in dealing with national security issues.
But here again, McCain didn’t give us Eisenhower, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Truman (I know. . .a Dem — but he did drop the bomb), or even Nixon. He gave us a big dose of Ronald Reagan’s national greatness flourish in a dignified, genteel and pleasant manner. In fact, now that I think about it, his speaking style reminded me a lot of Reagan — without the memorable lines. The ending of the speech was good though — and probably memorable.
But this was mostly about war and definiing America through conflicts and unfinished wars and occupations. Though he said he wanted to build a lasting, enduring peace — McCain gave the outlines of a neoconservative national security agenda fashioned by Fred and Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, Randy Scheunemann, and others that I feel will further undermine’s America’s global standing and position. His long time aide and alter-ego Mark Salter wrote the speech, but while Salter is a strong national security advocate, he’s not yet a part of the most inner sanctum of neoconservative thinking and designs.
McCain tried to portray a deep calm and was reserved, in sober control to assuage those who think his irritability and temper will define him in moments of crisis. He reminded people that though he is 72, his 96 year old mother is still in top form. He made a case that he was a regular, self-indulgent military officer who placed himself and his fun and needs before his nation — before he was captured and tortured in Vietnam. Now, he says — he works for the people and the nation.
I won’t rip into John McCain for this commitment to service. I’ve spent some time with him and his closest aides — and I know that he and they are sincere.
I just don’t believe he understands how important it is to see that this is a major moment of historical discontinuity for the world and for the United States. To preserve America’s constructive global role and to offset more calamity at home and abroad — we need to talk about more than drilling off the coast, and keeping down taxes (while oddly continuing to beef up the US military and its obligations without regard to receipts to pay for this).
McCain’s program, his manifesto tonight, and his VP running mate choice of Sarah Palin — seem not about “shaking up” the substance of policy but rather about shaking up the optics of politics.
At the Democratic Convention, I was very taken by Senator John Kerry’s speech in Denver which outlined the large gap between positions taken by Senator John McCain vs. presidential candidate John McCain.
I think McCain is trying to be both about continuity and change — and that’s a tough thing to do.
I give him credit for his civility tonight. He has attack dogs now all around him — Sarah Palin, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, and others — and know McCain is going to try to be about hope and change in sort of an Obamaesque way we think.
Fascinating and less fiery ending than I expected after two weeks of conventions.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

42 comments on “John McCain Channels Reagan: Both the Good and the Troubling

  1. Diane Smith says:

    I believe this was the end of the McCain/Pawlenty ticket. – Governor Pawlenty announced publicly last May he fully intended to complete his term of office – a public rejection for the ticket . McCain is not someone I would EVER want in my corner during catastrophe:
    Minneapolis Star/Tribune; May 1, 2008 –
    Pawlenty corrects McCain on 35W bridge collapse
    He dismissed the senator’s suggestion that pork-barrel spending was the cause, but DFLers are irate.
    By MARK BRUNSWICK, Star Tribune
    Last update: May 1, 2008 – 8:55 PM
    “Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty found himself backed into the uncomfortable position of gently contradicting GOP presidential front-runner and political mentor John McCain Thursday, saying everyone should refrain from “rushing to judgment” on the causes of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.
    McCain said on Wednesday that wasteful, pork-barrel spending was responsible for the disaster, but Pawlenty said federal investigators suspect a design flaw unrelated to recent spending decisions and said the experts should be allowed to complete their work.
    On Thursday, facing increasing criticism from Democrats, McCain backed off from his statement.
    Insisting that McCain owed Minnesota an apology for “disgusting” comments, DFLers jumped in to deride Pawlenty for not denouncing McCain’s politicization of the issue and said the disagreement shows that Pawlenty, a co-chairman of McCain’s national campaign, must not be a real candidate to be McCain’s running mate.
    Pawlenty told reporters on Thursday that he left a message with McCain campaign staffers to remind them that the investigation into the cause of the bridge collapse is not complete but that early indications suggested the disaster was caused by design flaws and weight distribution from construction on the bridge at the time.
    In Pennsylvania on Wednesday, McCain told reporters: “The bridge in Minneapolis didn’t collapse because there wasn’t enough money. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects.”
    At a campaign stop in Cleveland Thursday, facing increasing heat for his remarks, McCain backed off, saying, “Do I know specifically whether [better spending priorities] would have replaced that bridge in Minneapolis? No, but I know that funding would have been available for higher-priority projects.”
    Pawlenty never directly contradicted McCain’s comments but said they emerged from McCain’s larger frustration over congressional earmarking that Pawlenty said resulted in wasteful spending.
    “He’s making the general statement that Congress has underserved the country by doing pork-barrel spending and earmarking in transportation projects and clearly that’s the case and I agree with that,” Pawlenty said. “Then he suggested that other things could be better had they not done that. He may not just be aware of all the details of the [National Transportation Safety Board’s] work. I think once he learns of that, I’m sure he’ll incorporate that into his thinking.”
    Stronger scolding of DFLers
    Earlier this year, Pawlenty used stronger language to chastise Democratic critics, saying they should “quit using the bridge, quit exploiting the bridge tragedy to advance their political agendas” after a preliminary report pointed to the design flaw rather than deferred maintenance as a tentative cause of the collapse.
    Responding to McCain’s remarks and Pawlenty’s defense of them, Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said McCain made a mistake and owes the citizens of Minnesota an apology.
    “Candidates just about at any level are going to manipulate any statistic and emotion that they can to get elected,” Murphy said. “I think this was just plain flat out disgusting behavior on Senator McCain’s part.”
    Murphy also challenged Pawlenty, who frequently has campaigned for McCain and has been mentioned repeatedly as a possible vice presidential candidate with McCain.
    “You would think that if Governor Pawlenty was a serious vice presidential consideration by Senator McCain, that Senator McCain might have wanted to talk to the governor in regards to the 35 bridge before he made those statements.”
    U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, whose district includes the bridge collapse site, also was critical of McCain’s remarks, suggesting he should have consulted Pawlenty about the real causes.
    “Minnesota has yet to heal from the wounds inflicted by this tragedy of the bridge collapse. Thirteen of our citizens lost their lives and 143 suffered serious injury, and all of us are still shaken,” Ellison said in a statement. “The last thing we need is a misinformed presidential aspirant posturing at our expense.”
    Obama also cited bridge
    A McCain campaign spokeswoman said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been mentioning the bridge collapse in stump speeches for days in relation to a suggestion by McCain and Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton for a federal gas-tax holiday this summer.
    “Obama was clearly playing politics with it; Senator McCain responded to a question in a press conference,” said spokeswoman Crystal Benton, who also called criticism of McCain by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, an Obama supporter, “disingenuous at best.”
    The dust-up reinforced the close alliance between Pawlenty and McCain and renewed what has become a constant hum of talk about Pawlenty finding a role in a possible McCain administration.
    Following his remarks on McCain’s comments, Pawlenty was asked about an earlier pledge to serve out his full term as governor.
    “I’m focused on my job staying in Minnesota and being governor,” he said. Asked specifically if he stood by his pledge to serve the full four years, Pawlenty said: “That is my intention.”
    I’m a Minnesotan – period.

