McCain the Maverick?

Someone calling him/herself “Hombre” made a comment on the blog regarding the ongoing political debate. I actually have no idea who Hombre is, but I’m glad he weighed in on an important point.

If you judge candidates by their actions as opposed to their words, Obama is the LEAST likely of the three to bridge the gap, as it were. Oddly, John McCain seems to be the MOST likely to actually listen to and work with members of the opposing party.

I have to agree with Hombre that one of the defining characteristics of McCain’s long tenure is stepping across the aisle and breaking with party-affiliation in service of a particular issue. I’ve often said that I myself would break with my Democratic voting record to support the “maverick.”

But, quite frankly, after nearly becoming the Democratic VP candidate in ’04, McCain took pains to ally himself with not just the Republican party, but specifically the Bush administration. While I thought switching parties would have been extreme, I was sorely disappointed in his cowering conciliation. It seemed like he realized that if he wanted to be president one day, he had to play by the very rules he had become famous for flaunting. His tardy endorsement of Bush’s campaign that year came off as wan and defeated. And my hunch is that conciliation was only the beginning, as he strains now to pull the neo-cons and a soon-to-be-disenfranchised religious right into the tent with his challenging voting record.

He can still be unpredictable. He can still be volatile. And, lately, he can even be doddering. But is he really the maverick anymore?

12 thoughts on “McCain the Maverick?

  1. Ah yes…”context”. I’m sure in the right context Wright’s statemtnts that “America created HIV to kill blacks”, makes much more sense. Keep trying to prove to your community that you’re one of the “good” white people while acknowledging these hateful (rooted in truth?) comments. A church that honors a man like Louis Farrakahn is all I need to hear. If you don’t know this man’s legacy sit down at YouTube for about 2 minutes and listen to what Mr. Farrakhan has to say particularly about Jews – charming and certainly deserving of a lifetime achievement award. Oh I forgot, he probably helped build a school or church at some point in his life so therefore he’s not an evil (yes, I said it) person. This type of pure hate should not be tolerated.

    I’ll take the jello-pudding pop man over Obama any day. Cosby speaks the truth and is condemned in the black community. Obama claims to speak about uniting, while at the same time on occasional sundays he subjects his children to hateful tirades. What’s so ironic about the liberal community is that the over-the-top political correctness which is counter productive. Don’t you find it interesting that in an election year where the incumbent is very unpopular and McCain wants to continue to be on offense against terror (as crazy as that sounds) that the race between him and the democrat is neck and neck? Maybe it’s because people are sick of listening to America-haters no matter what their lot in life is currently.

  2. “That ignorance and hate
    may morn the dead
    it is believing,
    it is believing.”

    All I’m asking is for everyone to drop our hate and ignorance and racism and nationalism before we destroy ourselves like our European progenitors did. I’m audacitously hopeful; but tomorrow never knows.

  3. The RWNCIWLOHA (Right Wing Neo-Con Iraq War Lovers and Obama Haters Association) has been following this blog for some time and has decided to begin a Trojan “grass roots” blogosphere attack on Reverend Wright.

    By some typographical error, the wrong Wright was chosen. We are profoundly sorry. “Donald” (actually Karl Rove) and I, on behalf of all the members of RWNCIWLOHA, would like to apologize for this misintrusion upon your sacred soil.

    We had hoped the misplaced attack would be relegated to the dustbins of history, but through the persistent and careful investigation of Gordon and his trusty sidekicks, we have been discovered and must confess and ask for absolution.

    What we will not ask for, however, is forgiveness for our insistence on racial equality. We all have ancestors who have been slaves at some point in the past; we have all suffered in America for one reason or another; the pioneer, even a trespassing one, deserved scalping and mutilation no more than did a Cherokee deserve to be massacred in his own village, and descendants of neither should have a present valid “claim” on the property or guilt of another; neither should the sins of slaveowners and traders, whether genetically African or European, be imputed to their children to the nth generation. I utterly reject this line of reasoning, as if by asking for racial equality I don’t “understand” blacks. I think both of us, having been in school with them for so long, understand them better than many. After all, you’re talking to “The Klan” and “The White Nigger”, as my nicknames were (appellations bestowed upon me, not my choice I can assure you!). Blacks are people, just like you and me. To claim that they cannot get over their past negative experiences in America, unlike say the Chinese or Irish, is to do them a disservice, to put them down a notch on the scale of humanity, yes, indeed, this is racism in disguise, the racism of the “caring master” who, while well intentioned, was still condescending towards his property.

