Posted by rontun in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Aug 21st 2008, 10:56 AM
Why is it that the public hears so little about the real John McCain?
No Regard For Truth Or Integrity
Last week John McCain ventured into Rochester, N.H. for a Town Hall Meeting and before a crowd estimated at 700 people managed to embarrass himself, his party, and his country by accusing his opponent of being a traitor while pretending that his own unremarkable record qualifies him to serve as the Commander-in-Chief of our military and as the Chief Executive Officer of our government.
Senator McCain has earned the respect of a grateful nation for his having endured 5 ˝ years of imprisonment and torture in a Vietnamese prison camp. Aside from that, however, he’s done little to deserve the esteem being heaped upon him by a compliant press, although one cannot fail to appreciate how he’s managed to parlay that life-changing experience into a life-long career on the public payroll.
Not quite as flattering is that his military career included the loss of five naval aircraft – one in combat, three during training exercises, and one in an explosion on the deck of the USS Forrestal; or his having graduated 894th out of 899 mates in his 1958 class at the Naval Academy. Nor especially distinguishable was his retirement at the rank of captain after having served over 25 years in the U.S. Navy, a departure prompted by his dim future prospects for promotion.
Although McCain is among the wealthiest members serving in the U.S. Senate, his accumulation of a vast fortune hasn’t been through the dint of hard work, nor derived from the wise investment of his $58,000+ in annual military disability payments and $161,700 annual salary as a U.S. Senator. Rather, he married a wealthy heiress after dumping his first wife, a one-time beauty queen whose physical allure had waned as a consequence of physical injuries sustained in an automobile crash. continue reading
We all know the media is doing a poor job of informing the public about John McCain and his unfitness to serve as commander-in-chief. Do I believe the pundits are all Republicans? No, but they remind me of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" in which it takes a child to awaken the obsequious adults to the reality that the Emperor has no clothes. "But he has nothing on!" observes the child, fearing neither reprisal nor reprobation.
Might I suggest instead that the media is home to far too many sycophants who have lost sight of their purpose. My own experience has been that reporters are not at fault. The culprits are their employers, who use their outlets to curry favor with politicians in much the same way as corporations do through lobbyists. Add to that the so-called "opinion shapers" - the columnists and television commentators whose access to people in power is the only currency they feel they have. Naturally, they're hesitant to risk any of that currency.
It is incumbent upon each of us to become media outlets. We must take the initiative to disseminate accurate information utilizing all of the means at our disposal. The above excerpted column was published by my local, daily newspaper - albeit reluctantly, given that they were heartily criticized in the column for their coverage.
I'll continue to write substantive pieces for publication in my local newspapers. As a former newspaper editor, I encourage you to do the same. Local editors are much more apt to publish something from a local reader than from someone outside their coverage area. Typically, editors shape the tone of their opinion pages by publishing syndicated material that delivers a desired message. But they always welcome input from their readers, who ultimately are their bread and butter.
So, when a campaign encourages you to write a letter, don't discount its value. If published it will be read by a large segment of the newspaper's readers. If it's thoughtful, accurate, and respectful, it will have much more influence on your neighbors than any paid advertisement. You can make a difference.
I've always tremendously respected Hillary Clinton for her aggressive and tenacious resistance to the right-wing fanatics who've employed every dishonest and disreputable tactic imaginable in attacking not only Bill and Hillary, but also the Democratic Party and its progressive history. Moreover, she has displayed an intelligence and a grasp of policy and procedure that make her a formidable advocate for progressive politics. Indeed, I've matched that respect with contributions to her U.S. Senate campaign, and fully anticipated supporting her candidacy for the presidency.
Living in New Hampshire and being the chair of my local Democratic Party organization, I had a unique opportunity to meet, talk to, and assess up close and personal each of the Democratic candidates vying for the presidential nomination. It was heartening to discover the depth of talent, experience and ability that characterized the entire slate of candidates, and deciding whom to endorse was a difficult choice.
John Edwards promised a real commitment to change, advocating policies that would most benefit the middle class and the poor, and his wife Elizabeth matches his intellect, commitment and disdain for the beltway politics that exclude from consideration the real needs of American families.
Hillary demonstrated an incredible depth of knowledge, convincing me of her competence and of her genuine commitment to waging a relentless battle to achieve real progress on issues for which solutions eluded her husband's administration.
Bill Richardson offered an unparalleled resume, exhibited a great sense of self-deprecating humor, and was by far the most approachable and likable of the candidates.
Joe Biden was passionate in his insistence that we end the folly in Iraq, and offered creative solutions to extricate the U.S. from Bush's disastrous foray into nation building.
Chris Dodd proved to be knowledgeable, an unwavering defender of civil liberties and constitutional law, and thoroughly familiar with both the players in Washington, D.C. and how to maneuver through the legislative and bureaucratic maze so necessary to achieving success with any legislative agenda.
