Ah, what might have been...
As he approaches the end of his first term, President John McCain offered some comments regarding the accomplishments of his administration and his thoughts for his upcoming second term.
Mr. McCain opened his remarks by stressing that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. While acknowledging that the nation's current unemployment rate of 23.4 percent remains stubbornly high, the President stressed that he believes the administration's policy of combining a laissez-faire approach with common-sense austerity measures will see the economy through to better days. Mr. McCain said that he is considering a special Presidential commission, to be headed by former General Electric Chairman and CEO Jack Welch, to examine the steady rise in reported unemployment numbers.
“I believe we need to take a solid look at these numbers,” the President said. “If anyone can determine whether the books have been cooked, it's Jack Welch. Look, financial firms, which are after all the very foundation of our economy, have never done better. Derivative trading has enabled many ordinary Americans who work on Wall Street to earn substantial bonuses to feed and clothe their families.”
The President also noted that the job market and overall economy have been helped by the additional 195,000 U.S. troops he has sent to Iraq and the 163,000 U.S. troops he has deployed to Libya in Operation Topple Gaddafi. “We expect too that the additional seven Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and 22 ballistic missile submarines now in the works will have a significant effect,” he said.
Mr. McCain said there are economic stirrings taking place in Michigan and Ohio which should provide a solid basis for growth throughout the region and the rest of the nation. He commented for the first time publicly about the vacant plants and equipment formerly owned and operated by now-bankrupt and defunct General Motors and Chrysler.
“Commerce Secretary Mitt Romney has had serious discussions with several companies, and it appears likely that these assets will be purchased. Some of the plants will be acquired by Free-Market Incarceration LTD of America and turned into private prisons. Most of the others will be acquired by Guns-R-Us Corporation for assembly and shipping facilities. Both of these companies represent growth industries. The Jeep facilities will be relocated to China,” the President said.
The President also said that his Energy Plan for the 21st Century and Beyond initiative will soon start providing much lower prices for American consumers. He noted that much more oil and natural gas will be coming to the market, with drilling in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks especially showing much promise. “Repealing the Clean Air Act has given a needed shot in the arm to energy independence, and ending tax credits for questionable renewable energy projects to direct them to petroleum production where they are truly needed will do wonders,” Mr. McCain added. “Vice President Palin's expertise in this area was invaluable.”
The President took special notice of his signature Universal Coverage Healthcare Act, which is due to be fully in place within the next two years. When fully enacted the act is expected to cover a total of 14,672 American families. Although details are still being worked out, it is widely believed an introductory bare-bones policy will have a premium beginning at around $2,100 per month. “The next step will be to develop plans for pre-existing conditions. We are considering tax cuts for the insurance companies for that. The fundamentals of the health care system are good.”
Mr. McCain also discussed his administration's progress in reducing the budget deficit and national debt. While acknowledging the temporary confusion and discomfort resulting from raising the Social Security and Medicare coverage age to 72, the President insisted that all seniors initially removed from these benefit programs would re-qualify upon reaching the new age requirement. “There is no better way to strengthen these programs and make them sustainable for the future than by reducing the number of folks using them,” he said.
The President gave his approval to upcoming filibuster reform in the U.S. Senate. The proposed rule change presently being discussed would allow the Senate Minority Leader, with support of one-quarter of senators (25), to recess and adjourn the Senate session until the next general election. Opponents of the reform proposal maintain an adjournment under this rule could last as long as two years and could effectively keep the Senate from tackling the nation's pressing problems. The current Minority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, has pledged to help make the reform work, saying it's an important action to protect the rights of the minority party. Mr. McCain showed a brief flash of anger when discussing the rule change.
“I served with Mitch McConnell for a lot of years in the Senate,” the President noted in a somewhat testy voice. “I have aways known him for the straight shooter he is. It's utterly ridiculous to suggest Mitch McConnell would not honor a gentleman's agreement on this. Anybody with half a brain knows that.”
The President closed his remarks by mentioning only briefly his bitterly fought November re-election in his re-match with Sen. Barack Obama, his 2008 opponent. Sen. Obama, who was quoted as saying in private conversations he “did not believe the American people would make the same mistake twice”, won the popular vote and a clear majority in the initial Electoral College tally last month. But in the landmark case of McCain v. Democratic Parties of California, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois et al the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. McCain and ordered the electoral vote in the defendant states be eliminated from final Electoral College consideration due to widespread, organized voter fraud. The majority of the revised national electoral vote was carried by the President, giving him a second term. The reliably conservative wing of the court was joined by Mr. McCain's two Supreme Court appointments, Associate Justices Erick W. Erickson and Joseph M. Arpaio, in the 7-2 decision.