    A trireme attack on this may be:

    “Get Over It”

    As it says in the book of the prophet Ezekiel (slightly paraphrased), no son should be punished for the sins of his father, nor should a father be punished for the sins of his son, but each should be responsible for his own sins.

    What this has to do with health care, I’m not quite sure. I’m not asking for reparations from the cardiac surgeon who lives next door or “understanding” of why I deliver hate-filled diatribes on nurses. I’m asking for universal insurance coverage. Problems with the current health insurance system is something we have all had to deal with at some point in our life, just as all races have had to deal with being enslaved at some point in their past.

    I would venture our fundamental disagreement is whether whites, and by implication East and South Asians and Middle Easterners and Aboriginals and Black Egyptians and all the other people that receive no racial preference from the law of the United States, are to be held responsible for the past suffering of slaves and their descendants in America. I think they are not responsible, you seem to be implying they are. That is our fundamental disagreement and I don’t think it can be argued anymore; it is simply an ethical opinion in which we differ.

    Like, perhaps, whether “guns and religion” are worth clinging to. Come on, he’s just baiting us now!

    I emphatically do not believe that Whites should feel guilt. I think both Obama and Cosby and many others have eloquently addressed the importance and urgency of moving forward in race-relations in our country. The last thing we need at this stage is blame. What we need is understanding.

    The alarming and offensive sound bites of Rev. Wright, when taken in context, form a larger narrative of anger and infuriation that vast numbers in the black community fervently believe. The point is not that we should simply let others say what they want out of some sort of meek sympathy or misplaced guilt. The point is that we should accept — not disown — these opinions and beliefs as those being nurtured and harbored in segregated environments, and by staring baldly at any rotten truths or egregious distortions, only then can we start to repair and move on.

    Recently, Michael Eric Dyson was on Meet the Press for a MLK retrospective, and he said something I thought was interesting:

    When you heard Jeremiah Wright, what you heard was the latter-day Martin Luther King Jr. When you hear Barack Obama, you hear Dr. King up to 1965. In black churches, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We have been subject to American genocide.” He also went on to say that he didn’t want to be treated the same way the Japanese brothers and sisters did when they were put in the concentration camps. And the sermon he was going to deliver, Tim, the next Sunday, were he to live, found in the effects after he was murdered, was a sermon called “Why America May Go To Hell.” That’s the Martin Luther King Jr. with which the broad swath of America is not familiar, and they don’t understand within the black church, the articulation of a theological tradition that responds to hatred, doesn’t respond in hate but prophetic anger and then, ultimately, love, love enough to speak justice to the nation. Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public, and Martin Luther King Jr. did this when he did — when he talked specifically to black churches.

    There is truth in the contentious claims made in many black churches, but there are also many falsehoods. I don’t see how we hope to broker any understanding on either side without acknowledging first those claims and cries which are rooted in truth, and then seeking to rectify inaccuracies.

  4. Well Gordon…I’d like to give you a heads up and you should be prepared for another blog entry regarding another Obama “landmark speech”. This time, Obama will give a speech in response to his typical liberal elitist comments about small town america clinging to religion and guns. What a uniter he is!! I’m sure in a few days Obama will stand up in front of a podium and give a teary-eyed proclamation of his love for all people. It will be interesting to see if he can throw his grandmother under the bus yet again. Frankly, nothing he can say via prepared statement by speech writers can erase his true colors and sentimetns towards America.

  5. Politics politics politics! Reminds me of one of my favorite movies:

    Stoned Soldier: Do you care if it falls?
    Stoned Soldier: What?
    Stoned Soldier: The Roman Empire.
    Stoned Soldier: [Laughs] Fuck it.

    Yes, that movie. Time to step back up on my soapbox, having gotten most of the way through Suetonius’ work, with newfound prospective.

    Wealth is suicide.

    What? What am I talking about?

    Wealth: of money, the productive capital and capacity that it represents, of concentration of power, of military greatness, of knowledge, of learning. It is, simply, suicidal.

    I can find no other conclusion. Across all cultural, geographic, linguistic, racial, and religious boundaries, there is one thing that causes a society to self destruct more than any other: wealth.

    Sumer, Egypt, Judea, Rome, Greece, the Gupta, the Maya, the Tang, the Sultans, the Mongols, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Ottomans, the French, the Germans, the Japanese, the British, the Soviets…

    The Americans?

    The West?

    I see it now, the classic signs. Wealth to the point that starvation in the home provinces becomes unheard of. Centers of learning world renowned. Advances in technology, engineering. A magnet for the best and brightest.

