Tag Archives: chickenhawk

Donald Trump is a hypocritical dick, but John McCain indeed is no war hero

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1973, file phot, John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a

Associated Press photo

An ambitious John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain shakes the hand of President Richard Nixon in 1973, not too long after his having been held as a POW in Vietnam. The warhawk McCain shamelessly has used his POW status for political and personal gain ever since, and there probably isn’t a nation on the globe he thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t bomb.

Repugnican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona indeed is no war hero, but not for the reason that Repugnican presidential aspirant Donald “The Mouth” Trump infamously recently cited.

At an event in Iowa yesterday, Trump declared of McCain: “”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The left-leaning Margaret Cho similarly quipped in 2008, when McCain was running for the White House: “I am not voting for McCain. I hope that is obvious. I am sick of everyone saying, ‘He was a good soldier. He was a good soldier.’ Um, yeah. He was captured. So he was not that good!”

(I don’t recall Cho’s comment as having created a shit storm then. Of course, she wasn’t running for president…)

To me, if the war was unjust, as the Vietnam War was, it’s difficult to call anyone who participated in it on the American side a “war hero.” How does something just and heroic emerge from something that was inherently unjust and unheroic?

Only perhaps if someone was drafted — forced into — fighting in an unjust war that he or she had recognized as unjust (which was not the case with McCain in the Vietnam War) might we be able to call his or her brave actions during that war “heroic,” but the war itself still remains unjust.

But with John McCain, it goes further than that. I lived in Arizona from my birth in 1968 to my overdue departure from the state in 1998, and I recall McCain’s television ads for his U.S. Senate bids. It was POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. It was POW 24/7, all POW, all the time. (McCain, whose U.S. Navy plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, was captured and kept as a POW for five years.)

Clearly, the message was that you were to vote for McCain — or you hate POWs. (You hate freedom! You love Commies!)

I was shocked that McCain didn’t exploit the POW thing much, much more than he did when he ran for the White House in 2008. Maybe he wanted to and his advisers advised him to cool it, since it is unseemly to exploit one’s POW status for political and personal gain.

Those who are rushing to defend McCain against Trump right now are simply sheeple who can’t worship the U.S. military enough, despite the fact that the bloated-bey0nd-belief military-corporate complex has sucked up our national resources and is killing us like stage-four cancer and has caused untold suffering to millions and millions of innocent people abroad.

(Um, yeah, the U.S. military exists primarily to enforce the existing global socioeconomic status quo, in which Americans continue to enjoy a quality of life that is crazy-better than the quality of life of the planet’s average human inhabitant, and that comes at the average human inhabitants’ expense. “Spreading democracy” — riiiiggghhhht!)

That said, of course baby boomer Trump, who, like his fellow Repugnican baby-boomer chickenhawks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and many others of that demographic), avoided the Vietnam War, so for him to be criticizing McCain’s performance in the Vietnam War is beyond hypocritical.

But I still say that McCain is no war hero, as not only was the war he voluntarily fought in unjust — Vietnam never had posed a real threat to the United States, and estimates of the number of people who died because of the war (the vast majority of them Vietnamese, of course) range from 1.5 million to 3.6 million, of which the hundreds of Vietnamese civilians slaughtered by mass-murderous U.S. troops in the My Lai Massacre of 1968 were only a tiny fraction — but also as that true war heroes don’t boast about their (supposed) war heroism for personal and political gain.

John McCain, whose almost-30-year Senate record has been unremarkable, for years has benefited from the fact that it’s taboo to openly disagree with or to show anything other than worshipfulness for a former POW. Had McCain never been a POW (which obviously was no accomplishment) and then shamelessly exploited it, I seriously doubt that he’d be where he is now. That’s some sick shit.

Still, it’s great to watch the infighting within the Repugnican Tea Party. “Clown car” is overused but it’s quite an apt description.

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Dean for 2016!

Des Moines Register photo

Howard Dean, photographed at a speaking engagement in Iowa today, today reportedly refused to rule out a run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Disclaimer: I did not support Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. And in 2003 and 2004 I found the “Deaniacs” to be, well, more creepily cult-like than to be inspiring.

When Dean imploded in the snows of Iowa in January 2004 — when he came in at No. 3, behind John Kerry and John Edwards, after the Deaniacs already had painted Dean as all but coronated as the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate — I was pleased, I must admit.

Dean had had his hordes of zombie-like followers converging upon and canvassing all over Iowa in their tacky orange knit hats (their no-doubt-annoying-to-Iowans ubiquity probably harmed Dean a lot more than it helped him, I surmised then and still surmise today), and Dean’s followers struck me as pretty fucking smug, and so it was great to see Team Dean knocked down some pegs.

The “Dean scream” thing, I can say at least in retrospect, was overblown and probably unfair, but at the time I didn’t care, truth be told; I just wanted Dean knocked out of the race, and if that was what it took, so be it.

But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t necessarily feel in 2004 that Howard Dean never should be the Democratic presidential candidate. I just didn’t believe — and still don’t believe — that he was the best Democratic presidential candidate for 2004, when the goal was to boot the unelected George W. Bush from the White House, and when the post-9/11 “war on terror” and militarism still were big (or big-enough, anyway) issues.

