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Published this morning in the Washington Times is an article, "McCain lambastes Bush years", in which John McCain opened up like never before on the failings of his party and George W. Bush.

It completely and utterly indicts the republican power structure in Washington in a way that I never thought I'd see the circa 2008 John McCain do.

That said, there are fallacies, half truths, and misrepresentations throughout the article that must be corrected. I had originally begun writing this as a comment within the article itself but realized that it was getting far too long. So here is a diary for you. :)

Please bear with the length as I have decided to take the Washington Times article apart, piece by lovely piece. I created a table of contents so you can navigate to the main sections more easily, just below the fold:


1) The overall indictment

2) Campaign Financing and Joe Biden's "crisis" comments

3) Regarding the recent AP-GFK polling showing McCain only 1pt behind Obama

4) Signing Statements

5) Executive Privilege

6) On the status of the Vice President and its powers

7) On the republican party

8) On John Lewis's comments

9) The rest of the article focuses on Ayers, ACORN, etc. All of which have been debunked in some great diaries such as....


1) We start here:

In an interview with The Washington Times, Mr. McCain lashed out at a litany of Bush policies and issues that he said he would have handled differently as president, days after a poll showed that he began making up ground on Sen. Barack Obama since he emphatically sought to distance himself from Mr. Bush in the final debate.

"Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously," Mr. McCain said in an interview with The Washington Times aboard his campaign plane en route from New Hampshire to Ohio.

I have nothing to say regarding this save the fact that McCain voted with Bush and the Republicans an average of 85-90% of the time over the past 8 years, and 97.5% over the past two years in particular.

So if you're blasting the policies which you by and large voted for, you are in essence blasting yourself. Way to go!

2) This next portion of the article is just rife with errors.

He also hit Mr. Obama for breaking his pledge to take public campaign financing; said Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has as much as acknowledged that Mr. Obama would make the world more dangerous; and cautioned that while he may be down in the race, he's not out.

Obama's actual statement regarding Campaign Financing:

I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.<script></script>

I bolded the key portions because they fall perfectly in line with what has occurred.

Obama NEVER stated that he would, without preconditions, enter into the public financing system. In fact, he stated that his use of public financing would be contingent on a fundraising truce. Now what possibly could this mean? Obviously this is in reference to 527 fundraising. Why? By the sheer fact that the candidates are limited to $84 million from the government, and the respective parties are able to raise as much money as they can within the current system, clearly that only leaves the 527s.

Obama moved aggressively from the very beginning, and some say went too far, in shutting off the spigot to the 527s such as and Progressive Media USA. I blogged about this occurrence here:

John McCain at no point during this cycle even hinted at the possibility of shutting down the 527s.

So what was the short and skinny of this? Obama made good faith efforts to uphold his part of the bargain, and yet when it became apparent that John McCain would not, Obama went his separate ways.

And you know what? Good for him. He's raised over $600 million during the entire presidential campaign and over $300 million since wrapping up the Democratic nomination. This has allowed Obama to not only defend himself against McCain's scurrilous attacks, but go on the offensive into places we never dreamed of before.

North Dakota




North Carolina

And on and on and on. I wrote over a month ago in the midst of the republican national convention that we could be on the verge of a landslide election. And while I was poo-poo'd at the time, the polling then, and of late, has not only borne this reality out, it has shown what $300+ million can do when it comes to organizing the ground game, getting out the vote, getting advertisements on the air, and literally swamping your opponent into resigned, if not bitter, submission.

That said, there is absolutely no way shape or form to blame Obama for the misfortunes of the republican party or the reticence of John McCain to show any good faith efforts to shutting down the republican 527s.

And there's one other ditty that no one is talking about with regard to public financing. Not only did John McCain show absolutely no desire to shut down the 527s, he already bucked the public financing system to the tune of millions in order to keep his republican primary hopes alive in New Hampshire.

In case you forgot, John McCain used public financing as collateral for a loan taken out from a private bank:

John McCain's cash-strapped campaign borrowed $1 million from a Bethesda bank two weeks before the New Hampshire primary by pledging to enter the public financing system if his bid for the presidency faltered, newly disclosed records show.

McCain had already taken a $3 million bank loan in November to keep his campaign afloat, and he sought from the same bank $1 million more shortly before this month's Super Tuesday contests, this time pledging incoming but unprocessed contributions as collateral. He never used the funds of the most recent loan, because his win in the South Carolina primary helped him raise enough money to compete in Florida, his campaign aides said last night.

The loans, revealed yesterday in documents a McCain attorney filed with the Federal Election Commission, offer fresh details about how the Republican senator from Arizona scrambled to secure money as his shoestring campaign navigated a rapid-fire succession of primary contests.

Was Obama supposed to trust McCain's word on public financing and 527s when McCain had already lied before?

Given what we've seen over the past 6 weeks, however, I'm exceedingly happy he opted out.

That said, time to continue on with the Washington Times article:

He also hit Mr. Obama for breaking his pledge to take public campaign financing; said Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has as much as acknowledged that Mr. Obama would make the world more dangerous; and cautioned that while he may be down in the race, he's not out.


