Archive for October 7th, 2008

McCain-Palin: Who Are They?

As the McCain-Palin campaign makes attempts to associate Barack Obama with an anti-war figure and activist who conducted himself questionably back in the 1960s (when Obama was an eight-year-old boy), the obvious question now begged is who are John McCain and Sarah Palin?

Online searches provide lots of fodder. The following info comes from reports in the Arizona Republic newspaper, the web site truthout.org and from an article written by Jonathan Raban as published in the London Review of Books.

Who is John McCain?

  • Divorced and married Cindy Hensley (17 years his junior) whom he met in Hawaii while separated from his first wife. Hensley lived in Arizona, John did not, although he would move there and run for senate successfully as an Arizona resident – winning election three times. The Hensley family money gave McCain the cachet and political career he coveted.
  • As an Arizona resident and senator, McCain “is infamous throughout his home state as someone who studiously avoids mixing with the little people.”
  • First made national headlines in the late ’80s as part of the Keating Five, a group of senators who lobbied in defense of a failing savings-and-loan company under investigation during the S&L scandals. Charles Keating made a $112,000 contribution to McCain and paid for his trips to the Bahamas.
  • McCain’s office in D.C. is believed to be the source of leaks that undermined fellow senators including Dennis DeConcini of Arizona and GOP senator Warren Rudman.
  • Major legislative accomplishment – the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. In early ’08, McCain reversed his position on campaign finance reform and told the Federal Election Committee that he would not abide by primary spending limits. He faces severe financial penalities for doing so.
  • His old campaign finance reform allies introduced a bill in 2006 to shore up the public financing of presidential campaigns, which McCain supported in 2003 but failed to support more recently.
  • He initially voted against Bush tax cuts, he now supports extending them.
  • On abortion, he said In 1999 he would not support the repeal of Roe v. Wade. In 2006, he said its repeal, “…wouldn’t bother me any.” He also no longer supports adding rape-and-incest exceptions to the GOP platform that opposes abortion.
  • He has backpeddled on the issue of torture, first speaking against certain methods of interrogation and then assisting in a bill that gave the White House power to ignore the Geneva Convention if it wished.
  • If elected, McCain will turn 73 years old seven months into his first term.
  • On the War in Iraq, he has said that a hundred-year U.S. presence in the country would be “fine with me.” On the  Middle East, he said in April ’08, “…people should understand that I will be Hamas’s worst nightmare.”
  • On Healthcare, his plan is based on a $5,000 tax cut for families that would cover less than half the cost of today’s average family health-care plan and lead to high deductibles and greater risk. He pays for the plan by taxing individuals for the healthcare benefit paid by their employers, normally twice the healthcare premium paid by individuals.
  • His economic policy supports spending cuts in a way that will destablize Social Security and Medicare.
  • He supports appointing John Roberts and Samuel Alito as Supreme Court judges should he win the Presidency.
  • He has a temper and his sarcasm is also condescending often engaging in inappropriate joke telling and self-deprecation. In 1992, his wife, Cindy, teased John about his thinning hair in front of reporters, to which he said aloud, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.”
  • In May 2006, he delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

Who is Sarah Palin?

  • She drifted through five colleges before securing a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho.
  • Residents of Wasilla, Alaska, where Palin served as mayor, refer to her term in the city’s highest office as a regin of terror. Upon election she demanded the resignation letters from all city department heads. City employees were banned from speaking to the media and she provoked a string of appalled editorials in the local paper.
  • She surrounded herself with fellow congregants from the Pentecostalist Wasilla Aseembly of God church and with old school chums from Wasilla High.
  • She abolished building codes and re-zoned residential property for commercial use.
  • Her agenda was to pare down Wasilla to “the basic necessities, the bare bones,” but she instead spent $50,000 to redecorate the mayor’s office and another $24,000 on a Chevy Suburban she drove known as the mayormobile.
  • She hired a city manager do run day-to-day operations of the city and employed a D.C. lobbyist to promote the town’s ever-expanding list of claims for congressional pork barrel spending.
  • Backed by her fans at the Assembly of God church, she “suggested” to the city librarian that unsuitable books like “Daddy’s Roommate,” and “Pastor, I’m Gay,” be removed from the library. She backtracked later saying it was a “rhetorical question,” (she meant hypothetical).
  • Elected as governor of Alaska in 2006, she went to Juneau and started firing state officials from the attorney general on down, replacing them with malleable old friends from her church and high school.
  • She focuses on connecting with the surly mass of occassional, floating voters who feel themselves to have been disenfranchised by more orthodox politicians.
  • She views science including evolution, anthropogenic climate changed and wildlife management as the enemy of working-class jobs, contentiously advocating drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and fighting the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species.  The director of the national widlife refuge in Alaska said her motto is, “to cut, kill, dig and drill. She is in the stone age of wildlife management.”
  • She further endeared herself to her Evangelical friends saying that “intelligent design” should be taught along with evolution in the state’s public schools. She later declined to back a bill which would have made that teaching mandatory.
  • She charged the state a $60 per diem for living in her own house in Wasilla while serving as governor.


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