McCain’s Old Time Racism

Jake Tapper of ABC reports on McCain’s race problem:

McCain as a young congressman in 1983 voted against a federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most Republicans in the House voted for the holiday (89 voted for the holiday, 77 opposed), though all three Arizona House Republicans were opposed. Reps. Dick Cheney, R-Wyoming, and Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, voted for the holiday. (Cheney had voted against it in 1978.)

Dick Cheney was able to figure out that Dr. Martin Luther King was someone America should honor by 1984, but he’s a young buck compared to McCain. Sure, times have changed for Old Man McCain. Not only is MLK Day a holiday, but we’ve even had serious African-American presidential candidates. One of them is likely going to be the Democratic nominee in 2008. I hope this isn’t happening at too fast a pace for McCain to adjust.

My guess is we see more repulsive anachronisms from John McCain as journalists (and the Democratic nominee) get around to casting a critical eye on his record. McCain is not who you think he is.  Tapper’s story shows that as last as the 1990s McCain was beholden to the most extreme right-wing elements in his party. The people who that organized against honoring MLK with a holiday. Even Cheney had come around by 1984, and here’s McCain voting against it in 1984, and in 1990 saying he’s for a state amendment and against a national law. John McCain is no moderate. He is not independent minded. He is a reactionary and a neo-conservative who will, in the words of Joe Scarborough, only offer America “less jobs and more wars.” What Scarborough is essentially saying is that McCain offers more of the same thing we’ve seen from the Republican Party under Bush. I don’t know why anyone aware of that fact would be able to stomach it.


I think Joe Lieberman has been spending way too much time with John McCain.

Well, I think that – let me say generally that Sen. Obama doesn’t come to this debate with a lot of credibility…

If we did what Sen. Obama wanted us to do last year, Al-Qaeda in Iran would be in control of Iraq today. The whole Middle East would be in turmoil and American security and credibility would be jeopardized.

Right, because it’s the guys who think Al Qaeda is working inside Iran to operate in Iraq who have a stranglehold on credibility when it comes to Iraq.

McCain’s Illegal Campaign

Jane Hamsher points to a Boston Globe article that looks at how perceived campaign finance guru John McCain  is  engaging in illegal campaigning that gives lie to his reputation. Unfortunately the Globe article, by Susan Milligan, fails to fully grasp how clearly in the wrong McCain is. Jane rightly points to this line:

During the Republican primaries, McCain took out a $4 million line of credit for his then-flagging campaign, using the promise of federal matching funds as collateral. But after his candidacy rebounded, he never actually accepted the federal funds, allowing him to raise and spend more private money.

This looks to me like an instance where a reporter starts down the right path when describing a story, but, upon arriving at the rub that makes McCain look bad, turns back and toes his campaign’s line on what happened and why he’s not actually in trouble.

I also think it’s worth remembering that while McCain has a reputation for being a proponent of campaign finance reform, the presidential matching funds system predates McCain’s entry into Congress by many, many years. As such, it’s not that McCain is flip-flopping by violating legislation that he helped author. Instead, he’s just simply breaking the law by campaigning in large excess past the caps set for a candidate in the matching funds system.

This is an important distinction because the charge of flip-flopping or hypocrisy concedes that McCain has a reputation as a campaign finance reformer. As we’re likely to hear a lot of that from the press both in this story and throughout the campaign, I’d be happier to not reinforce that narrative and just focus on the fact that he’s breaking a law that he played no role in passing.

American President?

John McCain‘s new campaign slogan:

John McCain: The American president Americans have been waiting for.

Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Which is to say that every American President has been an American President. This ad is a clear signal that the McCain campaign and likely the GOP more generally are going to push narratives that imply that Barack Obama would not be an “American president.”

Mother Jones and TPM: Election Central have more.

McCain: “I am a illiterate” [sic]

Shorter John McCain: Oh, they have the internet on computers now?

You know you’re out of touch when Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee all come across as more in touch with the 21st century than you do.

I also don’t know how someone who does not use computers at all can be considered competent to respond to the volume of information coming into the White House from high-tech sources and surveillance mechanisms. I mean, can you imagine the befuddled, out of touch look McCain would get if Mark Klein tried to explain how the NSA’s tap into the AT&T backbone of the internet works? Having a passing understanding of how things work isn’t exactly a remarkable request for someone who’s trying to convince the country that, at 72+ years old, he’s fit to be President.