"We live in a dangerous world and Senator Obama's running mate has just assured Americans it'll be a heck of a lot more dangerous if you elect him president," he said.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

Joe Biden's actual words:

We’re going to face a major international challenge. Because they’re going to want to test him, just like they did young John Kennedy. They’re going to want to test him. And they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.

In other words, the incoming President will be tested by crisis much in the way that George W. Bush was tested (and failed, unfortunately) by 9/11, Bill Clinton was tested with Somalia and the World Trade Center bombing, John Kennedy was tested with the Cuban missile crisis, and on and on and on.

This stuff happens. So while Biden gave the opposition something to talk about for a couple of days, saying that Biden stated Obama would make the world more dangerous is just flat out lying.

And, of course, no one in the MSM quotes that last portion of Biden's comments when they play them over and over and over again on TV.

Anyway, continuining on.

3) Regarding the recent AP-GFK polling showing McCain only 1pt behind Obama.

The self-described maverick, who was counted out of the Republican race in summer 2007, may to be doing just that. Although he trails in the polls in at least a half-dozen pivotal states, a new Associated Press survey finds the race statistically even, with Mr. Obama at 44 percent and Mr. McCain at 43 percent.

The survey found that Mr. McCain had surged among whites and people earning less than $50,000; among rural voters — he now has an 18-point advantage, up from four points in the previous poll — and on the issue of the economy, where he picked up nine percentage points and now trails the Democrat by just six points.

If one were to only pay attention to the top line numbers, you could be blamed for the gnashing of teeth and "Oh Noes!!!!!" heard from the Obama side and the screams of "Huzzah!!" from the McCain side.

However, some elementary research into the internals of the polling clearly shows why the race tightened so much:

Do you consider yourself a born-again or evangelical Christian, or not?

Yes: 44%
No: 55%

In 2004, Evangelical Christians made up 22% of the electorate. 22% in a year in which there were gay marriage bans on the ballot in 11 states, not to mention the fact that they had a President they truly believed in when it came to social issues such as Abortion, Stem Cell research, Judges, and the war in Iraq. 22% folks. And they voted 79% in favor of George W. Bush.

Yet in this AP Poll, they're 44% of the sample?

But what's worse for these guys is the simple fact that  the polling weighted this heavily and McCain STILL can't move ahead of Obama. Seriously, they're screwed.

4) And here it gets better, particularly since this little ditty brings into crystal clear focus an issue that John McCain should've never waivered on for an instant given his own experiences.


He rejected Mr. Bush's use of issuing "signing statements" when he signs bills into law, in which the president has suggested that he would ignore elements of the bills, labeling them potentially unconstitutional.

"I would veto the bills or say, 'Look, I don't like it but I'll obey the law that's passed by Congress and signed by the president.' I think the signing statements was not a correct implementation of the power of the executive. I think it was overstepping," he said.

And yet McCain's history shows just how diametrically opposed his words and his actions are.

Glenn Greenwald quoted a portion of his own book regarding John McCain and signing statements:

The mirage-like nature of McCain's alleged convictions can be seen most clearly, and most depressingly, with his public posturing over the issue of torture. Time and again, McCain has made a dramatic showing of standing firm against the use of torture by the United States only to reveal that his so-called principles are confined to the realm of rhetoric and theater, but never action that follows through on that rhetoric.

In 2005, McCain led the effort in the Senate to pass the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which made the use of torture illegal. While claiming that he had succeeded in passing a categorical ban on torture, however, McCain meekly accepted two White House maneuvers that diluted his legislation to the point of meaningless: (1) the torture ban expressly applied only to the U.S. military, but not to the intelligence community, which was exempt, thus ensuring that the C.I.A.—the principal torture agent for the United States—could continue to torture legally; and (2) after signing the DTA into law, which passed the Senate by a vote of 90–9, President Bush issued one of his first controversial "signing statements" in which he, in essence, declared that, as President, he had the power to disregard even the limited prohibitions on torture imposed by McCain's law.

McCain never once objected to Bush's open, explicit defiance of his cherished anti-torture legislation, preferring to bask in the media’s glory while choosing to ignore the fact that his legislative accomplishment would amount to nothing. Put another way, McCain opted for the political rewards of grandstanding on the issue while knowing that he had accomplished little, if anything, in the way of actually promoting his "principles."

So when McCain had an opportunity to use his moral weight to clamp down on the President's signing statements when it could've mattered, he did absolutely nothing.

5) But it keeps on coming folks. McCain's stance on executive privilege, from the Washington Times article:

And Mr. McCain emphatically rejected Mr. Bush's claims of executive privilege, often used to shield the White House from scrutiny.

Oh Really, Mr. McCain?

"We haven't convinced people that this is a rescue effort not just for Wall Street but for Main Street America," he explained on his campaign trail in Des Moines, Iowa.

He then proposed that President Bush exercise his executive privileges and unilaterally spend $1 trillion to purchase home mortgages.

"The Treasury has the ability to buy up a trillion dollars worth of mortgages. We should move forward on that," McCain said.

I mean, good god man, you're making this WAY too easy.