    Reply

  2. Scott Gilmore says:

    As a regular reader of your blog I enjoy your perspective. Sometimes agree, sometimes disagree. Your observation about McCain’s speech stunned me: “Compared to Barack Obama’s speech, there was a lot more policy detail — a lot of it actually.” This is not a matter of perspective but data/fact. McCains speech was almost totally free of any policy detail. That is unless you regard calling for less or more of something to be policy detail. Obama included actual numbers in describing his policy positions. McCain, nothing but political rhetoric. Your mischaracterization is so obvious I cannot help but calculate it to be intentional.
    You completely whiffed on this one. Completely!

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  3. James Refalo PhD says:

    John McCain’s emphasis on fiscal discipline and reducing government spending is far from being dated policy. It is was that exactly those conservative policies which led to the phenomenal growth of the 90’s, and which were abandon by Bush and the Republicans over the last eight years. (Recall that in the 90’s that with Clinton in the White House and the Republicans controlling congress, there was no agreement on spending, and nothing got spent.)
    To be blunt, GW and the Republicans did not follow Republican policies after being elected. They instead mimicked those of LBJ. John McCain has made it quite clear that he intends to reverse that.
    I do feel that we should follow somewhat more protective trade policies, at a minimum, reciprocal trade polices and restrictions to protect strategic industries. The idea that free trade maximizes growth is based on academic models that are often themselves unrealistic. But McCain has the right message, control spending and we grow.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tony. It has constantly amazed me that you see these posturing pieces of shit on the left as anything resembling White Knights riding to our rescue.
    If that was the case, Bush/Cheney would currently be locked up after having had committed INDISPUTABLE high crimes and treason.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “George Bush “a fascist”? To paraphrase Sen. Bentsen: I am a German, I have met former fascists, SS and all, and Bush is not a fascist”
    Really? Than go to St Paul and try to get within hearing distance of these posturing GOP pieces of shit with a protest sign.

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  6. Sweetness says:

    Tony asks: “Where do you stand????”
    I stand with you, Tony, and Obama…though we probably don’t
    share common ground on all the specifics.
    I would point out, however, that Obama doesn’t say much of
    what you say. So I’m wondering how you square that circle.
    Carroll: We clearly have our differences over matters to do with
    Israel and Jews. However, you have moved my thinking on the
    subject of the US being the ruler of the world. I tend to think we
    haven’t moved beyond basic thinking and stance that was
    forged at the start of the Cold War. Yes, the Cold War is over,
    nominally, but we still don’t know how to act differently than we
    did.
    As to the election, if you don’t vote for Obama, you ARE voting
    for McCain. This isn’t opinion or a matter of principle or
    conscience…it’s a simple matter of math.

