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The American dream revolves around the notion that no matter how meager your circumstances in life, if you work hard in this country, you can accomplish anything--no matter how great.

Republicans pay lip service to the American dream, but they spit on those who actually achieve it, calling them elitists. Those who have made it and want to reach out a hand to help others climb that same ladder are called socialists by republicans.

The other day on CNN, a republican informed me that Barack Obama is an elitist who eats arugula. This dismayed me. Arugula? Could I really vote for a person who only wants to eat expensive lettuce? Who prefers the bitter taste of arugula to watery, tasteless iceberg? I decided I had to rethink my support of Obama and compare these candidates.

Here is a bit of what I discovered.

High School:

John McCain went to a private elite boarding school, where he was an admittedly "lousy student."

There, McCain behaved with all the petulance his privilege allowed, earning the nicknames "Punk" and "McNasty." Even his friends seemed to dislike him, with one recalling him as "a mean little fucker."

Barack Obama went to a private high school in Hawaii--on scholarship. He graduated this private Academy with honors.

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised...


John McCain went on to Annapolis, with his admiral father pulling a few strings.

By his own account, McCain was a lazy, incurious student; he squeaked by only by prevailing upon his buddies to help him cram for exams. He continued to get sauced and treat girls badly.

Back on campus, McCain's short fuse was legend...When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was accustomed, he grew petulant — even abusive. He repeatedly blew up in the face of his commanding officer.

He was a huge screw-off," recalls Butler. "He was always on probation. The only reason he graduated was because of his father and his grandfather — they couldn't exactly get rid of him."

At Annapolis, he faced expulsion but his mother intervened. He graduated 5th from the bottom in his class: 894th out of a class of 899.

Barack Obama started at Occidental College in LA.

...old friends and former teachers at the well-regarded 120-year-old school proudly described him as a serious scholar and a good athlete.

Roger Boesche, a professor of politics...said [he] was "a very thoughtful student and a very curious student."

Former professor Newhall said Obama already showed glimpses of social conscience. "Clearly the guy had a presence," he said. "He came off as a serious, articulate, intelligent young guy," Newhall recalled.

Unlike McCain (who liked to start arguments), Obama "has a great sense of humor and could defuse an argument," according to fellow dorm resident John Boyer, who described Obama as "a very principled person in how he formulated his views."

Obama transferred to Columbia University in NY. He majored in "political science and international relations and [wrote] his thesis on Soviet nuclear disarmament." (New York Times)

Post-Graduate Work:

John McCain joined the military and developed a gambling habit; he said he found craps "addictive." (McCain is still an avid gambler.) By his own admission, he "...drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties."

He was a poor pilot and crashed several planes before heading to Vietnam. Everyone is familiar with his Vietnam experiences, though as fellow POWs point out in Rolling Stone, McCain caved and gave his captors information. His fellow POWs complain that republicans and the media make him out to be more heroic than the other 600 POWs, yet they say many of them did not cave under torture despite being treated as badly or worse than John McCain.

When he came back to the states, McCain was turned down for a postgraduate program at the National War College, but his father's friend John Warner pulled strings to get him admitted; McCain stayed for 9 months. He claimed he went to study "how and why the country went into Vietnam," but his thesis is more mundane: how the military's post-Korean War changes to the Code of Conduct for POWs played out on the ground in Vietnam. (LA Times)

Barack Obama, after spending several years as a community activist, went to Harvard Law school. He became the first African American elected president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude and was known as "a natural leader, an impressive student, a nice guy," with deep concern for social and economic issues.

On women:

John McCain has had a lifelong disrespect toward women; in high school, he was hauled into court for hurling excessive profanity at two young women who spurned his advances.

In college, he admitted he "continued to treat girls badly." In his early days in the military, he boasted about his liaison with at least one stripper.

He married his first wife Carol in 1964, before leaving for the war. He adopted her two sons and they had a daughter. McCain came back to find his wife disfigured from an accident. "By any standard, McCain treated her contemptibly." (Rolling Stone) He committed adultery repeatedly  and had dalliances with female subordinates. At age 42--only a few years younger than Barack Obama now--he met a 24-year-old woman and carried on an affair with her though still living with Carol. He divorced Carol, then married Cindy. On one occasion, three reporters witnessed McCain call Cindy a "trollop" and a "cunt," after she joked about his thinning hair.

McCain and Cindy were so out of touch later that he was blindsided to learn she had a two-year drug addiction.

