POW Week continues with an exhaustive expose of POW excuse exhaustion.
McCain, in a sad attempt to suck wind from Obama’s sails and blow smoke up the right wing’s ass, brought up – betcha didn’t see this coming – his POW status:
“My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America, when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was the picture of confidence, in some ways. But confidence in oneself and confidence in one’s country are not the same. And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, quote, ‘no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.’ Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War — between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The Cold War ended not because the world stood “as one,” but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership.” [emphasis eye-rollingly added]
There was a little myth going around that said McCain “only reluctantly” brings up his history as a POW. This will become an urban legend on par with alligators in sewers and hooks hanging from car doors.
McCain’s never been reluctant to scream “POW!” He did it years ago to snow Arizona voters into thinking he was a man worthy of their affections:
When he first ran for Congress in Arizona nearly three decades ago, John McCain had one clear liability: he wasn’t from the state, and he could count the number of years he had lived there on a couple of fingers.
So his primary opponent, state senator Jim Mack, attacked him as a Johnny-come-lately. To counter the charge, at a candidate forum, McCain offered a decidedly pointed response. “I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things,” he said. “As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”
Don’t this just sound eerily similar to the McCain we know and loathe today? The only difference between then and now is that he wasn’t using POW as a panacea for every woe from Abba to zings over his houses.
There are plentiful signs his POW bucket is springing leaks. There’s the above TIME magazine article, whose title, “Is McCain Overplaying the POW Card?” speaks volumes. When even conservative-loving TIME decides their bestest hero evah McCain is getting repetitive, you know the magic’s worn off.
Rachel Maddow got huge rounds of applause for taking McCain to task. One of his fans is sick to death of his constant yawping. And Jimmy Carter would like McCain to understand that although POW shares two letters with “cow,” he should stop fucking milking it:
DENVER — Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a “distinguished naval officer,” but he said the Arizona senator has been “milking every possible drop of advantage” from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
He said he was bewildered by McCain’s performance at the Saddleback Presidential Forum hosted by pastor and author Rick Warren in Lake Forest, Calif., earlier this month.
Carter said that whether he was asked about religion, domestic or foreign affairs, every answer came back to McCain’s 5½ years as a POW.
“John McCain was able to weave in his experience in a Vietnam prison camp, no matter what the question was,” Carter said. “It’s much better than talking about how he’s changed his total character between being a senator, a kind of a maverick … and his acquiescence in the last few months with every kind of lobbyist pressure that the right-wing Republicans have presented.”
All but the most rabid of McCain’s MSM fans are starting to get that. McCain doesn’t have anything else – no fresh policies, no realistic plan to rescue America, nothing to offer the country except a POW card. “Vote for me – I’m a war hero!”
There are too many voices being raised now, not only in the liberal blogosphere, but in the hallowed, hollowed halls of the MSM, for that card to work much longer. It’s never a good idea to run a campaign on victimhood and the sympathy vote. Americans don’t like whiners. Sympathy and admiration can turn to outrage all too easily if the hand is overplayed.
I have a feeling McCain’s going to be throwing down that trump card at every opportunity next week during the RNC. And I have a feeling that America’s going to take a collective look at it for the 10 billionth time, look him in the eye, and give him some straight talk: “So fucking what?”
He has no ace in the hole. And I for one will be thrilled to see Obama lay down the royal flush and rake the pot in.
(Disclaimer: I am no poker player, so that metaphor may be completely fucking wrong. I’ll admit that, and play no victim card to excuse my appalling ignorance.)
Television is, for the most part, supremely overrated. Back in the days before this blog and a roommate, when I could throw on the boob tube and leave it running in the background, I used to avoid the networks like bubonic plague. Coworkers would come in blathering about Survivor and American Idol. It astonished them when I couldn’t join the conversation because I’d been watching Hot Rocks (geology), Cosmos (I trust I need not explain), or Dirty Jobs (oh, Mike Rowe, how you made me appreciate my suck-ass job!).
But my passion, virtually my religion, was the one-two punch of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
I’m ashamed to admit that I used to watch Daily Show only because Jon Stewart is cute and funny, that I wished they’d lay off the political crap, and that when Colbert Report first started airing, I wasn’t impressed.