    Reply

  7. Chris says:

    Steve, I don’t actually expect you to read this far down in the comment threads, but I expect you to be less gullible than to say, “I give [McCain] credit for his civility tonight. He has attack dogs now all around him” and think it reflects anything other than a cynical calculation that McCain is trying to incite a partisan brawl between Obama/Biden and Palin/the rest of the “attack dogs,” so he can present himself as above the partisan strife.
    And get elected, as a Republican, to implement conservative Republican policies.
    Or maybe it was an accident that he’s on a ticket with a right-wing conservative with a taste for abusing power, and she gave a red-meat speech heavy on sarcasm and light on solutions.
    Exactly how “sincere” do you think McCain and his staff are about *anything*, here?

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  8. Kathleen says:

    If the end of the speech was “memorable’ it was because he was channeling Dennis Kucinch, but missing his sincerity…he should have played bob marley’s song, Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.
    I guess the criteria for securing your party’s nomination is being a copy-cat. both candidates stole lines from Hillary’s speech…the bit about this election being about us not them and how they’ll be getting up each day to work for us…sure….
    The whole scene was so retro I was expecting them to drag out Wally and the Beaver…quick, let me go dig up my Mom’s old formica and chrome kitchen set…I felt like I was in a time machine…back to the 50’s….except for the price tag on Cindy’s outfits… a hefty $300,000 for one outifit alone…..with alcohol the number one killer in America, we really need a booze heiress for a model in the White House… very neat the way they skipped over her homewrecking in her biography…..so upstanding and Amuuuurican……my enthusiam for this election flatlined and I just can’t poke it back to life…..as McPain went through the list of whom he does not work for, I could only think of Dylan’s song, aint gon work on Maggie’s farm no mo…

    Reply

  9. DonS says:

    I agree with Dan, no message, no strategy. Except, I believe, all emotion and controversy all the time. So McCain’s performance last night was the contrived face of a campaign without substance. Who’s surprised. The repubs are finished as a force, except for the emotional messianism of the right wing zealots.
    It strikes me as incredible to watch that convention, and I watched more of their damn speeches than any normal adult should, that many speakers railed against the excesses of government, the size, the spending, the waste etc, etc, when we KNOW that the repubs led the charge from day one (dems were complicit of course but will this make them mute to the repub fiscal rape? as in fear of being seen as “soft on big governement”, etc?). And Bush didn’t veto diddly.
    This, if you can call it a strategy, is Rovian in the sense of bald face contradictory lies on top of lies.

    Reply

  10. Dan Kervick says:

    What is striking is that at this late date the Republicans still don’t seem to know how they want to run against Obama, and appear to have no settled strategy for victory. That convention had no coherent message. It was week of shrill partisanship and old-time conservative religion. But now John McCain is suddenly an agent of “change” and bi-partisan co-operation?
    McCain has had several months to prove this latter assertion to the American public, but instead has run a very partisan campaign, which just made a dramatic lurch to the right last week with the Palin selection. Then they jump back on the last night of the convention to the message that John McCain is a maverick who has a record of occasional bipartisanship. Who is in charge of crafting the Republican message and sticking to it? It sure looks like they have a serious “too many cooks” problem, and have weak leadership and discipline coming down from the top of the campaign.
    Now McCain thinks he is going to convince people that the party of Sarah Palin is going to bring steady leadership and bi-partisan co-operation to Washington, and that Obama has no record of bipartisanship. This is a silly and ineffective line to take, since Obama’s major legislative accomplishments in both the Illinois Senate and the US Senate were bipartisan bills, including bills in both bodies on ethics reform, and a major bill on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
    The Obama campaign seems to plot a long-term strategy that they stick to. The McCain campaign, on the other hand, seems to be blown this way and that by impulses and daily events. We could expect the same kind of weak and erratic leadership if McCain were elected. McCain caved in and gave the wingers what they wanted this week, and that boosted the spirits of the conservative base for a few nights. But he threw away the rest of the country in order to do it.
    He just doesn’t look on top of things. You can’t just suddenly convince people that you represent change by opening your mouth and saying “I want change.”

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    . . . CAN’T do email”

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    I heard the speech as bland, but I guess the effort to project “calm” may have be intended.
    I found an awkward discontinuity, almost anachronistic as Steve characterizes it, just in the phrase and way that McCain mouthed “prosperity and peace”. Any fair reading of McCain over the months is that he is all about war. Where is the peace to come if this is a “dangerous” world requiring continual war?
    McCain took the “Russia invaded Georgia” meme lock, stock and barrel, to further yoke America any policy to anachronistic thinking and saber rattling, while saying at the same time no return to cold war. What’s the damn difference if your instincts are bellicose?
    I did not find the ending rhetorical flourishes and war cry powerful. I’d have to say I found it contrived and oily. But I can see how others would react another way.
    The crowd was the usual mix of Republican fat (in some cases literal) cats and mouth breathers. It seemed incogruous for McCain to be directly addressing, as the construction of the speech clearly did, their economic hardship. All I could imagine was that the crowd was thinking “Wha? Yea right?” To be honest he could have clarified that he and the fat cats were doing alright Jack.
    A real hoot was McCain’s embrace of information technology. This from a guy who still can do email. Sounded hollow.

