Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don't Stop Believin': Palin & McCain's Journey of Personal Discovery

My own journey of debunking the lies and distortions from Sarah Palin's acceptance speech is nearly done, although I'm certain there will be lots more lies to come from the campaign trail. As far as the speech goes, I'll tackle one of her last lines:

"My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery. This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer."

I won't even bother to comment on her slam to community organizing again (as if it were Obama's only experience). It seems to me the real journey of personal discovery is taking place within McCain and Palin.

Let's start with McCain.

Since announcing his candidacy, McCain's journey has taken him from the position of moderate "maverick" to ultra-conservative (verging on Evangelical) Republican. Throughout his campaign's journey, he's changed his position on central issues to pander to the Republican base:

Reproductive Rights
In 1999, McCain was in New Hampshire, campaigning for the GOP nomination as a moderate. He proclaimed himself a pro-life candidate, but told reporters that “in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support a repeal of Roe v. Wade.”He explained that overturning Roe would force “women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”

Apparantly, he's not so concerned about women anymore. Reinventing himself for the far-right, McCain has called for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Here’s what he said this year:

“I am pro-life and an advocate for the Rights of Man everywhere in the world, because to be denied liberty is an offense to nature and nature's Creator. I will never waver in that conviction. Our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be "nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts." I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.” [Source: Conservative Political Action Conference Feb 7, 2008]

No doubt his change of heart has been influenced by the religious right. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll taken in June found that nearly one in five self-described members of the religious right said they would vote for someone other than McCain. So he's upping the ante with Palin, who doesn't support abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

John McCain used to support amnesty for illegal immigrants. During a May 29, 2003 interview he said:

"Amnesty has to be an important part because there are people who have lived in this country for 20, 30 or 40 years, who have raised children here and pay taxes here and are not citizens." Dec. 15, 2000 press release: "I support the Latino and Immigrant Fairness Act (LIFA). Negotiations between the White House and the leadership, which endorsed more limited immigration reform, have resulted in a compromise.... this bill makes meaningful but insufficient progress on amnesty for those wrongly denied it. [Source:]

But McCain has drastically changed his view to appeal to the right, here’s what he said this year on Meet the Press:

“About two million people here in this country who have come illegally, have committed crimes here in America, and they have to be deported immediately.” [Source: Meet the Press Candidates 2008 series]

Offshore Drilling
Until recently, McCain was staunchly opposed to offshore drilling. The Sustainable Energy Coalition reported the following based on McCain’s answers to their questionnaire, “Senator John McCain, who criticized the Clinton Administration for its decision to extend 36 offshore oil leaves along the central California coast over the objections of that state's Governor and Attorney General, has promised to never lose sight of the fundamental principle that federal land management decisions affecting local communities must be made in cooperation with the Americans who call those communities home."

He was singing quite a different tune during a recent speech to oil-rich supporters in Houston:

"We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.” [Speech Houston, TX June 17,2008]

Bush Tax Cuts
In 2001, McCain was one of only two Senate Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts. He said:

“I am disappointed that the Senate Finance Committee preferred instead to cut the top tax rate of 39.6% to 36%, thereby granting generous tax relief to the wealthiest individuals of our country at the expense of lower- and middle-income American taxpayers.” [McCain Senate floor statement, May 21, 2001]

Now McCain is all for the cuts that only provide relief for the top 1% of the population – i.e. the ones who don’t need it:

“I will not let the Democrats roll back the Bush tax cuts. I believe we should protect the American family against partisan tax increases by requiring a three-fifths majority in Congress to raise taxes. But that is just a start.” [Detroit Economic Club, October 9, 2007]

The Economy
McCain has been Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde about the economy. In February, during the last Republican Presidential debate, McCain made the ridiculous statement that American’s were better off now than eight years ago. Watch the clip:

He repeated those sentiments in an April 17 interview on Bloomberg TV saying:

“I think if you look at the overall record and millions of jobs have been created, et cetera, et cetera, you could make an argument that there’s been great progress economically over that period of time.”

McCain changed his position the very next day in another interview on Bloomberg, this time with Al Hunt. Watch it here:

McCain has spent the last year sucking up to the right wing of the party to assure them he’s their man while at the same time trying to assure everyone else he’s still the maverick. So which one is it? Sounds like a journey of personal discovery that won’t end until November 5.

Stay tuned for Sarah Palin's journey of personal discovery...


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