In 2000, it was rumored that McCain had an affair with 40-year-old lobbyist Vicki Iselman.  "Two unnamed advisers said McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately - precisely how, the report didn't say - and promised to keep his distance from Iselman." (Daily News)

Barack Obama dated several women in college but there's no hint that he ever treated any woman inappropriately. He met Michelle after college, and they have been married 16 years (though Obama recently said it was only 15! Tsk!) There is no indication he has ever had an inappropriate relationship with another woman.


These candidates differ in other areas, as well--like temperament. McCain admits to having had a nasty temper his entire life, whereas Obama has always been known to be a moderating force, someone who seeks solutions and tries to resolve differences.

Save for those five years in Vietnam, McCain lived his entire life as the son of privilege--spoiled, undeserving of the things he'd been  given. Today, he luxuriates in wealth and hobnobs with celebrities and other disreputable individuals, accepting favors from them (ie, Keating).

In contrast, Barack Obama worked for everything he got in life. He earned his success; nothing was handed to him. He rejected a life of privilege to devote years serving those less privileged--people he could relate to through his own life's experiences. Today, he lives modestly and is not known for being boastful.

Despite McCain's nasty attacks--representative of McCain's lifelong character--Obama has always responded with dignity and never stoops to his opponents' level, no matter how much we, his supporters, plead with him to do so.

If you compare these two step by step throughout their lives, you see one man who has always been upstanding and another who claims to have had a transformative experience in Vietnam yet he came back and treated those around him--those he was supposed to cherish most--with complete disregard. For decades, McCain has continued to treat those around him badly, cursing at colleagues and reporters, pushing women in wheel chairs, treating the mothers of MIAs with disdain.

This latest round of attacks by the McCain campaign is the dying gasp of a wretched man. According to the McCain camp, the most significant thing McCain has ever done in his entire life is surviving 5 years in a Vietnam prison camp.

Think about this. Survival is instinctual--everyone will endure what they must in the fight to survive. McCain did not survive those 5 years for us; he did it because nobody wants to die. I believe that is what his fellow POWs were getting at in Rolling Stone. Yes, they were brave to fight for their country and deserve respect for it, but to be a true hero, you have to make the fact that you survived mean something.

McCain has not used his position to help veterans; he has not used his position to help those less fortunate. Instead, he has served the wealthy, which includes himself.

The life McCain has lived since he came back from Vietnam differs little from the life he lived before Vietnam. He's just become more adept at manipulating people and misleading them into believing somehow he's not the same person. As we now see with this year's campaign, he is exactly the same John McCain.

Elitists are people who believe they are better than others due to birth or wealth. McCain is the true elitist here, no matter what kind of lettuce he may eat.

Originally posted to CatM on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If this campaign goes really negative (5+ / 0-)

    I hope a tape with the propaganda video McCain made for the Vietcong shows up. Palin likes to say, he's the only one that has fought for us - he's the only one that has abetted an enemy we were at war with too.

    The last shroud of feigned honor he uses as a shield will fall.

    •  Please remove rec from "TIP JAR" - not diarist (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x, MTmofo, WI Dem, voracious

      tip poacher in aisle 1

      Sarah Palin knows too little about foreign affairs to know how little she actually knows.

      by kbman on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:29:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It always disgusts me whenever.... (0+ / 0-)

      someone calls McCain a hero! The heroes I know never talked about it. What is so heroic about being a POW? Could someone tell me, I'd sure like to know. Name, rank, serial number and try to escape. That's what I remember about code of conduct in Nam.

      You know, John Kerry is a hero. He turned his swiftboat around and went back for one of his men who had fallen overboard and made a hellfire stink of those VC. That's what a leader does. He never abandons his men!

      McCain is a survivor. He gave the North Vietnamese his honor, divulging information about his fellow sailors.  He, no-way-in-hell, is a hero. He never deserved those medals he got, they were all show for his father. McCain is like those guys who buy medals at the Army surplus store and show them off to friends as theirs. Total fakes like McCain!

      I hope a tape with the propaganda video McCain made for the Vietcong shows up. Palin likes to say, he's the only one that has fought for us - he's the only one that has abetted an enemy we were at war with too.

      The last shroud of feigned honor he uses as a shield will fall.

      My sympathies also. For years I gave him a pass on this fraternization with the NVA because of his injuries. But when his campaign turned so negative against Obama it made me realize he didn't deserve a pass. He's a phoney, using the excuse that he was a POW somehow gave him an exemption and should get a free pass. Heavens sake! McCain wants to be President, We Don't Need Another Asshole In The Presidency! Those tapes have got to show up and run him and the GOP into the ground for Eternity. They are out there, they were shown so many times on the news. Somebody at a news outlet in say Sweden must have a copy in their archives. I'd love to see that released 10 days before the election but Obama probably doesn't. Obama is for decency.