    Reply

  13. alan says:

    Steve: I know this is your blog; but too much of your recent posts reflect an inability to be critical because, as you say, you know your subjects personally.
    I have watched the Republicans these past eight years; and McCain went along for the ride. His pretense about changing the game is just that: anything to win.

    Reply

  14. Jim McKay says:

    You said…
    his speaking style reminded me a lot of Reagan — without the memorable lines.
    And with a wooden delivery and gestures, not much passion, and a whole lot of misdirection. He wrapped himself in the context of his film bio that preceeded him, and deviated preciously little outside it’s bounds.
    I give him credit for his civility tonight. He has attack dogs now all around him — Sarah Palin, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, and others — and know McCain is going to try to be about hope and change in sort of an Obamaesque way we think.
    Geez… what kind of schizophrenic statement is that? McCain’s “approved this message” portraying Obama as a “celebrity” compared to Paris Hilton (aired during opening ceremonies to Olympics), overseen a convention that’s worked overtime to charactarize Obama as a “community organizer” in derisive terms, announced Palin will not be available to the press after a host of “mis-statements” entirely undermining her self-described record (eg: windfall tax on on oil companies returning $1200 to each Alaskan while repubs on capitol hill vociferously condemn congress’ attempts to do the same… etc etc. See: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008103325_alaskatax07.html)… His whole convention was red meat aphorisms… Romney’s mistatements (reducing global warming to grounding Gore’s non-existent private plane), Graham’s (and rest of GOP talking heads) explanation that “living next to Russia” is foreign policy experience…
    I don’t know… I saw no reliable policy statements in his speech, in fact the whole convention looked like PR stunt to avoid & drown any direct commitments to meaningful policy of our day… whatsoever.
    Lastly, I switched party registration in 2k election to Republican in order to vote for McCain in the Ca. primary. The 2k McCain “Straight Talk Express” hammered corruption in Washington, which he repeatedly referred to as “a cesspool.” I couldn’t have agreed more, and I believed him.
    As we know, his early momentum (and primary victories) were derailed by Rove engineered whisper campaigns (eg: percolated from Drudge up through right wing radio right to the front pages of NYT, WP, etc.) that were lies. Through the recounts (how many people know Gore came out ahead in consortium review in every single examination in which all-the-ballots were reviewed?), subsequent massive Bush tax cuts that McCain opposed, through ’04 election (McCain’s Bush “hug”)… everything his 2k run stood upon which won him “Maverick” status, he has since abandoned.
    He’s now for the tax cuts. Not a word about any cesspool. And emails available of his promise to ensure Abramoff investigations would not traverse “his colleagues” doorsteps. He tries to distance himself from Phil Gramm, who’s legislation led directly to floodgates of Wall Street fraud that’s brought US economy to the brink, yet McCain endorses policy consistent w/Gramm’s “philosophy”.
    To me, McCain is a shadow of what he offered in 2k… broken, battered and reconstituted by the forces of corruption he opposed then. He offers mantras and monikers… a facade, that put lipstick on the same power players who’ve pulled Bush’s strings for 8 yrs.
    I dun’o Steve… you’ve provided a lot of meaningful & usefull insight over these recent years and I, for one, appreciate it. But I think you’ve gone damn soft on this one, to the exclusion of anything fundamental or meaningful… more or less reflecting the “what you see is sure-as-hell-not-what-you-get” made for TV infomercial McCain’s convention has provided.
    It’s depressing.

    Reply

  15. dquart says:

    I didn’t think that McCain’s speech was all that more specific than Obama’s. Both talked about education, taxes, energy. McCain talked about job retraining, while Obama talked about Health Care, equal pay, and continued bankruptcy reform.
    Obama was somewhat more specific on foreign policy… both candidates though seem to waiver (perhaps that’s simply the nature of FP and the U.S. FP ideology). Nevertheless, there remains the question as to what will McCain do in Iraq after we solidify a security deal with the Iraqis.
    In general, I thought the speech was very flat and uninspiring. I think Dan Drezner sums it up about right: at the end McCain sounded more like a crazy grandpa at the Thanksgiving table than a president.
    McCain said little about how he would wipe away the effects of the bush administration of the last 8 years. We know that an Obama administration will change the operations in the State department and DOJ, but will McCain’s? Its not simply vetoing pork-barrel projects (truthfully- sometimes that stuff is necessary to get legislation passed), but changing the ideology that pervades the executive at the moment. In my opinion, trust on a maverick image is not enough. My trust has been exhausted for the last 8 years.

    Reply

  16. Steve Clemons says:

    Amazed — will get to Obama, whose speech was terrific. I got
    pretty sick in Denver and it knocked back my writing. I’ll go back
    and do some commentary on what I saw happen in Denver when I
    have the time.
    — Steve

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    mccain quote >>America doesn’t hide from history…>This perhaps is the truest statement…..America has in its past focused on major problems<<
    a major problem that the usa has never spent any time focusing on or dealing with and which is regularly hides from historically is its foreign policy and the mayhem and destruction it has wrought globally over the past 60 years or so….
    any time spent around the republican convention seems to instill a strong disconnect from reality it seems….