I couldn’t see the peacenik Dean (that was the perception of him, anyway) beating the chickenhawk Bush, who quite effectively had used the specter of “terrorism” for political gain, who had milked the fall of the World Trade Center like Adolf Hitler had milked the Reichstag fire.

I, along with millions of others, desperately wanted to deny Bush a second term, and in my eyes it was Vietnam vet John Kerry (contrasted to the Vietnam War-evading cowards Bush and Cheney) whose resume was best matched to accomplishing that.

I supported Kerry from early on, but I figured that his campaign was dead, or at least on life support, no later than in the late fall of 2003, when it sure looked like he was a goner. Then, like Lazarus, Kerry came back from the dead and kicked Dean’s ass in Iowa, the first contest of the presidential primary season. Kerry’s momentum from Iowa quickly made him the front-runner; Dean dropped out of the primary race after he again placed third, this time in Wisconsin, in February 2004.

That Kerry ultimately lost to Bush does not make me believe, in retrospect, that Dean would have been the better candidate. Bush had the incumbent’s advantage, and while I won’t claim that the Kerry campaign made no missteps, I posit that Kerry did significantly better against Bush than Dean would have.

With Dean, I saw an embarrassing, Walter Mondale- or Michael Dukakis-level loss, frankly. At least with Kerry it was close (251 electoral votes to 286 electoral votes, and 48.3 percent of the popular vote to 50.7 percent).

But the political environment of 2016 is shaping up to be quite different from that of 2004. 9/11 occurred almost 12 years ago, for starters.

Let’s face it: Barack Obama in 2008 fairly simply coasted to the White House on the wave that Howard Dean had created.* Obama, whose only “accomplishment” had been a nice, touchy-feely speech that he gave at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (before he had even been elected to the U.S. Senate), is an opportunist who saw his opportunity and took it.

Although I didn’t support Dean in 2004 primarily for strategic reasons, he’s the right candidate for 2016.

Billary Clinton does not deserve to be coronated (any more than Dean did in 2004), and if Obama gave her a run for her money in 2008 — and he did, obviously (while Dean flamed out after only a month in the presidential primary fight, recall that Obama and Billary duked it out for five looong months) — then I don’t see why Dean couldn’t do so in 2016, especially when Obama in 2008 pretty much had only pretended to be the second coming of Howard Dean.

I would support Dean over Billary for 2016, hands down. I’m more than ready for our first female president, but she would need to be one who is actually progressive, not one who rubber-stamped the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, helped her husband pimp the Democratic Party out to corporate weasels and drag the Democratic Party to right, and who has coasted and capitalized on her husband’s name rather than having actually achieved anything on her own.

Thankfully, there is talk that Howard Dean might be considering a 2016 run. He was in Iowa today (visit Iowa while being a politician, and tongues will wag), and The Des Moines Register reports:

Another presidential campaign is not an immediate goal for Democrat Howard Dean, who came to Iowa today to rake Republicans as either radicals or cowards who are too afraid to stand up to the extreme right.

“At this point, I’m supporting Hillary Clinton,” Dean, a former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate, told The Des Moines Register in a brief interview in Iowa today.

Asked if he’s definitively ruling out a White House bid, Dean climbed into a waiting car and said with a grin, “Ahhgh, we’re done here. Thank you.”

Dean, the founder of a political action committee called Democracy for America, was the keynote speaker at the 57th annual Iowa Federation of Labor Convention at a conference center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona this morning.

Earlier this year, Dean had said he wasn’t ruling out running for president in 2016. He came in third place in the Democratic Iowa caucuses a decade ago, after John Kerry and John Edwards. …

I could support Al Gore for 2016, too, but I haven’t heard that Gore has had any interesting in running for the White House again, and, truth be told, I surmise that Gore is widely viewed as already having lost a presidential election (even though, of course, he actually won it), whereas Dean does not, it seems to me, carry that level of baggage.

And, as I noted, Barack Obama would not be where he is had he not coasted along the path to the White House that Dean already had paved for him. Obama in 2008 undeservedly fairly automatically picked up the energy, the money and the support of the Deaniacs, which propelled him into the Oval Office.

It’s time, it seems to me, for Howard Dean to finally be sitting in the chair in the Oval Office, the chair that Obama fairly effortlessly slipped into but that Dean actually deserves.

*Wikipedia notes of Howard Dean, “Although his [2004] presidential campaign was unsuccessful, Dean is regarded as a pioneer in raising the profile of Internet-based fundraising and grassroots organizing” and: 

Dean formed the [progressive political action committee] Democracy for America [in 2004] and later was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in February 2005. As chairman of the [Democratic Party], Dean created and employed the “50-state strategy” that attempted to make Democrats competitive in normally conservative states often dismissed in the past as “solid red.”

The success of the strategy became apparent after the 2006 midterm elections, where Democrats took back the House and picked up seats in the Senate from normally Republican states such as Missouri and Montana. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama used the “50-state strategy” as the backbone of his candidacy.

Wikipedia further notes that although Dean has not held elected office since he wrapped up his chairmanship of the Democratic Party in 2009, “In June 2013, Dean expressed interest in possibly running for the presidency in 2016.”

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