Then, in mid-2006, the political stuff started getting really interesting. It started making me angry. I’d known for a long time that Bush was an outrageous fuck-up – even in my apolitical days, one of my friends was too ashamed to admit he’d voted for Bush yet again in 2004 – but the extent of his fuckery hadn’t struck me until I saw it played out night after night on The Daily Show.
Then I started understanding Colbert’s superb satire.
Then I started getting involved.
Because of those shows, I dragged my sorry arse out of bed early on Election Day in November ’06, and voted a straight Democratic ticket. That night at work, my beloved coworkers and I watched the election returns come in, and brought the house down screaming when the Dems swept to victory. It was a huge, powerful moment, made possible because of two fake news shows.
These days, there’s no TV in my room, and it’s too hard to blog and view at the same time. I’m horrifically pressed for time. But I sneak the occasional moment to catch up on Daily Show and Colbert Report. They’re the only shows I’ll watch. They’re the only shows I’ll ever need. And you can thank them for this blog.
Long may they air!
What shows are mustn’t-misses for you?
So says McCain ball-licker and health-plan guru John Goodman. Daily Kos blogger Texas Tom calls him out:
How’s this for another kick to working Americans who are struggling to get by? According to the guy that helped develop McCain’s health care plan, no Americans should be considered uninsured.
His logic? Anyone who can get into a hospital emergency room is able to access health care, and therefore shouldn’t be considered uninsured. His solution to the health insurance crisis is simply to define the problem away.
The following is from today’s Dallas Morning News (bolding is my own):
But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)
“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.
“So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”
Here’s the full article: Texas still leads nation in rate of uninsured residents.
That, in a nutshell, is the Republicon solution to everything: instead of solving the problem, outright ignore it. Fire up those motorized goalposts and floor it until up is down, lose is win, and uninsured is suddenly, magically, totally insured.
I want these fuckwits to get their despicable lying hands off my country now, please.
(This thing took off right after I wrote and saved this post. The McCain camp wants us to believe Goodman isn’t theirs, but Talking Points Memo and Think Progress have happily hung him around McCain’s neck, and so the hilarity continues.)
Today’s opining on the public discourse.
There’s nothing I can add to this:
Yesterday evening, ThinkProgress spoke with Lieut. Gen, Harry Soyster and Ret. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, at a Human Rights First reception honoring retired generals who have spoken out against President Bush’s torture policies. Soyster criticized Bush’s veto of a bill banning the CIA from waterboarding — a veto Sen. John McCain supported. Soyster said one clear standard on torture was needed:
SOYSTER: Our position is, all of us, that we need one standard for the United Sates. And because the Central Intelligence Agency has authorized torture, then Americans are torturing. It doesn’t matter where your paycheck comes from.
I never thought I’d live in an America where our military brass had to rebuke our government over the American use of torture. Almost everything the Bush administration has done outrages me, but this is, hands-down, the worst: that they took America’s good name and strong stance against torture, and destroyed it by playing 24.
We should not torture people. At one point, I could say we do not torture. The fact I can no longer say America doesn’t torture human beings devastates me. That “one clear standard” Soyster speaks of should be “We do not torture. Ever.”
And if you think McCain’s the man to lead our foreign policy to new heights, you’re right – as long as you’re talking about new heights of stupidity and depravity:
In an interview with Time magazine this week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared that Iraq “is a peaceful and stable country now.” ThinkProgress spoke with Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) at the Democratic National Convention today, and asked them their response to McCain’s assertion. Wexler was incredulous, declaring, “He’s just dead wrong”:
WEXLER: Sen McCain’s judgment unfortunately has become so mistaken on so many things, and this is yet another example of his apparently not understanding the facts on the ground whatsoever. There still is a totally unacceptable level of killing in Iraq. There has been in effect ethnic cleansing in Iraq where religious groups are totally separated from one another. How he can call Iraq — what did you say he called it?
TP: A peaceful and stable country.
WEXLER: It is the furthest thing from a peaceful and stable country. And I guess if in fact he’s right then why do we have 150,000 troops there? We ought to bring them all home as quickly as possible even under his logic. He’s just dead wrong.
Think Progress has a depressing little list showing just how wrong McCain is. We need a president who understands reality, not another one who thinks reality is optional.
Maybe Americans are finally starting to realize that:
There are competing reports on when, exactly, the McCain campaign is going to announce its running mate, with some rumors the news could
come tonight. (Obama communications chief Dan Pfeiffer sounds skeptical: “If they do it, I will pay all of McCain’s mortgages next month.”)
