Hey guys, this is my first diary. After watching McCain's acceptance speech, I started a list of vital issues that John McCain never mentioned ONCE in his speech – not even to name-check them. I think it would be fun for people to re-read McCain’s speech and discover more issues where John McCain "just doesn’t get it" – and to read Obama’s speech and find out where Obama does. Here goes...
#1 Climate Change
#2 Health Care/Insurance (okay, one sentence)
#5 Police Work/Crime/Illegal Drugs
#6 Same-Sex issues (marriage, benefits, etc.)
#7 The War in Afghanistan
#8 Pakistan (or the Taliban)
#9 Counterinsurgency doctrine
#10 [drumroll, please...] Osama bin Laden
There’s more after the jump:
-AFGHANISTAN: More American soldiers are dying per month in Afghanistan (where we have about 30,000 troops deployed) than in Iraq (where we have over150,000 troops deployed). But John McCain is fine with "just muddling through" in Afghanistan.
~PAKISTAN: In Pakistan today, entire provinces (all of FATA and much of the NWFP) currently serve as Al-Qaeda/Taliban sanctuaries. Remember, McCain blindly supported Musharraf for seven years while Pakistan’s army and intelligence service continued to finance, equip, cover, and provide sanctuary for Taliban while they killed Afghans and NATO soldiers. http://harpers.org/... Remember what Obama said: "You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell -- but he won't even go to the cave where he lives."
-NATO: no mention of NATO at all by McCain, much less NATO expansion. Just vagueness about allies. Kind of important, with the whole Russia going to war against Georgia to keep it out of NATO.
~TORTURE: Not a word about America's use of torture to combat terrorism. Where did McCain’s cojones go? McCain wrote a beautiful anti-torture piece in Newsweek in late 2005: http://www.newsweek.com/... But being pro-torture seems to be a litmus test for the Republicans these days.
~ABORTION: This issue held a veto over McCain's wish to select the pro-choice Ridge or Lieberman as VP – but I guess the RNC reaction to Palin did the talking for McCain on this topic. Too bad McCain didn’t have the courage of his convictions to actually TELL the American people what he thinks about abortion.
-CLIMATE CHANGE/THE ENVIRONMENT: In a spring campaign ad, McCain said "Climate Change isn't just an environmental issue, it's a national security issue." Um, do you want to keep us safe or not, John?
-POLICE/CRIME/ILLEGAL DRUGS: Saying "we believe in...the rule of law" doesn't count, John.
-SAME SEX MARRIAGE/BENEFITS: where’s your culture war spirit, John?
~OSAMA BIN LADEN: McCain name-checked Al-Qaeda, but not OBL. McCain doesn't want to remind anyone that Public Enemy #1 is still on the loose. Maybe that silence is part of McCain's secret plan to catch Osama, you know, the one McCain cannot share with President Bush right now. http://www.cbsnews.com/...
~HEALTH CARE/INSURANCE - credit where credit is due: McCain devoted an entire sentence to his health care plan ("My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance.") He even followed that up with a 1993-style line that disparaged Obama's plan. That’s substance over style right there.
On the flip side, let's delve into the "substance" in McCain's speech. Including energy policy, I can think of only five issues where McCain offered fresh, concrete policy proposals in his acceptance speech. Usually, McCain would just fiat and say "I will fix.../ restore / fight for..." well, you get the idea. So when I say concrete policy proposal, I mean that McCain identified a problem with the status quo and proposed a specific action that he will ask Congress to take to remedy it.
Well, first there’s whatever the hell McCain means by this: "Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That's going to change on my watch." Cue "Ride of the Valkyries." http://www.youtube.com/... Here’s my list:
#1 ENERGY POLICY: McCain devoted a good amount of time to this. 'Nuff said.
#2 CUTTING THE BUSINESS TAX RATE: McCain devotes one sentence to this: "Cutting the second highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas." He should have spent at least two or three more sentences explaining the specifics of this. He needs some stats.
#3 DOUBLING THE CHILD TAX EXEMPTION: from $3500 to $7000. McCain only devotes one sentence to this proposal, but it's pretty straightforward so I think that's sufficient. This is an intriguing proposal, but not a high-impact one.
#4 CHOICE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. Pretty standard conservative line on education reform (vouchers, merit-pay, etc.) Say what you want about the Republicans' ideas for education (and I am pretty skeptical about them), this is ONE policy issue where the Republicans seem to have more energy, more new ideas, and more to say than the Democrats. Thoughts?
#5 WAGE SUPPLEMENTS FOR DISPLACED WORKERS: McCain says: "For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we'll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage." Sounds fine and dandy, but how will the program actually, you know, work? Or help unemployed people? Or people who haven’t had a job for so long that they are no longer counted as unemployed (and therefore don’t show up in the unemployment rate), but instead are considered "out of the work force" by the government agencies who monitor America’s economic situation.
Obama, by contrast, had six or seven paragraphs on Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda/Taliban networks, and the war in iraq woven throughout the breadth of his acceptance speech. Off the top of my head, I think Obama devoted at least a paragraph to every issue I raised (with the exception of crime/drugs). Who’s really the candidate of substance? Come to think of it, a certain female governor has become "the biggest celebrity in the world" as well...
I’ll leave you by quoting the entirety of the concrete foreign policy proposals – the substance, if you will – in McCain’s entire acceptance speech. It’s 150 words – only a single paragraph.
"We have dealt a serious blow to al Qaeda in recent years. But they are not defeated, and they'll strike us again if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia's leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and prayers. As President I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people." –John McCain, September 4, 2008.