The Southwest Portland Post. (Portland, Oregon) 2007-current, October 01, 2008, Page 8, Image 8

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    8 • The Southwest Portland Post
October 2008
Five threatening character flaws of John McCain
By Tom H. Hastings
There seems to be some confusion
amongst the pundits about who
‘won’ the first presidential debate
on September 26 (at the University
of Mississippi between U.S. Sen.
Barack Obama (Democrat-Illinois)
and U.S. Sen. John McCain (Repub-
lican-Arizona)). Winning a debate
was once about demonstrating intel-
lectual command over the facts and
logic surrounding an issue.
Americans are trained to look
past the depth of arguments, how-
ever, to the shallow ad hominem
jabs, and the talking heads rein-
forced that once again. So, all right.
In an attempt to look toward actual,
predictable effects of a McCain vic-
tory, we key off the debate to five
notches in the key of catastrophe
being cut and buffed by McCain.
One: McCain is ossified. Almost
before he finished his second sen-
tence, John McCain was saying,
‘Again…,’ as though he had no fresh
thoughts beyond his rote response.
Two: McCain is reckless. He
tut-tutted Obama about the lat-
ter’s measured if militaristic state-
ment that if he were president and
received actionable intelligence
about bin Laden operating at a
specific location in the tribal areas
of Northwest Pakistan, he would
attack al-Qa’ida.
“You don’t say that out loud,”
said McCain, as though he would
do the same thing, but just make
it a surprise to Pakistanis. Obama
explained and then noted that it
was odd to hear such criticism from
someone who sang songs about
bombing Iran and discussed the
“extinction” of North Korea.
Three: McCain is a spendthrift.
He promised that he would be
fiscally prudent about everything
except “national defense.” This is
precisely the problem.
While Obama referred repeat-
edly to the ongoing waste of more
than $10 billion per month in Iraq,
neither discussed the top end of the
much more ruinous overall military
budget, topping $1 trillion now
under Bush and threatening more
of the same if not worse under Mc-
That has been the problem and
McCain promises to drive it deeper.
Four: McCain is militaristic. He
is from a military family, has a life
and career built entirely around the
military, and cannot seem to con-
ceive of another world in which the
U.S. is anything but a domineering
brutal enforcer of its will around
the world.
Virtually all his examples he used
to illustrate any point revolved
around his intimate obsession with
the tools and practices of destruc-
tion. He is purblind to alternatives
and only promises to exacerbate
the American image and reality of
a military giant jackbooting across
the planet.
Five: McCain really represents a
profiteering elite, not honest, car-
ing, working Americans. He con-
sistently dismissed Obama’s ideas
about generating a more robust,
fair, and secure economy and health
care system as “naïve.”
McCain argued for more tax
breaks for the rich, for corpora-
tions, and for a tax code that would
pretend your health care benefits
should be counted as income and
Apparently, we are supposed to
want to be rich so very badly that
we will vote for the one who will
run a lottery that will benefit the
few and punish the many on the
off chance that fate and Republican
largesse will somehow grant us
membership in that rarified circle
of Masters of the Universe.
I am reminded of a Woody Allen
moment in Annie Hall, when he
was a passenger in a car driven by
Annie’s brother, who was reckless
and unpredictable. Like Woody, we
might try to excuse ourselves from
John McCain’s threat to drive the
ship of state by noting that we are
“due back on planet Earth.”
I think McCain’s entire philoso-
phy is best summed up by one final
quote from the debate.
McCain: We fixed it. Then we
killed it.
Great, John. We’ll try to maintain
eye contact as we ease out of your
Tom H. Hastings (pcwtom@gmail.
com) teaches in the MA/MS Conflict
Resolution program at Portland State
PoSt a to Z BuSINESS CaRD DIRECtoRy 503-244-6933