McCain is, however, set to roll out his selection at an event in Dayton, Ohio, tomorrow. The good news for Republicans is that the event will probably generate enormous media attention. The bad news, the interest from locals isn’t nearly as great.
Barack Obama can fill a 75,000 seat stadium. John McCain, it seems, is having trouble filling a 10,000 seat theater in Dayton. They’re giving away free tickets in several states and
plan to bus in supporters. The VP announcement can’t be overshadowed by a less-than-capacity crowd.
That is kind of embarrassing. It’s a major event, in a swing state, in a city in which McCain has been advertising heavily. It’s also McCain’s 72nd birthday, when one might expect Republicans to come out and express their well-wishes. You’d think the interest in who McCain would pick for his ticket would be intense enough to draw an enormous crowd, but they’re having trouble filling a theater.
I hope this means they’ll be scrounging for votes come this November to ensure their defeat is merely resounding rather than humiliating.
These fuckwits have no business being in power anymore. I wouldn’t even trust them to run a fast food joint, much less a nation.
POW Week continues with a chorus of vets speaking out against McCain’s shameless POW peddling. I’m turning the Smack-o-Matic over to them for the evening.
Our first wielder, Valtin from Daily Kos, isn’t a vet, but works closely with them and thus belongs in this lineup:
I have never been tortured. But I have worked clinically with those who have, including U.S. POWs. I can tell you it breaks the mind and the body, the soul and the spirit, in a way that can never be forgotten.
Now John McCain cites his experience as a POW and torture victim as an anodyne to every mildly injurious political attack. While his painful experience as a POW matters in the history of the man, in our nation’s history, what matters now is that McCain has betrayed that experience, and the lives of thousands he could both know and not know. In doing so, he also betrayed the ideals of American fair-play and justice, going back to George Washington (who forbid his revolutionary army to engage in torture, even if the British did). As everyone should know, those ideals were not realized fully, and we are still fighting for them today. But McCain has trampled them in the mud.
What follows in regards to McCain’s enthusiastic support of torture leaves the Smack-o-Matic steaming. We’ll let it cool down a moment before we pass it on to our next wielder. Vets have been burned enough by McCain without us adding to the agony.
Right, then. C76 from Vet Voice – you’re up:
To the DNC and Senator Obama:
We all know that John McCain served in Vietnam and that he was a POW. We know it because the McCain camp reminds us of his sacrifice at every available opportunity. He uses it to explain away his fits of rage and the fact that he is so wealthy that he doesn’t know how many houses he owns or what kind of car he drives. It’s a cheap and easy way to extract himself from trouble, and the senator has shown absolutely no reservations about exploiting his service in an effort to explain away his mistakes. I find it crass that he chooses to use his military service as a crutch and a cudgel, but I suppose that it’s his right to whore out his time in prison as he sees fit.
The McCain campaign slogan might as well be “Fuck you: I was a POW.” It is their rallying cry and I’m surprised they haven’t had it trademarked. Even though it is both boorish and illogical, exploiting McCain’s service has allowed him to gain ground on Obama. Because of that fact, the Obama campaign and its surrogates absolutely must stop prefacing their remarks with variants of the phrase “I honor John McCain’s military service, but…” [emphasis added]
Daaamn. I especially love the blistering McDonald’s-Burger King analogy that follows. I think the Smack-o-Matic’s nearly reached the melting point.
Still got a few good whacks in it. Neil Riley from Vet Voice, get your elbow into it:
To the Senior Senator from Arizona:
Apparently you don’t read the diaries on Vetvoice. It’s OK and I’m not at all surprised. You haven’t been listening to the needs and concerns of this country’s veterans for sometime now. I am writing you in response to your extremely troubling appearance last night on Jay Leno’s program. When questioned on the number of homes you own (or really your wife), you dodged the question and again played the POW card.
What does that have to do with the question at hand?
Excellent question. The short answer: absofuckinglutely nothing. And Neil doesn’t stop pounding there – he goes on to contrast McCain’s POW playing with POWs who kept their honor. Nice one. The Smack-o-Matic is quickly headed for total meltdown.