    Reply

  18. dckrl says:

    George Bush “a fascist”? To paraphrase Sen. Bentsen: I am a German, I have met former fascists, SS and all, and Bush is not a fascist.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Posted by TonyForesta Sep 05, 2:28AM – Link
    For better or worse, Carrol – Obama is our ONLY hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well then we are slam out of luck.

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  20. Carroll says:

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/09/biden-israels-d.html
    “Biden: Israel’s decisions must be made in Jerusalem, not D.C.” Haaretz
    “Israel must remain a strong ally of the United States, however its decisions “must be made in Jerusalem”, said Delaware Senator and Democratic Party Vice Presidential nominee Joseph Biden during a teleconference held with members of the Jewish press on Wednesday.
    Biden also expressed his support of Israel’s right to protect itself, saying, “Israel has the right to defend itself and it doesn’t have to ask, just as any other free and independent country.
    The Vice Presidential nominee vowed that the U.S. will “always stand by Israel, without telling Israelis what they can and cannot do.” ” Haaretz
    —————————————————————————-
    Joe Biden has an undeserved reputation as a deep thinker. You have to wonder if Joe thinks that the US is obligated to go to war in support of Israel under any and all circumstances.
    For example – If the Israelis decide to attack Iran without our agreement, are we obligated somehow to go to war against Iran as well
    …Col Pat Lang
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Is this or is this not a stupid? It is tantamount to giving Israel permission to attack Iran. I don’t care if this is just another plant story scare tactic to ratchet up the pressure on Iran or not. This jumped up popping dough boy needs to shut his big fat ignorant mouth. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    But now that we know Biden will be the actual president what will Obama spend his time doing?
    Going to funerals? And standing in for the vice president?
    Jesus f christ. I c.a.n.n.o.t vote for this idiot.
    Can’t do it.

    Reply

  21. TonyForesta says:

    For better or worse, Carrol – Obama is our ONLY hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    Posted by TonyForesta Sep 05, 2:16AM – Link
    You are falling into the fascists trap Carroll.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Huh? I am falling into a fascist trap?
    I think you better re read my comment.

    Reply

  23. pauline says:

    Steve wrote:
    “On health care, he spoke about helping more people but not all >>>>>>>>>>”
    Jane Hamsher (I love her blog) has the lowdown on McSame’s real heathcare plans.
    “McCain promises not to raise taxes, but he never says that he’s planning to tax your health care benefits as income. Haven’t heard much about that, have we? It’s true — if you receive health care benefits from your employer, John McCain wants to consider that income, and subject it to income tax. It’s estimated that this would cost the average worker a couple thousand dollars a year. He doesn’t mention that. . .”
    First time in U.S. history, a dem or repub convention did not have the sitting president or vice in attendance. Did all the rich and super- rich white people in St. Paul even notice?

    Reply

  24. TonyForesta says:

    You are falling into the fascists trap Carroll. Iran is not a threat. Iranians are defending Iranians. Iran knows full well that any over attack on Israel, or any America interest would result in every city in Iran being reduced to glass. Iran is focused on countering the immperialism and ruthless hegemony of the fascists in the Bush government. So is Russia as Medeydev clearly stated. The Pax Americana pipedreams of the fascists in the bushgovernment is a dead issue. America is simply incapable of respsonding to any other crisis militarily (outside of the use of WMD) anywhere on earth because of the Bush governments wayward misguided wasteful, costly bloody, and STUPID policies and actions in Iraq. Iran is looking after Iranian interests, the Russians are looking after Russian interests, and because our military is bogged down in the cataclysmic waste of blood, treasure, and credibility in Iraq, – there is nothing any western nation can do now but negotiate our way out of the these conflicts. McCain/Palin can pretend that they are going to be tough on Russia and Iran, – but the sad reality, – because of the bushgovernments predation, lawlessness, perversions, treasons, and wanton profiteering in Iraq, – there is simply – NO MILITARY OPTION AVAILABLE OUTSIDE OF THE USE OF WMD.
    We do need to talk to our enemies. We do need to negotiate. We do need to sit down with regimes and organizations that hate us, – because we have NO OTHER OPTION!!!!!
    Russia can turn off the spicket to European energy and send the entire continent into catastrophic economic calamity in a heart beat. Europe is not so keen on condemning Russia, – and again, I will remind our fellow Americans, that Georgia attacked Russian troops in Ossetia, and Russia responded in kind. Again, – as has been hte case in the last seven years, America is the badguy, the Great Satan in the eyes of everyone else in the world outside of redneck Amerika.
    Nato is castrated and impotent. America has no real viable options. We need to sit down with our enemies and allies and work out a deal. Pretending we are allpowerful and omnipotent is a joke and an hilarious joke that the rest of the world no longer countenances militarily or economically. Russia is calling our bluff. Iran is calling our bluff. NK is calling our bluff. The Taliban and al Quaida is calling our bluff. We either act intelligently or we don’t.
    Irrespective of the phantasmagorical blandishments of the fascists in the bushgovernment, or McCain/Palin, America is in decline economically, militarily, and morally. We either step up and recognize reality or we continue on the same fascist vectors which will lead to our certain doom.
    It’s a complex issue and I am prepared to defend the position of every ground. The fascists have failed, if not destroyed us. We -America need real change and McCain/Palin is certainly NOT that change irrespective of the propaganda, disinformation, and partisand blandishments of the McCain/Palin/Rovian gibberish to the contrary.
    Real change is the END of republican tyranny, lawlessness, and treason in America.