  •  The worst thing that ever happened to the GOP (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, SciVo, ETF, bookdad, voracious, theKgirls, BerlinBear

    was that they were given the reigns of power. Almost exclusively, for several bad years.

    They were comletely exposed.

    No liberal cabals to blame. They were in absolute control.
    No liberal media to blame. They had their own cable news propaganda channel that dominated cable ratings for years.

    And they failed. And failed. And failed.

    This is not 1988. It will never be 1988 again.

    John McCain could have gotten away with his campaign in 1988. Or even as recently as 2004.

    But no more.

    The last 30 years have hardened the opposition, the old standards and vanguards of the weak insider class of the Democratic party has been killed off by Republicans who saw cooperation as a sign of weakness. They purged our party for us in many ways.

    And now... McCain has nothing left but lies and smears to run on as the Establishment candidate in a Change election.

    He deliberately waged an establishment candidate campaign in a change election. Like an idiot.

    I predict that within a week of the 2008 election, he will be the subject of one of the worst "he was never a conservative, never" personal GOP vendetta pogroms we have ever seen as political animals observing DC.

    He could have lost with honor, or he could have lost washed in dishonor and loss of his mythology if he ran as a Rovian.

    He made his historical bed, now he has to lie in it.

    You know its going badly for wingnuts when they denounce the Politico as liberally biased.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:25:54 PM PDT

    •  I laughed when I read this: (0+ / 0-)

      No liberal cabals to blame. They were in absolute control.
      No liberal media to blame. They had their own cable news propaganda channel that dominated cable ratings for years.

      And still they blame the liberals, and still they blame the media. LOL!! What a huge bunch of LOSERS!

      "John McCain is Captain Queeg meets Captain Ahab while trying to convince us he is Captain America."-Grtpyrmd

      by voracious on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 12:42:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of Arugula. . . (15+ / 0-)

    As an old Italian guy I just thought you young 'uns might like to know that when I was a boy back in the 40s my mother always used to warn us when we were lazy that if we didn't shape up that we we grew up we would wind up picking arugula for dinner. You do know that in the old days only the poor would eat arugula. They're just baby dandylion greens. Peasant food.

    Elistist arugula. My mother would split a gut if she were still alive.

    Night everyone.

    Uncle Sal

    "I certainly feel much more like I do right now than I did when I first came in..."

    by Sal Bovoso on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:32:18 PM PDT

  •  Excellent points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, voracious

    If the right wanted to make this an election about character, it seems they brought a knife to a gun fight.

  •  iceberg lettuce should not be considered (7+ / 0-)

    an actual vegetable. it's 95% water. and has no qualities except crunchiness. oooh. yay. blah.

    and arugula is delicious. my s.o. and myself eat it regularly. i guess that makes us elitists - that, and we paid for college ourselves.

  •  Outstanding comparison. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, raster44

    Looking at their records, it's not even close.  McCain is reckless, thoughtless and mean; Obama is thoughtful, compassionate and kind.

    Suck it, McCain, you're going down.

    Enjoy it now, Sarah, 'cause we're kicking your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. For good. Also.

    by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 11:53:43 PM PDT

  •  And while at Columbia U. he lived... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, raster44, mamamorgaine, Jane Lew

    in an old apartment building, from a video of his life, that was a couple blocks from mine on 94th near Broadway.  It was not a Yuppee neighborhood at the time, and actually in transition from a rather seedy area to the expensive place it is now.

    But in the mid 1980s when we both lived there, take my word, there was nothing elite about it.

  •  I'm with you on both of this, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I think it's pretty horrible to include the "McCain caved and gave his captors information" part of this discussion.  Whatever he may or may not have said when he was having his teeth kicked in, this does not make it fair game for a political comparison.

    The rest of your diary I'm cool with, even though it's a relatively one-sided account.  But I wish you would reconsider that particular section, which strikes me as beyond unnecessarily callous.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 12:10:46 AM PDT

    •  err.. "most", not "both" in the subject line. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 12:15:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense! (0+ / 0-)

      Other fellows POW's had the same or even worse treatment and didn't cave to the NVA. Some even died! That's what a real leader of men does. Risks his life for his fellow soldiers in arms. McCain is NO hero but he uses his POW status to cut off criticism of himself.

      but I think it's pretty horrible to include the "McCain caved and gave his captors information" part of this discussion.  Whatever he may or may not have said when he was having his teeth kicked in, this does not make it fair game for a political comparison.