The fact is, John McCain’s service during Vietnam was honorable and he sacrificed a great deal. But his service to the country carries no more weight than that of any other POW. Likewise, while McCain has given so much to his country, thousands of veterans–past and present–have given as much or more. In this war alone, thousands of troops have lost limbs, been paralyzed, and been burned beyond recognition. So to see McCain resort to playing the POW card when answering legitimate questions, in my mind, cheapens that experience. And by cheapening his own experience in war, he degrades all of our experiences in war. He turns the horrific incidents we’ve all seen, touched, smelled, and felt into a lame excuse to earn political points. And it dishonors us all.
Thank you, Brandon. Just chuck the Smack-o-Matic into that ice bath, thank you kindly. I think we’ve increased global warming by a factor of 6,000 tonight. Holy fucking shit.
These are brave men, good men, and honorable men. McCain might as well be spitting in their faces.
Remember them every time he pulls out his trusty POW card to buy his way out of a gaffe. If he’d treat them with such disrespect, just imagine what he’ll do to regular people.
Campaign for America’s Future has the greatest welcome gift evah. This is exactly what Republicons need to find on their pillows when they arrive for their conspiracy Convention:
A few short days from now, conservatives will swagger into the Republican National Convention in Minnesota with one main goal: sweep the conservative disasters of the last eight years under the rug.
They’re banking on a week of free media coverage to regurgitate their revisionist history, shift blame for America’s struggles to progressives, and pitch themselves — miraculously — as “best qualified” to fill the hole they’ve dug for eight straight years.
We’ve got a strategy to stop their shoveling, and we need your help to make it happen.
I wish I could be there to see the looks on their faces when this leaps from their TV screen. That would be an excellent memory indeed.
My stepmother’s computer could use a diagnosis, if anyone’s so inclined:
Seems like I am constantly getting the little grey box stating Microsoft has encountered an error and must shut down, blah, blah. Then my internet window will just disappear. Then if I am not on the internet, no window opened, a “voice” will come over my speakers, some ad. If I open Internet Explorer, I right click to start without add ons. It seems that is the ONLY way I can stay on a site without it closing. I have compressed, de-fragged, removed unnecessary programs, spyswept, and virus scanned constantly and I have no virus’, no spyware that is not quarantined and I am still having problems. I still have 89% space on my computer, so it is not as if that is a problem, but if I have more than 2 applications running, then I have a bubble that shows up that says my virtual memory is low and to close not needed applications. The guys who built my computer state that my Norton Systems works uses a lot of memory when in use but my computer should handle it. What a pain.
‘Tis indeed. Any ideas? I wouldn’t ordinarily beg like this, but damn it, she can’t send me photos of the kitten, and he’s growing fast. The situation is critial. This is the last I saw of my baby brudder:
Need more kitteh. Help!
Muchos gracias in advance!
(Tip o’ the shot glass to Bay of Fundie)
From the annals of totally useless but thoroughly entertaining news comes this recent study:
Partying Republicans in Washington will have to step it up after a recent survey of D.C.-area bartenders praised Democrats as being better tippers and talkers than their GOP counterparts.
The survey of 100 D.C.-area bartenders, conducted by Clarus Research Group for Beam Global Spirits & Wine, cast Democrats as more favorable bar patrons, as bartenders said they were better tippers, have better pick-up lines and were better at giving toasts.
Oh, hell yes. That’s my Dems. Better in every way, baby!
Snivelling Republicon spokesmen are casting aspersions on the survey, but the results are ironclad:
Brynna McCosker, the director of operations for Clarus, said the firm had tried to reduce sampling bias by surveying bartenders in parts of Washington seen as Republican strongholds, as well as Democratic hotspots.
Spin that, suckahs!
And lest you think this survey doesn’t reflect political realities, consider this bit o’ truthiness:
“Republicans seem to care little about America’s tomorrow,” quipped another Democratic staffer. “Between mixed drinks, body shots and pitchers of beer, Democrats seem to care little about their tomorrow morning.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
This survey is useful for another reason. Should I ever turn this virtual cantina into a brick, mortar and bottle one, I’ll know to charge Republicons a gratuity.
Drinks are free for Firedoglake denizens, who brought this very important survey to my attention, and available at a steep discount for Dems, who’ll make it up in the tips and the talk. And for you, my darlings, as always, drinks are on the house.
Today’s opining on the public discourse.
Barack Obama, claiming a prize never held by a black American, swept to the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday as thousands of national convention delegates stood and cheered his improbable triumph.