    Reply

  25. croatoan says:

    Fuck his civility tonight, after this week’s hatefest in his behalf.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    “seem not about “shaking up” the substance of policy”
    The other side isn’t shaking up anything either. Who is Obama getting his foreign policy from now? He sounds like Biden pre 2007.
    Obama interview on O’Reilly
    “The first-term senator was also asked about Iran, Pakistan and capturing Osama bin Laden.
    Obama said he “absolutely” believed the U.S. is in a war against terrorism and identified the enemies as al-Qaeda, the Taliban and “a whole host of networks that are bent on attacking America who have a distorted ideology.”
    Iran also is a “major threat,” he said, though warned against the danger of lumping different groups together as a common foe.
    Obama said it would be “unacceptable” for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. “It would be game -changer,” he said. “I would never take a military option off the table.”
    Military Force
    When pressed as to whether, if elected, he would prepare for possible use of military force against Iran, Obama, who has repeatedly called for greater diplomatic efforts with Iran, said it wouldn’t be “appropriate” for someone who might become president to start “tipping their hand in terms of what their plans might be with respect” to the country.
    Obama said he ratchet up pressure on Pakistan to take a more aggressive approach toward weeding out terrorists, including bin Laden.
    Right now, Obama said, Pakistan is using U.S. military resources “with no strings attached.”
    “They are preparing for war against India,” he said.
    Obama, 47, said the Bush administration “wasted” $10 billion with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was forced to resign last month after 17 months of political protests and violence. The U.S. failed to hold him “accountable for knocking out those safe havens” for terrorists, Obama said. “”
    BTW, the new Pakistani president the US wants to install is Zardari, widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Zardari is called “Mr. 10%” for his career of skimming of 10% of all aid and business agreements in Pakistain. Switzerland had him on money laundering but last month the US pressured the Swiss to destroy all banks records they had on him. I guess he will be the US’s new Shah of Iran like clone. Zardari is already telling the US to pay compensation to the families of the dead for our raid. Plus his ‘10%’ I am sure.
    Isn’t this lovely?:
    “United States forces conducted their first ground assaults into Pakistani territory from bases in Afghanistan early Wednesday morning in a raid on a suspected Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan, one of Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. The attack has caused an uproar in Pakistan and raised concerns of a new period of tension between the US and its valuable, nuclear-armed ally in the war on terror, which has entered a period of political uncertainty after the resignation of long-serving president Pervez Musharraf last month.
    U.S. troops launch helicopter assault in Pakistan
    From Barbara Starr
    CNN Pentagon Correspondent
    (CNN) — U.S. military forces landed at a compound in Pakistan to battle targets linked to recent attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official confirmed Wednesday.
    The official declined to be identified, citing the extreme sensitivity of U.S. forces operating within Pakistan’s borders.
    The action was an uncommon one for the U.S. military. Generally, NATO forces do not enter Pakistan except when pursuing insurgents in Afghanistan who slipped over the border or, in an extreme case, to pursue a high-value target.
    The Pentagon has refused to comment officially on the attack, but several defense officials acknowledged that U.S. military activity had taken place inside Pakistan.
    The senior U.S. official said a small number of U.S. helicopters landed troops in the village near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, where Taliban and al Qaeda fighters have hunkered down over the years.
    Local media reports said the troops came out of a chopper and fired on civilians. The U.S. official said there may have been a small number of women and children in the immediate vicinity, but when the mission began “everybody came out firing” from the compound.
    He said the U.S. troops specifically attacked three buildings in the compound. They were believed to contain individuals responsible for training and equipping insurgents who have been crossing the border into Afghanistan in increasing numbers in recent months and staging large-scale, high-profile attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.
    The official could not say if the troops were going after a specific individual. Officials told CNN there was no indication the target was Osama bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
    Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday lodged a protest against U.S.-led coalition and NATO forces for what it said was a “helicopter-borne ground attack” from Afghanistan into Pakistan, an uncommon tactic in the coalition’s fight against militants along the violent border.
    The coalition and NATO have been seeking a way to effectively battle militants launching attacks from Pakistan’s swath of tribal areas along the border. They have become frustrated with Pakistan over the years, saying it is not being proactive enough against militants, a claim denied by Pakistan — now in political flux after the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.
    Top U.S. and Pakistani military officials last week met on an aircraft carrier regarding American concerns that Pakistan hasn’t been cracking down hard enough on the Taliban.
    Several times this year, U.S.-operated drone aircraft launched attacks inside Pakistan
    The Pakistani Foreign Ministry described the strike as “a helicopter-borne ground attack supported by air assets based in Afghanistan” and called it a “gross violation of Pakistan territory.”
    Pakistani officials were still counting the casualties. One local official said the raid left 20 civilians dead. Pakistan military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said seven civilians died and others were critically injured.
    “It is, indeed, most unfortunate that coalition/ISAF in Afghanistan have resorted to cross-border use of force against civilians,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. ISAF is NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
    Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan was summoned to provide an explanation of the incident.
    “Such actions are counterproductive and certainly do not help our joint efforts to fight terrorism,” the ministry said. “On the contrary, they undermine the very basis of cooperation and may fuel the fire of hatred and violence that we are trying to extinguish. Moreover, any attack on Pakistani territory is unacceptable and constitutes a grave provocation.”
    Owais Ahmed Ghani, the administrative head of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, called the strike “a direct assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan. And the people of Pakistan expect that the Armed Forces of Pakistan would rise to defend the sovereignty of the country and give a befitting reply to all such attacks.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t see much if any difference between McCain and Obama now. Obama has increasingly parroted Biden, who was like Bush and McCain, before he became the new pretend Biden on every foreign policy upset. The mentalities are too much the same.
    Go vote but don’t expect any change in exchange.
    Out of Iraq? and farther in to Afgahistan and into Pakistian and onward to our appointment in Samarra…er…Iran….with Russia.
    This is the most critical election we have ever had and guess what?..if Bush was the begining of the end, either one of current candidates will be the ending.

