In which it is proven that John McCain is in fact dead and has been replaced by an impostor.

1.  John McCain is a man of integrity.  I know this because he has said so himself, over and over and over, and because every reporter in Washington seems to believe him, even in the face of all the evidence.

2. A man of integrity keeps his commitments.   Otherwise what does “integrity” mean?

3. John McCain promised to fight for campaign finance reform “Until I draw my last breath.” Dana Milbank, self-described “original McCainiac,” says so.

4. The man now in office as the senior Senator from Arizona refuses to fight for campaign finance reform in the wake of the Citizens United decision. That same man has also disowned all of McCain’s other “maverick” stances, for example by voting against the budget commission that was one of the main planks in his campaign platform.

5. Therefore, John McCain has, in fact, drawn his last breath, and the man now voting and blathering in his name is an impostor.

Objection Overruled

The Republicans may be evil, but that won’t win elections for the Democrats.

Mark, surely you know the nature of a rhetorical question.  And I agree with you that the other side is flat out evil.  But few people are as partisan as we are, at least on an outpatient basis.

I posed the question because it goes to the question of depressing — and betraying — the promises that Obama has made to the country and to the base.  You and I will continue to vote and support Democrats against the Republicans because (to borrow from Nye Bevan) the Republicans are “lower than vermin.”  But for the millions of people who voted for the man, stating that Republicans are evil is not enough.  They won’t show up to the polls.

He has to deliver.  He hasn’t, yet.  I won’t go through the litany again.  But “trust me” or good speeches are simply not good enough anymore.

Asked and answered

Why did we work to elect Obama, Jonathan wants to know. John McCain’s comments on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provide one answer.

Jonathan wonders why he worked for, and gave to, Barack Obama. John McCain, a compassionate conservative if there ever was one, feels Jonathan’s pain, and answers his question for him:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy.

This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels. We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy.

John McCain says that he’s proud of and grateful to the thousands or tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Americans now in uniform, and thinks that while they’re risking their lives for the rest of us they should be forced to remain in the closet.  Knowing that the change is going to be made and that the brass has already signed off on it – else it wouldn’t have been in the SOTU, with the SecDef applauding – McCain decides to make the transition harder rather than easier, merely to f*ck with the man who defeated him a year ago.    And the rest of the Republicans think of McCain as a moderate, a RINO.

We gave to and worked for Obama because – among other reasons – the other side is flat-out evil.

McCain, Limbaugh, Forests, and Trees

Jake Tapper argues that Obama’s Spanish-language radio ad linking John McCain to Rush Limbaugh is a distortion. He’s got a kernel of a point, but that point itself is distorted.

Tapper really goes into wingnut territory when he tries to exonerate Limbaugh from the charge of crude anti-Latino prejudice. His stronger argument is that Limbaugh hates McCain: to conflate the two, he says, is a cheap shot.

That’s wrong, for a simple reason. We do not just elect Presidents in a presidential election; we elect administrations.

McCain has been running perhaps the most right-wing campaign since Robert Taft. He has cozied up to the GOP’s Taliban wing for several months now. He has acknowledged that he would not vote for his own immigration bill if it came up for a vote. Whom do you think he will appoint to key positions that concern immigration?

We know that the one time he had to make an appointment–his running mate–he caved to the social conservative base. One might even call Palin a dittohead.

Tapper seems to acknowledge this, but nevertheless insists that all McCain is saying that the country “has to secure its borders” before embarking on a more comprehensive bill.

This is a cop-out: given the enormous push factors on immigration, to say that he will not move toward a comprehensive solution until illegal immigration is reduced to a trickle is saying that he will never do it.

Just as importantly, Tapper claims that Obama was wrong to say that “McCain is no friend of Latinos at all.” Look: political advertisements aren’t about psychoanalysis, and neither are elections. It just doesn’t matter what McCain might or might not believe in his heart of hearts: for myself, I suspect that any moderate impulses he might have on the issue are about agribusiness and political demographics. But it’s really irrelevant.

The point is: what will a McCain Administration do on the issues? McCain’s campaign has made that very clear. And no amount of parsing will change that.

By the way: I suspect any pushback on this won’t work well, especially because McCain now can’t afford to separate himself from Limbaugh, and because apparently he doesn’t know the difference between Spain and Latin America.

McCain folds again

No exceptions for rape, incest, or saving the mother’s life in the Republican Platform’s anti-abortion plank.

Is there any issue on which McCain will stand up to the religious right? In 2000, and as late as last year, he argued that the Republican Platform ought to be changed so its hard anti-abortion position had exceptions for cases of rape or incest, and where abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. Now he’s backed off.

There’s a polite term for this: flip-flopping.

And then there’s an accurate word for it: cowardice.

Footnote Add this to the list of questions reporters ough to ask McCain: “The Republican Platform calls for an absolute ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. You used to be in favor of changing that language. Has your stance changed? Do you support the platform you’re running on?

McCain’s smoothness at Saddleback–another take

Jim Fallows has a useful take on McCain’s relatively smooth (can you say stump speech?) performance at Saddleback.