    A declining birth rate. Declining population of freeborn citizens. Concentration of executive power. Military overextension. Increasing replacement of religion and custom by those of vastly different migrants.

    I have yet to see an exception to the cycle. Europe and Japan are in the last stages of the cycle, which beguiled Rome, from which no nation can hold back the tide: demographic suicide. There is no cure, as of yet, to the wealth-induced tendency to avoid bearing children that became a major problem in Imperial Rome among the Roman Citizens, especially the upper class equestrian and patrician orders. This same tendency creates a feedback loop of concentrated wealth through inheritance and the need for immigration to support it, until finally, at some point, there is no longer a loyal army to defend you. Europe is being overrun by Muslim immigrants, with the Dutch now being afraid of showing films critical of Mohamed. Japan is choosing, rather than immigration, depopulation, which just postpones conquest. Israel has put itself in the unenviable position of not only occupying an extremely hostile people with a much faster growth rate than themselves, but also having their own Arab citizens with a faster growth rate than the Jews; even the high birth rate of the Ultra-Orthodox is not expected to avoid Jews becoming a minority soon not only in Israel/Palestine, but in Israel proper.

    America is better than any of these examples at assimilation. The question then becomes, can America assimilate faster than it imports people? I don’t know. I hope so.

    But I see in many Americans the same self-destructive, suicidal behavior, the same state of denial, the same burden of guilt, that haunts the others. This confluence of world outlook that creates a demographic time-bomb. And given the below-replacement birth rate of American-born citizens, the malaise is similar to that of Europe and Japan, and in that regard even more severe than that of the Sabra.

    Cracks in assimilation appear in many forms. We see the dismissal of racist comments as “acceptable difference”. We see the education of students in Spanish as the primary teaching language. We see, as in previous blog comments of other posts, a rehashing of the “separate but equal” doctrine. The Balkanization of America.

    I have hope, perhaps even audaciously. But my hope is not Obama, of unity through understanding and accepting different communities. That only leads to eventual genocide and civil war. I seek to avoid the fate of the Basque/Muslims/Jews in Spain, the Greeks and Armenians in Turkey, the Jews in Northern Europe, Tutsi in Rwanda, whites in Zimbabwe, the Tibetans in China, countless others throughout history.

    We must have one community, one culture, with differences that never descend into split neighborhoods, exclusive social groups, divided communities.

    I think of the Jews, the healthy Jews, the ones that are interspersed with Gentiles in America, but I also think of the ones in Brooklyn and various communities in New York living separate and apart from everyone else. They are an example of how assimilation can, or cannot work, in this country, assimilation without obliteration of culture.

    Closer to home, I see two types of Chinese Americans: those that associate almost universally and exclusively with other Chinese Americans, and those who have friends of all kinds.

    From whites, there are those who make constructive changes to advance the assimilation of races and obliteration of racism, like Lyndon Johnson. On the other hand, we all know of “progressive” white liberals who never seem to have non-white friends. Maybe a Jew or two, almost never religious of course (serious religious friends of any variety are rarely welcome in such circles). Not to speak of course of the country-club whites with their monoculture neighborhoods, families, and churches; or the usually lower-class small-town racist whites who seem to have only bad things to say about other races, especially blacks.

    The blacks. Some, like Obama’s father, who can bridge the divide and make bonds with whites, who can be great colleagues at work, who can transcend the past and the visual differences and fulfill King’s dream. Others, like Obama, his wife, and pastor, who seem to be unable to overcome the cultural barriers, who accept division as inevitable, who think that past injustice against people of their kind in the past excuse the same against people not of their kind in the future.

    Yes, I have hope. But hope must come from all of us, liberals and conservatives, whites and blacks, from accepting not just what has been done wrong in the past BUT WHAT WE ARE DOING WRONG RIGHT NOW, IN THOUGHT AND ACTION, to avoid demographic suicide, Balkanization, and inevitable genocide and destruction.

    Whew, I need a drink.

    Seriously! Wow…

    I have to say, it sounds like you want assimilation without having to work through the difficult and significant baggage that comes with centuries of ethnic tension and subordination. Believe me, I’d be psyched if we could all just start living like Sesame Street tomorrow, but there are some profound inequities in the way our country has formed that would simply need to be addressed.

    I was curious to see how directly your opinion about health care was affected by your personal experience. Can you not empathically project that experience to other realms, such as racial subjugation and poverty? I’d be extremely interested what you had to say about the recent PBS series hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., African American Lives. I think he takes a very honest historian’s look at the issues that arise for Black Americans, whether their ancestry derives directly from slaves or not.

