Kudos to John McCain

In the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election, the actor Ed Harris who played Senator John McCain portrayed two very poignant moments that validated why the Senator was a legitimate candidate for the White House. I mention these as Senator McCain deserves kudos for his recent impassioned comments calling out a congressperson for conducting a 2012 version of McCarthyism. In the movie, Senator McCain is seen calming down a strident follower who is berating Barack Obama as not being “one of us” and is un-American. The Senator had heard enough of this, so he gently said something like ma’am, I know Mr. Obama and he is a fine, decent public servant. I did not get the words just right, but the point he made is not to demonize his opponent. Yes, we disagree on issues, but we don’t need to crucify people. Ironically, since both were moderates, they were much closer on issues than their strident followers would have admitted at the time.

The other poignant moment came when Governor Sarah Palin was close to a meltdown having been thrown into so much, so fast before she was ready. Senator McCain’s response was “she needs her family,” so he arranged a family get together at his ranch in Arizona. These two moments, the first of which is recorded on the campaign footage, the second of which is easy to believe, show what a decent person and public servant he is. I mention these as context for what happened earlier this week.

Representative Michele Bachmann, the Chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus in the House,  has been doing a Senator Joe McCarthy impersonation lately attacking selected individuals in various departments alleging they are furthering the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood. Senator McCain took offense at a set of accusations toward Huma Abedin, who is a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. McCain labeled them “sinister accusations.” He added, “These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And, they need to stop now. I have every confidence in Huma’s loyalty to out country…I hope these ugly and unfortunate attacks on her can be immediately brought to an end and put behind us before any damage is done.” Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner added his voice to McCain’s to quiet the accusations.

As an American, I cannot tell you how proud I am that someone from the same party has stood up to another, at great risk, to say you need to reconsider what you are saying. To step in and defend someone is laudable. The fact that Boehner backed him up speaks volumes. This follows on a call made by former Governor Jeb Bush for the GOP to return to its roots and away from the extremism that is rampant in the party. He testified in front of Congress and has said openly that he would have taken last summer’s Boehner/ Obama negotiated deficit reduction measure of 10 to 1 expense cuts to revenue increases in a heartbeat calling it a “no brainer.” Yet, the deal was not supported by the Tea Party caucus.

I fully understand where the Tea Party is coming from, in particular with their focus on the deficit and debt. Yet, I strongly disagree with them on their position to not consider tax increases, as the data shows we are one of the least taxed countries in the world, per the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. But, from where I sit as an Independent voter and even if I was in the GOP, I believe if the Tea Party continues to hang their hat on people like Rep. Bachmann, they truly should not be taken seriously. When I watch talk shows where she is a participant, like many I come away with an impression that she won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Our issues are many and we need serious people to discuss them in a serious way. We do not people to manufacture issues and waste taxpayers’ time and money investigating witch hunts. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke just told Congress this week that they need to act now and not wait until the end of the year on the actions that will automatically transpire without change. The automatic income tax increases and 2% FICA tax hike will be harmful to the economy. Yet, they also need to address the longer term deficit issue. This is the same message that is being given by the World Bank, Simpson-Bowles and the S&P who downgraded the US bond rating last summer.

What we don’t need is representatives like Ms. Bachmann taking people’s eye off the ball to pursue witches. Senator McCain, well done sir and kudos for being a voice of reason trying to bring this fairy tale back to reality. Speaking out in favor of someone in the face of adversity shows your fortitude and make-up. And, Speaker Boehner, my hats off to you as well. Now, let’s get back to business and adopt something like Simpson-Bowles and get us back on a better financial path.

12 thoughts on “Kudos to John McCain

  1. Hear, hear!! I was sad to see McCain so off course during the election when he has historically been a courageous voice for moderation. I probably still woud have vote for Obama, but at least his reputation would not have been sullied, which I feel it was, perhaps because of poor political advice. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    • Thanks Jennifer. Ironically, one of his greatest speeches was his concession speech. People wonder what may have transpired had the Florida vote count been different. Yet, before then McCain had a lead on Bush until he was “swift-boated” in SC and they claimed he had fathered a child out of wedlock. He in fact adopted a daughter. I also voted for Obama, but I felt McCain would have been good as well.

      • I wonder as well. Palin provided a sugar high. When it wore off and people saw her inexperience, his age became an issue. It is interesting that they vetted Romney, but passed on him.

      • I agree. I watched the tail end of “Game Change” last night. He whispered to Sarah Palin (according to the film) “don’t let the Limbaughs drag you down; remember you are a hockey mom.” Unfortunately, she failed to heed this advice. So, if you beieve the movie, he saw then what damage the extremists could do to the party.

  2. Well said. I was also impressed by McCain’s comments when I heard them. He is a very humane person and one whose heart is generally in the right place. I’m not sure if he would have made a good President, but he is an exceptional Senator. Kudos!

    • Momma E., I totally agree with your assertion. Of course, the spin doctors are in charge of the campaigns and they dare not talk about a real issue. Thanks for writing.

  3. I recall that moment when he straightened that poor, misguided lady out. But I also remember him reversing so many of his own opinions during that campaign, which made me lose faith in him. He should have stayed true to his ideals and record, but maybe I’m being unrealistic about the chances of a moderate, common-sense Republican being able to stand up to the far-right fringes in election season. Poor old Romney is doing the same thing; he doesn’t have a chance. Good to see the “maverick” make a return appearance. Funny that speaking common sense and truth makes one a maverick in the modern GOP. Of course, that word doesn’t have much political meaning since Palin branded herself as one.

    • I agree about the old John McCain and how he was tempered. I saw a recent campaign advertisement for a GOP runoff primary election, where one was branded as a “moderate” as if it were evil. Yet, that is what most Americans are. Unfortunately, the moderate lost. We need more people and leaders to highlight the inane comments for what they are. Thanks for doing so in your blog.

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