Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today's John McCain

Listening to a radio interview with John McCain today while doing some room cleaning, it was almost impossible to remember the ornery but balanced campaigner during the 2008 Republican primary or the wild Senator who matured into an across the aisle constructive legislator at various times. His litany today of obfuscations, half-truths, completely revisionist recent history, and outright lies can only be described as embarrassing.

Some would say that this performance is only politics, as McCain is being challenged in the Arizona Republican primary by former Representative J.D. Hayworth, whose right wing self righteous blowhard credentials cannot be questioned. This may be a sign of the times but for someone who once was viewed by many as unafraid to be a leader, it's disappointing. That characteristic could be said to be the pivot of McCain's entire reputation(that and the POW experience) as he has never been viewed as especially brilliant, rarely as hard working on policy, or as any kind of self-made man given his grandfather and father's exceptional military records and his wife's money, always a lucky Pierre. To completely trash the exemplary part of his reputation for thick skinned leadership and integrity now is sad to watch, just because of J.D. Hayworth.

McCain is now on the cusp, however, of success in relegating himself to an asterisk in history as he morphs into a lower level imitation of his chosen running mate Palin who ruined any chance that he had for election as President.

Postscript: It was especially galling to hear McCain describe how he was misled by Treasury Secretary Paulsen when he voted for the eventual financial rescue package. According to McCain today, "We were all misled. We were told that it was to buy distressed mortgage securities to help the market, but instead the money was just given to the big banks". McCain himself is as responsible as anyone for that outcome. Remember, he halted his campaign to rush back to Washington. Lagging in the polls, he was desperate to show that he was a leader on issues that he has never known anything about(his own admission in the past). With a vote pending he galvanized a group of fellow Republicans to defy the Republican administration and turn back the original Treasury department proposal. That proposal, if passed, would have likely been able to swoop into the market and stabilize prices in the securities markets, stop the panic. Forced to regroup, Treasury created a broad based proposal with plenty of pork that was passed four weeks later, when there was not enough liquidity in the markets to successfully intervene. Markets don't wait for political squabbles. The only recourse at that point was to go directly into the troubled financial institutions.


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