Jim Fallows (before the questions about the “cone of silence”) suggested the following points about McCain’s relatively smooth performance at Saddleback:

1) There were no follow-up questions — and the initial questions were less in-your-face even than some of McCain’s town halls. [This allowed McCain to deliver the stream-of-consciousness monologues that are his trademark, often not answering the actual question.]

2) There was relatively little pressure on McCain, because it was a basically friendly crowd [and because McCain had already made peace with the agents of intolerance well to the right of Saddleback].

3) The Obama campaign and its allies should all now stress that this shows what a great debater McCain is and that debating is not Obama’s strong suit– building up expectations so that McCain’s predictably poor performance in the actual debates (with gotchas and follow-up and a live opponent) will be seen as a debacle.

Update On NBC network news this evening, Andrea Mitchell reported that McCain prepared for Saddleback with “a debate coach from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.” In context, this was offered as an explanation for how McCain could have been so responsive without cheating. How far McCain has come in his political persona since 2000!

How anti-choice is John McCain?

Completely. Utterly. With deep and abiding conviction.
Sarah Blustain of TNR has details, including a couple of classic McCain tantrums.

Completely. Utterly. With real conviction.

Sarah Blustain at TNR has the gory details, including a couple of classic McCain temper tantrums.

Key votes:

* 125 anti-choice votes out of a possible 130 (he’s pro-stem-cell research).

* For the global gag rule.

* Against Medicaid funding of abortions for rape victims.

* Against protecting clinic staff and patients from “right to life” intimidation, after the murder of Dr. David Gunn.

Los Angeles Times: Sub-zero stupid

One might think that the press might feel a little sheepish about its performance during the 2000 election, in which it mindlessly repeated the notion and helped convince the public that Bush and Gore were really the same, and that there really wasn’t that much difference between the parties–an egregious journalistic failure that has already had catastrophic results.

One would be wrong.

Sunday’s Los Angeles Times leads with an article entitled, “Obama, McCain agree on many once-divisive issues” with the subtitle: “Their similar stances on immigration, nuclear weapons, global warming and stem-cell research are evidence of a centrist shift in the political landscape.”

Never–and this is high bar–have I seen a more misleading and shallow piece of so-called journalism. As long as Sam Zell is trying and succeeding in destroying the Times by firing writers, he might as well start with the scribes who penned this atrocity–Janet Hook, Peter Wallsten, and Peter Nicholas

Where to start? Well, here’s an easy one:

Both McCain and Obama favor combating global warming with a “cap and trade” system. Under this plan, the government would set limits on emissions. Companies and others who emit gases below those limits would be able to sell credits to those unable to meet the targets.

Except that, you know, McCain doesn’t think there should actually be a cap, and has opposed the already extremely weak Warner-Lieberman bill. He thinks global warming is a problem; he just doesn’t want to do anything about it. As opposed to Obama, who thinks it’s a problem, and does want to do something about it. See? No difference at all.

Here’s another:

McCain has repeatedly opposed setting timetables for withdrawing U.S. forces, but more recently he has said he wants most troops out by 2013 — the first time he has mentioned a specific date.

Obama has repeatedly said he would withdraw troops within 16 months of taking office, but he has hedged in ways that would give him wide latitude: He says he will listen to military commanders, will react to events on the ground and may “refine” his plan after his upcoming trip to Iraq.

Except that McCain thinks that the US troop presence can be so benign that US forces can remain there for a century, whereas Obama, well, wants to get troops out in 16 months. See? Pretty much the same!

Or this one:

Both embrace the idea of continuing Bush’s faith-based initiative, a program that funnels federal money to religious charities for social services.

Except that Obama wants to ensure that these charities don’t discriminate and don’t use federal money for proselytization, and well, McCain does. What’s a Constitution between friends?

And, as a final example, the Times insists that “the candidates are also converging on the major issue of immigration — to the surprise and delight of immigrant advocates and businesses who depend on their labor.”

Well–who knows where McCain is on immigration nowadays. Disavowing his own bill one day, coming back the next, It really depends on whom he speaks to. But the Times assures us that he really believes in a comprehensive reform because–and as Dave Barry would say, I’m pretty sure I’m not making this up–the very pro-Republican National Restaurant Association tells us so! (The NRA opposes increasing the minimum wage, the Lili Ledbetter Act, paid sick leave, and card-check legislation, but supports permanent repeal of the estate tax: just the sorts of objective viewpoint that we can count on to tell us whether McCain is a moderate!).

But no matter, because:

Obama speaks more directly to the idea of legalization, and McCain addresses it in subtle terms, but advocates say the position is essentially the same.

“Sen. McCain never really repudiated his [original] position,” said Tamar Jacoby, who heads a business coalition called ImmigrationWorks USA. “Saying you’re going to do it in phases doesn’t mean you’re not going to do it.”

Yes, of course: Tamar Jacoby, who has showed her own straight-shooting bonafides by being part of the Manhattan Institute, writing for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and spending a lot of time on Fox News.

What do Hook, Wallsten, and Nicholas do with their time? They certainly don’t do any research. As they used to say in the Tootsie Pop ads: the world may never know.