    Reply

  27. TonyForesta says:

    I’m not interested in the political spectrum or poles, or any of the numbnoneness and kabuki theater that defines Amerikan politics. I want the rule of law, and a commitment to our own laws and the Constitution. If that is too “fringe” for some circles or the majority of Americans then damn me, but I rest easy at night knowing I fight for principles, not politics, and democracy not fascism, and the idea and hope and prayer that our government is one derived from the consent of the governed, and NOT the perverted, malignant jibberish of fascist warmongers, criminals, perverts, traitors, and wanton profiteers.
    Again my sister or brother, – in a world where there are no laws, – there are no laws for anyone! McCain/Palin is the unabated perpetuatiion of the exact same predatory, pernicious, and criminal policies of the fascists in the Bush government. My speak may be incendiary, or marginal, or fringe, – but I ask you my sister or brother, – what do you hold to? What principles define your positions? What does America mean to you.
    All I say, and I say it with out regret or remorse or any fear, – NOT IN MY NAME BIAAATCHES. This is not America. I do not want, and will fight to the bitter end, the unabated lawlessness, treasons, perversions of the core principles that formally defined America, and wanton profiteering of the fascists in the Bush government and their lockstep partisans in the McCain/Palin ticket.
    Where do you stand????

    Reply

  28. susan says:

    Steve says,”I give him credit for his civility tonight.”
    So, Steve, was it okay with you to use the 9/11 video for political purposes?
    I found it shocking and sickening.
    Mr. McCain and his craven party have no shame.

    Reply

  29. Octavio Ramirez says:

    Tonight I learned more about John McCain, the man, and I must say that I admire him very much. This is an honorable, courageous man with a strong character and stronger values. He has dedicated his life to his country. He is proud of this country. And guess what, he reminded me that there is nothing wrong or shameful of that or of old fashioned values which are what families are all about. In fact, value for value this is a better man than Obama, and after all, the president is just a man. He won me over tonight. So yes, I think his speech was VERY successful because until tonight I was one of those undecided – and so was everyone in my family – and we have all thrown our hats to McCain.

    Reply

  30. paulo says:

    Yes Sebastien in my own lame way I was linking two propositions.
    He was a victim of torture who under duress signed a false statement and yet he supports the same treatment for those we captured.
    If there ever was a moral calculus by which to evaluate someone, isn’t that it?

    Reply

  31. Sweetness says:

    Tony writes: “Criminals must be held accountable for crimes,
    traitors must be held accountable for acts of treason, and
    pathological liars, must be held accountable for pathological lying.”
    Just out of curiosity…truly…no snark intended at all…but what
    percentage of the American electorate do you think agrees that this
    applies to the Bush administration and should be implemented as
    such? And a follow on to the first one: Can you enunciate a
    political message–central theme–expressing your thought here
    that you feel would be a political winner with a majority of
    Americans across the political spectrum?

    Reply

  32. hoff10 says:

    the stand up, stand up, stand up part he stole from Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s speech at the DNC convention.
    nothing and i mean nothing but more of the same from this convention

    Reply

  33. sebastien says:

    paulo,
    I belive his “broke” reference is that under duress of torture, he signed a “confession” to being a war criminal.