6) On the status of the Vice President and its powers:

"I don't agree with that either. I don't agree with [Vice President] Dick Cheney's allegation that he's part of both the legislative and the executive branch," he said.

Uhm, Senator McCain, maybe you should talk to your own VP selection, as Think Progress has so eloquently put it:

Has McCain shared his view of the Vice President’s role with his own VP pick? Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) refused to say whether she thinks the Vice President is part of both the executive and legislative branches, as the Hill reported in Septmeber:

[A] spokesman for the Republican presidential campaign did not answer the question. Instead, he e-mailed remarks Palin gave at a campaign rally in Golden, Colo., on Monday. Palin did not say what branch of government she believes the vice president’s office is part of in those remarks.

In fact, Palin seems to think the Vice President plays a major role in the legislative branch. In an interview this week, she made the extraordinary claim that the VP is "in charge of the U.S. Senate." During the vice presidential debate that she declared she was "thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the Vice President also if that Vice President so chose to exert it in working with the Senate."

McCain seems completely unaware that his own VP pick consistently reveals a "worldview" nearly perfectly in line with Dick Cheney.

7) On the republican party:

The Republican also targeted his own party, saying they got drunk with power and lacked the resolve of President Reagan.

"I think, frankly, the problem was, with a Republican Congress, that the president was told by the speaker and majority leaders and others, 'Don't veto these bills, we need this pork, we need this excess spending, we need to grow these bureaucracies.' They all sponsor certain ones. And he didn't do what Ronald Reagan used to and say, 'No'; say, 'No. We're not going to do this.'"

Really, is that why you voted for four out of five Bush budgets?

· McCain Voted for 4 of 5 Bush Budgets Adding Up To $9.8 Trillion In Spending. McCain supported four of the five Bush budgets that the Senate voted on from 2001-2006. McCain voted for the FY 2002 budget, the FY 2005 budget, the FY 2006 budget and the FY 2007 budget. The budgets added up to $9.8 Trillion in spending. [2001 Senate Vote #98; 2004 Senate Vote #58; 2005 Senate Vote #114; 2006 Senate Vote #74]

So what does it say about you, Senator McCain, when you were right along with them voting for the excess spending, pork, and bureacracies? If it was so important to you to cut pork and other excess spending, all $18 billion annually in a $3 trillion budget, why didn't you vote against all of the budgets?

And besides all that, if you can't even control the spending of your own campaign, (I'm looking at Mrs. $150k in clothes, in two months you know), just how in the goddamn world do you expect to control governmental spending?

Utterly pathetic.

8) On John Lewis's comments:

Mr. McCain took great umbrage at comments by Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, who compared the atmosphere at recent Republican rallies to those of 1960s-era segregationist George Wallace.

"Here, a guy I admire and respect, a hero of the civil rights movement, saying, making a statement that somehow [Governor Sarah] Palin and I are involved in segregationist behavior, I mean, is beyond reason. In the debate the other night, Barack Obama refused to repudiate those remarks. I've repudiated every time there's been some inappropriate comment by a GOP operative anywhere."

Mr. McCain called that failure to repudiate Mr. Lewis' comment "certainly something that I don't think is acceptable."

You've repudiated those kinds of comments everywhere they've appeared? What about Michelle Bachmann (here, lying about it by saying she never questioned Obama's patriotism, and again, and again) of Minnesota? What about your campaign chair in Virginia, Bobby May?

What about the person in your own damned rally who called Obama a terrorist when you asked who is the real Obama? You DEFINITELY heard it because you reacted with a disdainful face immediately thereafter.

Take a look at this video, 14-16 seconds in:

And even if you weren't aware of it at the time (not bloody likely), you have SURELY read about it and other comments, such as the infamous "kill him" at Palin's rally.

Where has your outrage been? Oh yes, that's right. Bottled up because Obama wouldn't do Town Hall meetings with you over the summer. Listen 18-50 seconds. It's despicable:

9) The rest of the article focuses on Ayers, ACORN, etc. All of which have been debunked in some great diaries such as and and

But of course, John McCain never touches Palin's ties to the Alaska Independence Party or his own ties to convicted Watergate conspirator and murder plotting G. Gordon Liddy.

Now all this said, I hope you've been able to make it all the way down to the end. As I mentioned initially, this originally started out as a response comment to the Washington Times article that turned into a full fledged diary.

Now that said, how am I responding to this and other falsehoods spewed forth from the McCain campaign and republicans?

  1. Continue to push for fundraising. I've donated $962.50 to the Obama campaign, of which $350 is accounted for on my personal fundraising page here:

I ask that you help in reaching the goal of $5,000. It currently stands at almost $1,900.

  1. I've taken off Friday, October 31st - Tuesday, November 4th to phone bank and help GOTV. My entire weekend will be dedicated to nothing but this folks.
  1. Write diaries like this exposing the hypocrisies and the lies of the republicans.

So let's finish this push and crush the right-wing ideology, and cognitive dissonance, for years to come!

Originally posted to Yalin on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 11:52 AM PDT.


Come November 5th you'll be

31%35 votes
3%4 votes
8%9 votes
8%10 votes
2%3 votes
45%51 votes

| 112 votes | Vote | Results

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