Tag Archives: opportunism

On the late, not-great John McCain

The late U.S. Sen. John McCain has been lionized over the past week — when you die, you become a saint, even though everyone dies, just as everyone shits and pisses and farts — and I’ve yet to say anything about it. I don’t want to say all that much; he has received too much postmortem attention as it is.

John McCain, who was “my” senator (when I lived in the God-awful state of Arizona) from 1987 to 1998 (when I finally left Arizona), was not a great guy. He staunchly believed in American exceptionalism and imperialism and militarism and white-collar gangster capitalism. While perhaps McCain was not overtly racist, as American exceptionalism and imperialism and militarism and white-collar gangster capitalism always have vastly disproportionately benefited white Americans, there you go.

When I lived in Arizona I remember McCain’s television campaign ads. He used the Vietnam POW story endlessly. What’s the good in being a POW if you can’t exploit it for personal and political gain later? (He did ease off on the POW thing in his failed 2008 presidential run, but then again, the POW thing had gotten him that far.)

McCain left his first wife of about 15 years, Carol (she’s now 80), with whom he had a daughter (and he adopted her two existing children), to marry the younger, apparently much more attractive, and, perhaps most of all, quite rich Cindy (who now is 64), who had been a blonde cheerleaderAccording to Wikipedia, McCain’s first marriage “falter[ed] due to [McCain’s] partying away from home and extra-marital affairs.” (That link is to the reliable Arizona Republic, by the way.)

In his very first term in the U.S. Senate, McCain survived the savings and loan scandal (he was one of “the Keating Five”), which should have been the end of his political career. But: Arizona.

McCain was not a moderate. McCain was not bipartisan, even if that were a good thing. He was a Dr.-Strangelove-level fucking wingnut, replete with his chilling refrain of “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

McCain only pretended to be above it all. That made him only a sanctimonious prick, because what he actually stood for was quite dark. He knew that he himself, being an over-privileged white man whose lifelong opportunism had served him quite well, never would have to suffer the consequences of his own horrible actions and decisions. He ensured that he himself always would be quite safe and much more than comfortable.

No brand of Repugnican is good for the United States of America, be it the smug, Goldwater-style Repugnican that largely if not wholly died with McCain, or be it the openly craven, Pussygrabber-style of Repugnican that we see today. The two types differ only in style, not in substance.

I have two words for John McCain: Good riddance.

P.S. It always has struck me that McCain’s opposition to Pussygrabber was more out of sour grapes than out of anything like principle. McCain had wanted to be president for years, and lost in 2000 and in 2008, and then here comes the likes of Pussygrabber — not a Vietnam POW but a Vietnam draft dodger — to become “president.”

That drove McCain insane, methinks. He viewed it as a colossal injustice, I am confident.

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Next to ‘I love you,’ ‘I don’t know’ is the best three-word sentence of all

OK, so I probably have been guilty of this myself to some degree, but there is an epidemic in the nation of individuals asserting statements of truth even after they have acknowledged that they don’t know all of the facts.

There is this from The Associated Press today:

NATICK, Mass. – A white police sergeant who arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. said [today] he’s disappointed President Barack Obama said officers acted “stupidly,” despite acknowledging he didn’t know all the facts.

Sgt. James Crowley responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and accused the officer of racism.

Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday, and Gates has since demanded an apology from Crowley.

Obama was asked about the arrest of Gates, who is his friend, at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care [last] night.

“I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

In radio interviews [this] morning, Crowley maintained he had done nothing wrong in arresting Gates.

“I support the president of the United States 110 percent. I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment,” Crowley told WBZ-AM….

I don’t watch corporately owned and operated television, since it’s mostly just corporate brainwashing, but I happened to catch the end of Obama’s press conference at a friend’s house last night, and I was flabbergasted that Obama indeed first admitted that he didn’t know what happened between Gates and Crowley but then proceeded to assert that Gates indeed had produced his identification to Crowley as Crowley had asked him to do.

Fact is, this is a he-said, he-said situation. Gates says he produced identification when he was asked for it. The cops say that Gates refused to produce identification. While I tend to suspect that Gates indeed refused to show ID, at least initially, because he wanted to make the whole thing into a “racist” incident, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure what happened; I can’t say who is telling the truth and who apparently is prevaricating.

When asked about Gatesgate last night, Obama should have simply stated that he wasn’t there, so he can’t take sides. That he took a side, Gates’ side, was irresponsible. It was piss-poor leadership on Obama’s part and only could serve to further stoke the flames of interracial hatred, the flames that Gates and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and their ilk seem to want to stoke.

Remaining neutral in the Gates case wouldn’t have been pussy of Obama — it would have been wise, given his admitted lack of knowledge of the facts.

And then there is Rachel Maddow. I love Rachel. She perhaps is my favorite lesbian on the planet.

But I was astounded to hear Maddow, in a clip that I recently watched on the Internet, state that of course every statement that Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier being held captive by the Taliban, made in the half-hour video that the Taliban recently released was coerced.

WTF?

Fact is, we just can’t know what is in Bowe Bergdahl’s head. Yes, it’s certainly possible that everything that he said in the half-hour Taliban video, with the probable exception of the sentiments that he expressed for his family at home and his wish to go home, were coerced to at least some degree.

However, I don’t rule out that he truly believes at least some, or maybe even most of, the statements that he made. (I at least find it at least a little hard to believe that Bergdahl truly is as interested in finding out more about Islam as he states he is in the video.)

Hopefully Bergdahl will make it home safely and we will find out from him what is in his head.

Until then, each of us needs to humble herself or himself and acknowledge:

I.

Don’t.

Know.

Those are three refreshing, liberating words that we just don’t hear enough.

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