George Graham

McCain Must Be Counting on Voters Who Can’t Do the Math

John McCain  (as a Navy officer, below, right) is either a fool (he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis) or a con man. Or both. Whatever he is, he is obviously counting on math-challenged voters to get elected president of the United States.

mccainAlmost everything the man says is self-contradictory. And I’m not just talking about flip-flops. He has changed his position on so many issues that he could have an hour-long debate with himself and not run out of material. He was against offshore drilling; now he’s for it. He was against the Bush tax cuts to the richest Americans; he’s for that now, too. He was for a comprehensive plan to solve the immigration crisis; no longer. He voted repeatedly against tax breaks for alternative energy development; now he’s touting that as part of his energy plan. He used to be pro-environment; now he has chosen a rabid anti-environmentalist as his running mate. He used to be for “experience”; now he’s for “change” in Washington (why, you might wonder, didn’t he change things during his 25 years as a senator?). I’m sure you can think of more flip-flops, but that’s not what this blog is about.

What got under my skin this morning is the man’s assumption that I am a moron. How else can you explain the nonsense he asks me to accept?

He is going to cut taxes (especially for the rich) – and balance the budget. Indeed, I’ve heard him invite listeners to look him in the eye while he promised “no new taxes.” Don’t you need revenues to balance a budget? Where would those revenues come from if not from taxes? Furthermore, he will “never surrender” in Iraq, which is costing American taxpayers about $10 billion a month, yet he will pay off the deficit. You can do the math, right? Do his figures make sense to you?

He is going to improve America’s health care by eliminating employee benefits and enriching health-care companies. Gee, thanks Mac. That’s going to be a real boon to America’s working families (not!). He is going to put money in the pockets of working Americans by subsidizing oil companies and reducing corporate taxes. (What is that? The same trickle-down baloney we’ve heard time and again but have never seen actually work?)

He is “bipartisan” and will put his country before his party, yet, according to AP writer Liz Sidoti, who covered his speech at the Republican Convention last night, “even as he preached bipartisanship, McCain served up Republican dogma to the willing crowd, on abortion, taxes, national security, oil drilling.”

And apparently McCain can’t see the irony in calling for an end to “constant partisan rancor” in the same speech that he shoots barbs at his Democratic opponent. Here’s Sidoti’s report:

For all his talk of reaching across the aisle, McCain got in his jabs at Obama. After all, there are only two months until Election Day. He said Obama would raise taxes, close markets, increase government spending, eliminate jobs. He criticized Obama on energy, health care, and education policies. The audience was clearly hungry for it: They booed Obama after every criticism….

Perhaps the Republican’s sharpest hit came without even a mention of his Democratic rival.

“I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need,” McCain mocked. “My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.”

McCain has cast Obama as a presumptuous candidate, and his campaign has likened the Democrat to a would-be messiah.

The Arizona senator also issued a warning “to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming.” That, too, was an indirect Obama reference. McCain has suggested his Democratic rival puts personal ambition above the country.

If that’s not “partisan rancor,” what is? McCain claims that he is not a Republican or a Democrat in one breath yet promises in the next breath:  “Let there be no doubt, my friends, we’re going to win this election.” We? Could that be the Republican Party whose delegates he was addressing? How “partisan” is that?

While McCain’s clumsy con game annoys me, that’s not what frightens me most about the old coot. It’s his reckless disregard that makes my hair stand on end. No, I don’t mean his impulsive last-minute choice of a “hockey mom” from Alaska as his running mate. That’s more comical than scary. What’s really scary is his hair-trigger temper and bellicose posturing.

Did you catch that promise to “fight for (America) as long as I draw breath, so help me God”? The old guy is itching for a fight. He is eager to “bomb, bomb, bomb” Iran, to stay in Iraq for a hundred years if necessary, to take up arms against Russia in defense of Georgia.

“We are all Georgians today,” he declared (erroneously, of course – not to mention presumptuously) when Russia invaded its neighbor. This is the same guy who had such a chip on his shoulder as a kid that he was known as “Punk,” who earned a reputation for irascibility in the Senate, who frequently spats with reporters.

At 72 years old, he probably sees a promise of going out in style while the world is engulfed in war. So what if thousands of young Americans march into battle, to be slaughtered or maimed? That vision must look glorious to an old war horse like McCain. But it chills me to the bone.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com