      What about what Palin said:

      Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has accused Barack Obama of 'palling around with terrorists'.

      The Alaska governor claimed Mr Obama associated with an ex-member of a violent leftist group, as the US political battle turned increasingly sour.

      She said it was 'time to take the gloves off', accusing Mr Obama of being 'someone who sees America as so imperfect he is palling around with terrorists'.

      Her accusations were dismissed as 'gutter politics and false ­attacks' by Mr Obama's team.

      "Yes, now is the time to take the gloves off, Senator McCain and find out the truth about all your shortcomings." "But he's a war hero!" should be a thing of the past in dealing with McCain.

      •  What a crap argument. (0+ / 0-)

        For all his faults, McCain stayed there far longer than he needed to.  

        And have you ever had your teeth kicked in as part of a multi-day torture process? What a brave blogger, casting aspersions on someone who broke down under a multi-day program of severe torture.  Aren't you just the brave little typist to call him out on his reaction?

        Fuck that bullshit.  Whatever else is wrong with McCain (and there's a lot), fuck you for playing this as a weakness.  

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 03:25:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry for the language, (0+ / 0-)

          I'm just absolutely appalled at this.  We're supposed to recognize the deleterious effects that torture has on human beings (and a whole website sprung out of here to talk about the ways that torture destroys and dehumanizes), but then we play it as a card against McCain?  No way.  Absolutely no way.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 03:29:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Completely Disagree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WI Dem, mamamorgaine

            McCain tries to make as much political hay as possible over his supposed status as a heroic POW, while trying to smear Obama as (among other dishonest things) associating with terrorists.  The fact is that McCain's behavior as a POW was at best unremarkable and far from heroic, and I don't see how pointing out that his claim to the hero mantle is disingenuous is a smear, or anything but speaking the truth in response to a false claim.  

            Merely being subjected to horrible things doesn't make one a hero, the way one handles oneself at the time and afterward does.  McCain is not a hero in this respect, and deserves to be exposed for falsely claiming to be one, even if only to clear up the difference between him and others who did behave heroically (and who did not have the benefit of being able, like McCain to offer his captors the information that he was the son of an admiral, thereby giving the enemy potential leverage to use against the US).  

            •  I can promise you this: (0+ / 0-)

              if this becomes the majority opinion at dkos, I'll take my leave.  There's a line that we cannot cross if we expect to have any moral legitimacy to our claims, and if we're casting aspersions on what someone did under a multi-day, severe torture program, then we're so far gone I want nothing to do with it.

              It's not about undercutting McCain's claims to heroism, because, like it or not, he does deserve them.  Wesley Clark was right: McCain's experiences in Vietnam have nothing to do with whether he'd be an effective President, and that is the angle we should be approaching.  Criticizing his reactions to torture is not only irrelevant, but tasteless and outright vile.  I'll have nothing to do with it, and I'll call it out as disgusting and vile every time I see it.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 09:04:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Fair Game? Of course (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Dem, mamamorgaine

      You See many of his fellow POW's "were having their teeth kicked in" as well. Although, none of them made propaganda tapes for the enemy. Nor are they using thier former POW status as political cover for a dispicable Presidential campaign.

    •  Read the rolling stone article (0+ / 0-)

      And you will understand why I included it.

    •  Wanted to add something (0+ / 0-)

      I do not think there's anything wrong with the fact that McCain caved. I did not call him a traitor, for example. I think that it is wrong, however, for him and others to parlay his experience as somehow "the most heroic," like he is the ultimate Vietnam POW, when others went through much worse or the same without divulging information.

      I frankly don't think being a POW and surviving makes one a hero. I do think enduring torture but refusing to give up your country is pretty heroic. You may not agree with my view on this, but obviously McCain and the republicans do, which is why they pretended at the convention that he never gave up information.

  •  Excellent summary (0+ / 0-)


  •  30 days of epic McCain fan sh*tting ahead /nt (0+ / 0-)

    a mutually beneficial relationship here with those fighting the freedom of the press

    by hhex65 on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 01:16:57 AM PDT

  •  I think Mcnasty thinks he is in titled to the WH (0+ / 0-)

    I went to a private school, my parents paid through the nose

    no scholarships I was an A-b+ average student  who worked hard

    The reward was i got a scholarship to college

    I value the fact that President Obama worked hard for what he has

    McNasty needs to go somewhere and spend more of Cindy's money

    I predict , he will getting married to Sarah Palin
    real soon

    I dont care if mccain is against Abortion I am not wasting my vote President Obama your country awaits you for hope change and YES WE CAN

    by maylingblu on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 03:17:37 AM PDT

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