by Myles Spicer • 10/17/08 • Surprised? Why not? Both these candidates are obviously trying to disengage themselves from not only George Bush, but also anything that even has the faint scent of “Bush-iness”, GOP, or Republicanism. McCain in the last debate clearly stated that if Obama wanted to run against Bush, he should have done so four years ago. Frankly, I wish Obama would have retorted, “No, John, that is not necessary…I am running against him here and now, because you are his surrogate”.
As the 2008 election approaches, TCDP is receiving many thoughtful opinion columns about candidates and issues. The Soapbox blog offers a space for local opinion on (mostly) national and world issues, including elections.
At any rate, it is interesting to note that the word “Republican” is rarely, or even never, used by any GOP candidates running for any office. It is not on signs, commercials, or in their speeches; and I do not blame them. So, if you need a reason to “throw the rascals out” you can forget issues…character attacks…negative campaigns…indeed any other factor except one: are they Republicans?
While this may be too simplistic for some, a brief explanation is in order. Starting with McCain, the Democrats have noted that he has voted with Bush and the Republican line “four out of five times”. They are being generous. The actual count, in the current Congress is 88.1%. This does not include the votes he has missed in the Session – 420 (64.1%) to be exact. This, I would not fault him for; he has obviously been busy with other things. Two of the pro Bush votes are worthy of note. The first is an Iraq funding bill, which McCain joined the Bush folks in defeating. This also contained several vital other funding issues discussed in recent debates.
This $122 billion war spending bill called for combat troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq to justify the funding. The 51-47 (non veto proof) vote fell mostly along party lines. Two Republicans — Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon — joined Democrats in support of the package, which would fund U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democrats also attached language that would start troop withdrawals, now being conceded as being appropriate by most informed observers (except McCain and Palin).
However, the bill addressed many other unrelated and crucial issues. It offered funds for disaster relief and recovery stemming from hurricanes, funded influenza pandemic response programs, offered disaster assistance for livestock and crops, and makes appropriations to bolster Medicare and Medicaid.
It also required the Secretary of Defense to inspect military medical treatment facilities and housing. It prohibits the use of funds in this or any other act to change essential services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center until certain requirements are met. It required the Congressional Budget Office to report to appropriators on anticipated funds necessary for the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to continue providing health care to Iraq veterans. So much for McCain’s support of veterans. He followed the Republican line.
In a similar vein, there was the SCHIP bill: in this 68 to 31 vote the Senate passed an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The bill also passed the House by a vote of 265 to 159. The bill increases total funding for the program to $60 billion over the next five years and provides health insurance for 9 million currently uninsured American children. McCain voted with Bush and many Republicans, to try to defeat it, despite his claim in the last debate that we “must support special needs children”.
Then there is Sarah Palin. Is she any less a Republican? From 2003 to June 2005, Palin served as one of three directors of “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 Group designed to provide political training for Republican women in Alaska. (Note: Stevens is now under investigation for fraud). Further, Palin has described the Republican Party platform as “the right agenda for America” because of its “respect for equality and respect for life [read pro life] and an acknowledgment that it is individual Americans and American families who can make better decisions for ourselves than government can ever make for us,” and has stated that “individual freedom and independence is extremely important to me and that’s why I’m a Republican.” Moreover, I am certain I do not want “Jane sixpack” or a hockey mom trying to get us out of this financial morass.
Mavericks, they are not. While both have disclaimed and disagreed with a Republican agenda on occasion, the philosophy, tenets, programs and voting records of both will certainly dictate an extension of what the Republicans have brought us this past eight years. It is inescapable. It is built into their psyches. Note, their guru of choice (often quoted) is still Ronald Reagan: the man who proudly proclaimed over and over: “government is the problem”. Though McCain cries his crocodile tears for “those greedy Wall Street bastards”, he has no history or record of recommending any kind of regulation. And, almost certainly his appointments to key posts such as Treasury Secretary would mirror Bush’s (Henry Paulson is former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and he has appointed a Goldman Sachs former employee to oversee the bailout). His preferences to the Supreme Court also reflect this philosophy. Could I be wrong? Why take the chance in this critical time, and actually reward poor Republican stewardship?
So, this year, when preparing to vote, forget the issues…forget the character attacks…ignore the ads and commercials; there is a simple test to decide who to vote for, and vote against. Anything resembling “Republican” should be avoided like the plague. Change can only be legitimized by not only new people, but a new culture and a new party in Washington. Try to remember the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, The Scarlet Letter, and visualize a giant red “R” on the breast of McCain and Palin when you go into the voting booth. Don’t take my word for it — listen to the dictums of TWO Republican presidents themselves. First, Ronald Reagan: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago”?
And secondly, George Bush in that well recorded speech he gave in Nashville Tennessee Sept. 17, 2002: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.”