    Reply

  34. susan says:

    A. Total. Disaster.

    Reply

  35. TonyForesta says:

    How can someone who votes with the Bush government 90% of the time be a reformer? Irag is a crime scene. If McCain was so supportive of the surge, why was he not demanding more troops in 2003, 4, 5, or 6?
    Great, we finally defeated a nation that did not attack us, had no WMD, no links to al Quaida, and whose combatants held the world’s hypersuperior $600bn a year in funding military at bay for seven years with Ak-47’s, RPG’s, IED’s. Can we leave now? Do republicans really mean that we are not committed to a permanent presence in Iraq with 14 “enduring” bases, and the largest most costly Embassy on earth, manned by slavelabor, – or are we being forced through “Status of Forces Agreements” imposed on us by the fascists in the Bush government to contracts and commitments that supercede congress for a hundred years?
    I challenge anyone hear to present one single policy that the fascists in the Bush government or the lockstep partisans in the McCain/Palin ticket offer that will benefit any American who is not superrich? Name one! Name one!!!!
    And… Biden taking accountability and holding the fascists warmongers, wanton profiteers and perverted criminals in the Bush government responsible and accountable to the Constitution and the rule of law “off the table” is a grievous mistake.
    Criminals must be held accountable for crimes, traitors must be held accountable for acts of treason, and pathological liars, must be held accountable for pathological lying. If not, – then there are no laws, – and in a world where there are no laws, – there are no laws for anyone biaatches!!!!including Kings, despots, tyrants, and wanton profiteers!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  36. PacificCoastRon says:

    Our side could be much more specific and disciplined in ripping into the Republican attempt to portray themselves as “reformers.”
    Will they allow an investigation into the Justice Dept under Bush? Will they begin to cooperate with the very limited (so far) attempts to get Rove, Meirs, Gonzalez and the like to testify? Will their reform extend relaxing their death grip on the concept of an executive privilege that covers every flunky connected with the executive branch?
    Would they support, say, the death penalty for either bribing a Congressperson or being a Congressperson who is bribed? I’m perfectly serious, Congress did vote to extend to the death penalty to anyone who makes a fatal attack on a Federal Chicken inspector, isn’t bribing a Congressperson and being a corrupt congressperson an even more heinous offense that strikes even more directly at the soul of democracy ??
    Will they support legislation that would limit Executive Privilege to Cabinet Officers not having to testify on the exact words they themselves spoke to the President … but even they would have to summarize the advice they gave to the President. We’re paying their salaries, we deserve to know what our servants are saying and doing, will they support a serious limit on Executive Privilege?
    Will they look into corruption in the Defense Dept? Will they look into the world’s largest robbery, the looting of the $9 billion in cash that was sent to Iraq early in occupation and appropriated by individuals and groups with connections to the occupation authorities?
    Of course they can’t and won’t do any of these things … the negative-value-to-humanity’s future corporate media can’t even mention these concepts.
    We can be a lot stronger in “hanging” these sons-of-Rove on their own “rope” of trying to pose as reformers, without getting into personalities or culture war nonsense. Where are their votes against Abramoff, DeLay and all the rest ???

    Reply

  37. varanassi says:

    i just heard this on PBS – not sure if it’s true:
    republican delegates
    93% white
    3% latino
    2% black
    2% asian
    sure is a big tent, huh?
    does this jive with what you observed, steve?

    Reply

  38. Linda says:

    I guess he won’t want to get Peggy Noonan to write his speeches, but he needs better speech writers. And it’s sad but he can’t deliver one very well–and after so many years in politics, probably won’t ever be able to.

    Reply

  39. Amazed says:

    Steve…. Thanks for the quick response on McCain… But you stil
    have me wondering , Does Obama get a pass on a response? Have
    you gone soft on Obama along with the rest of the big media
    giants, Fox News excluded?
    Come on and have some backbone! I want to hear something other
    than, gee the democratic convention was a lot of fun and I ran out
    of time to post more about what was actually said!

    Reply

  40. paulo says:

    I found it interesting at the end that his exhortation to “stand up! Stand up!” was a call to action for exactly those Community Organizer things that Palin ridiculed Obama for the night before. I know that the VP to Pres relationship is attack dog to dog but that struck me as a little schizophrenic?
    Other than that:
    John McCain can’t deliver a speech.
    As a POW he says he “broke”.What does that mean? Why/how can he cave on Bush’s torture policy? I know it was an acceptance speech not something meant to tell us anything. But still, he brought it up.

    Reply

  41. Dan Kervick says:

    Man, the Republican message is all over the place. What a mess they’ve become. Their brains are fried and their hearts aren’t in the fight, even though they keep trying to convince everyone about how much “fight” they have. McCain already looks and sounds like a beaten man.
    Republicans: “new young person” does not automatically equal “change”. The McCain campaign just picked a vice presidential candidate who everyone in America understands is a sop to the cultural far right wing – the god, guns, no gays and no abortion contingent. And they just spent a week trying to dip one more time into the old well of nasty and divisive cultural resentment. And yet now they think they can trot out one of Washington’s oldest old-timers, erase a whole week of old-timey conservate smack, and convince America in one night they are the party of “change”. C’mon! Everything about this party and their convention says “yesterday”. John McCain wants to convince people he is going to reach across the aisle and be an independent thinker and a “maverick”, when his party just spent the last week bashing everyone and everything outside the amazing shrinking circle of movement conservative dead-enders?
    I felt like I was watching the last call of the conservative movement, one more bleary-eyed beer among a few stragglers at what was once a hopping party. There was something almost sad about it. McCain looked like the designated driver who has been assigned the thankless task of cleaning up, locking up and driving the last few drunks home.

    Reply

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