  6. ABF…well played. Although I’m more on board with McCain now than you seem to be, I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments about Obama’s questionable character and judgement. As a Jewish conservative I have to say, however, that to a large degree Jews are our own worst enemy. Take the inexplicable example of the Jewish backing of Gov. Blagojevich. The governor appointed a vile and proud anti-semite to the anti hate-crime board, yet Jews continue to flock to democrats like lemmings. It’s truly amazing. And since Blagojevich knows his Jewish backing is unwavering even in the face of anti-semetic appointees he never backed down. If he appointed a KKK member to this same board Sharpton and Jackson would be marching down State St the next day. If Jews themselves aren’t proud enough to stand up against such an outrage how can we expect others to stand up for us. People’s hatred of Bush has blinded them to acknowledging the obvious questionable-at-best decisions and alliances of Obama. If we piece together all of Barack’s and his wife’s statements regarding our country that has given them both all the opportunities imaginable I for one can’t help but question his loyalities.

  7. Disappointed in the Bush administration, even our government in general, fine. Associating with, defending, and continuing to associate with someone who is both your Spiritual Advisor and at the same time equates the entire United States with the KKK, and publishes a Hamas article in the church bulletin, is not fine at all. Did you read the article in “The Pastors Page”? Completely fuckin’ unbelievable. It is totally inexcusable. I’ve experienced enough racism as a white American from blacks, not all of them, but from some of them, that I don’t need it from my President too. And I don’t need a President who’s “Spiritual Adviser” seems to be advocating the destruction of the Jewish State.

    After what happened in Germany, this kind of thing should be completely and totally condemned, and those who tacitly advocate genocide should be ostracized, not defended, not “understood”. I just can’t believe Obama sticks by him.

    Am I the only one that thinks you, and countless other well-meaning liberals, have been duped? I’m not proffering a conspiracy theory, that Obama somehow plans to destroy Israel and White America. No, I don’t think so. But I do think he is, in general, less than sympathetic, and perhaps diametrically opposed, to these entities, and when the political climate avails itself, he will do nothing to defend them.

    But on to more important things: I’ve revisited Rockin’ In the Suburbs with newfound appreciation. Speaking of which, how can I get your post-FXA work on my iPhone?

  8. The religious right and neo-cons are convenient labels, but as coherent groups don’t exist in reality. They are something akin to the Elders of Zion: a supposed vast group seeking to destroy the way of life of freedom-loving souls everywhere. In reality they are figments of the imagination.

    I myself was going to break and vote for Obama last year, until I kept learning more and more about him that made me severely question his loyalty to America. I think his wife voiced it best: she’s finally proud to be an American. Not because of the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Marshall Plan, but because she may very soon have massive political power. I’m sure Obama and his Spiritual Adviser have the same “hope”.

    So what about the Republican Party? I’ve been none to happy with the fact that even a Republican congress and President did essentially nothing to restrict abortion, which is the main reason I voted for them in the first place. Well that, and moving the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Voters such as myself were tricked by the Republicans when they actually had no intention of doing anything about abortion or Jerusalem.

    McCain, don’t even get me started about McCain. He’s as much a Republican as Barney Frank.

    So I was left with Hillary: all things being equal, at least we could have universal health care. I’ve worked some in the health care industry, and had a few kids, and I can say the system is completely unfair, screwed up, and immoral. I mean, when I came in with blood gushing down my head to the ER, the first thing they asked me for was my insurance card (true story). I’m not for socializing health care, just for making it mandatory. I mean, we are required by law to have automobile liability insurance, but not health insurance. The only reason is that auto insurance is more profitable to insurance companies than health insurance. Ethically, health insurance should be required for all people in America, and Hillary is the only one with a plan to do that. The Massachusetts way is best, make it required, but without socialism. Obama, by the way, pays the same vague lip service to universal health care that McCain does to conservative social issues. And it is looking more likely by the hour that Obama, and his not-so-universal health care plans, are going to carry the day.

    So that leaves me with no candidate. I may very well cast no vote this November.

    I totally see where you’re at on health care, I think that is difficult for a lot of people to reconcile, on either side. But I find it completely confounding that you actually won’t vote for Obama because his loyalties lie elsewhere. Do you honestly think that he would become president and then, in some moment of national crisis, act in the interest of some other country or entity than ours?

    Since when is it un-American to be disappointed in our government?

    — Gordon

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