Former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton asked the convention delegates to make it unanimous “in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory.” And they did, with a roar.
Competing chants of “Obama” and “Yes we can” floated up from the convention floor as Obama’s victory was sealed. […]
Nice to see America catching up on the equality front. I myself was getting just a tad tired of nothing but white buggers in office. And I think Obama’s going to do a great job.
Certainly better than the alternative.
We could choose the uplifiting, inspiring and sensible Democrat, or we could pick…. the exact opposite:
Last week, senior Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice argued on a campaign conference call that there is “a pattern here of recklessness” when it comes to John McCain’s
approach to national security. Referencing McCain’s drive to target Iraq immediately after 9/11, Rice added, “There’s something to be said for letting facts drive judgment” On the same call, Richard Clarke slammed “quick-draw McCain,” calling him “reckless,” “trigger-happy” and “discredited.”
Yesterday, TNR’s Michael Crowley noted that Richard Danzig isn’t especially impressed with McCain’s temperament, either.
Former Navy Secretary, Obama advisor, and potential future Defense Secretary Richard Danzig is at a Truman Project-sponsored panel here, where he’s doing some gloating about recent Bush Administration foreign policy shifts….
A good moment came when Democratic Congressman Adam Smith of Washington, sitting in the audience, rose to ask Danzig for advice on how Democrats can deliver a tough foreign-policy message that will be credible to voters. When Danzig started to back euphemistically into the question, Smith — a proponent of tougher Obama campaign tactics generally — jumped back up. “Don’t be subtle!” he implored. “Just hit! Just say, ‘John McCain does not have an even temper, and how is that going to factor into national security?”
At that, Danzig played ball. “I think John McCain is well-known for ‘losing it’ in a variety of circumstances,” he said — something which has potential policy implications.
And for good measure, Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.), in separate interviews, talked about McCain’s propensity to “explode,” regardless of the
All of this comes just a few months after Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, one of McCain’s conservative Republican colleagues and a man who’s worked with McCain for years, raised serious doubts about McCain’s temperament. “The thought of him being president sends a cold chill down my spine,” Cochran said. “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”
He worries me, too. And it’s not just his hot temper, it’s his spectacularly bad choices in, well, everything. Let’s see just how hideous McCain’s judgement is, shall we?
In the wake of John McCain’s latest tacit admission that he’s got nothing to offer Americans other than fear itself — last month it was Iran, last week it was Russia, today it’s Iran again — it’s worth pointing out that John McCain and his foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann have a longstanding relationship with an Iranian collaborator.
I’m referring of course to Ahmad Chalabi, the notorious Iraqi former exile who was the source of much of the bad WMD intelligence used by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq war. Chalabi has now been effectively disavowed by the administration because of his connections to Iranian regime, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, who the U.S.
has designated a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Newsday’s Knute Royce reported that “The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a
U.S.-funded arm of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence…to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets.”
Ahmad Chalabi viewed the United States, and the men and women of the American military, as mere instruments for the achieving of his goals. This is the man who John McCain defended as “a patriot.” An INC representative recently described Scheunemann and Chalabi as “close friends.”
Charming. With friends like that, America certainly won’t need enemies: we’ll have a plethora.
In other news, the Republicons have come to a difficult decision:
For quite some time now, Republicans have taken pleasure in calling the Democratic Party the “Democrat Party.” Apparently, using poor grammar is entertaining to Republicans, and has been for years. In 1996, the GOP platform excised references to the “Democratic Party” altogether.
This year, at long last, there’s a sense of progress.
For years now, the GOP has gone after “Democrat schemes,” “Democrat presidents,” “Democrat Congresses” — all phrases from the 1996 Republican platform, repeated many times since. Twenty years earlier, Bob Dole famously declared that all wars of the 20th century were “Democrat wars.”
On Tuesday, members of the Republican platform committee meeting in Minneapolis voted down a proposal to call the opposition the “Democrat Party” in the 2008 platform. Instead, they’ll go with the proper Democratic Party.
“We probably should use what the actual name is,” said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the panel’s chairman. “At least in writing.”
Probably. In writing, anyway. But no guarantees. After all, if the Republicons start slipping in the polls, nothing eviscerates the Democratic Party like leaving off the “ic,” right?
These people really couldn’t get much more sad, scary and ridiculous.