Dennis Kuchinich, from his Department of Peace, to his advocacy of impeachment of Bush and Cheney and support for a single-payer, universal healthcare system probably came closest to satisfying the desires of progressives.
Mike Gravel, whose long career as an obstinate force in Washington and whose vigorous opposition to the War in Iraq matched his commitment to ending the War in Vietnam a generation ago, was a refreshing departure from the poll-tested remarks offered by other candidates.
I could have lived with any of the aforementioned candidates as the Democratic Party's nominee, but ultimately I settled upon Barack Obama. Never once did I feel he was pandering to me or to voters, and always I sensed a depth of character and integrity that I believe we so desperately need in the White House, particularly after eight years of GOP corruption and dishonesty. Obama's message of unity and inclusiveness resonated with what I'd been hearing across New Hampshire, and especially in my city. People are fed up with the "politics of personal destruction" and are demanding that their leaders focus on resolving problems instead of scoring political points in what seems to be a never ending game of one-upsmanship.
Having made that difficult choice, without once sipping any Kool-Aid, I was prepared to observe from afar the primary process as it moved from state to state, comfortable with my choice, yet willing to support the party's eventual nominee. Did I have a second choice? Yes, it was John Edwards, followed closely by Hillary Clinton. Richardson was next on my list, and Chris Dodd would have been equally acceptable.
My feelings have changed, however, over the past few weeks. What I've observed from the Clinton campaign is a slash and burn strategy that is harming the Democratic Party and its chances in November - not just for recapturing the White House, but also for expanding its majorities in Congress and in statehouses.
The arrogance of declaring that certain states, or certain people are insignificant is antithetical to all we embrace as Democrats. The words of her surrogates have been offensive, and yes, at times, racist. An example of the level of divisiveness it has caused can be seen here in New Hampshire, where the anger with the Clinton campaign is spilling over into the Shaheen-Sununu contest. Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen should have a lock on this race to unseat incumbent John Sununu given the Democratic shift of the Granite State. But her husband Bill Shaheen's comments regarding Obama's adolescent drug use have so inflamed Obama supporters that they're refusing to support Jeanne. Given that Obama was only narrowly defeated by Clinton, 39% to 37%, this could prove extremely troubling come November.
Moreover, Hillary's suggestion that only she and John McCain have passed the "commander-in-chief" test is inexcusable. Add to that her exaggeration of her experience, and her "misstatements" regarding SCHIP, NAFTA and her trip to Tuzla, and we have a pattern of dishonesty that borders on pathological.
Bill blew his credibility when he parsed the meaning of the word "is" while vigorously denying his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He's since blown his credibility within the black community, forever soiling his reputation as America's first "black president".
Unfortunately, Hillary faces a crisis in confidence as her credibility plunges to the level of her husband's. That's the reality, and it is a monumental factor that must be weighed as we move toward a final conclusion in this primary season.
Posted by rontun in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Mar 18th 2008, 11:29 PM
Senator Obama, I believe, successfully appealed to the best within us by having the courage to challenge our worst instincts. His message of unity, of common purpose, promises to transport us beyond the divisive politics that have crippled our nation’s progress.
For those who are dissatisfied with the absence of any “real solutions” in the text of his speech, I believe you’re missing the underlying principles of Obama’s campaign and his promise for substantive change.
The substance of Senator Obama’s appeal to the American people is that we work together to forge solutions to our problems, and that only by the collective will of the American people can we be successful. While he does offer a broad vision of what he believes America should pursue if it is to come closer to achieving its ideals, he recognizes that the path to success requires the inclusion of everyone’s ideas in crafting workable solutions.
The Senator is obviously an idealist, but also a pragmatist, placing much more emphasis on trusting the American people to coalesce around approaches reached through honest discussion and debate than on offering set prescriptions that ignore the advice and considerations of a large segment of the population.
Might I add that I believe the success of his campaign, which has been built almost entirely on the grass roots level, will be instrumental in his ability to effectively govern and lead the nation. He’s had over a million people contribute to his campaign, and has amassed a data base of millions more supporters, most with active email addresses.
I can foresee a time when he will tap into that base of supporters when he needs advocates for his proposals in Congress. Can you imagine the reaction of the members of the House and Senate should their email in-boxes be flooded with messages of support for Obama’s programs from their own constituents?
Not only is the man an incredible verbal communicator, but he’s also mastering the art of communications in an ever evolving age of technology. Senator Obama is, more than any other candidate, firmly implanted in the 21st century.
He’s white, he’s black, he’s a Christian with Muslim heritage, and a product of both public school and Ivy League education. One cannot ignore that his perspective is unique, and embodies both America as it is, and as it hopes to become.
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