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John McCain in Crisis Mode: Throw Hot Potatoes, Hope Someone Else Gets Burned

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Perhaps you played this party game as a child? I did. A group of kids sits in a circle, throwing a hot potato to the accompaniment of some goofy song. The loser is the one left holding the potato when the music stops. In McCain’s hands, the hot potato game has been elevated to a political strategy, — a strategy that, in times of love, war, peace and crisis has come to define the life story of the man who would be president. 

Re-playing this history might seem a low blow, a cruel rubbing of salt in old wounds. But play it, we must, because should John McCain become president, our nation would inherit this history — past, present and future. It’s only fair that we know exactly what we’re getting. Below are his 5 most infamous hot potatoes, tossed from the life story of a man whose integrity could only be descibed as small potatoes. 

 

HOT POTATO #5: McCain Suspends His Campaign, Throws a Wrench into the Economic Bailout Plan

 With his campaign going down in flames in the wake of his feeble, erratic, impulsive, irresponsible responses to the Wall Street crisis last week, followed by this week’s series of smear ads against Obama (which have been called some of the most vitriolic, slanderous political attacks in U.S. campaign history) McCain decided to suspend his campaign and postpone both this Friday’s debate with Obama, and the October 2nd debate between Biden and Palin. In his announcement, McCain said:

It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem…. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside…Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. — John McCain

These proclamations must have seemed odd to the many Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have spent the past week doing just that: toiling together (with neither input, nor inquiry coming from McCain) as they worked to hammer this 3-page legislative proposal into a solution to this extremely complex economic crisis. It seems odder, still, when you consider McCain’s words from just one day earlier, regarding this 3-page document: “I have not had a chance to see it in writing. I have to examine it.”

Continuing his announcement yesterday, McCain invoked every patriotic hot-button sentiment he could bluster (people not being able to buy homes, life savings at stake, businesses not being able to meet payroll, devastating consequences for the economy, every corner of our country impacted and, of course, the spectre of September 11th), in an attempt to scare the hell out of Americans and rally support for his selfless gesture. He then challenged Obama to respond in kind, thereby tossing him a hot potato. All that remained was the wait, with baited breath, to see what political damage might befall the Obama campaign. McCain didn’t have to wait long. Here’s what America had to say:

It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who will be the next president. It is going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once. It’s more important than ever to present ourselves to the American people. — Barack Obama

We haven’t heard hide nor hair of Sen. McCain in these negotiations. He has not been involved except for an occasional, unhelpful statement, sort of thrown from far away, and the last thing we need in these delicate negotiations is an injection of presidential politics. — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee

All of sudden, now that we are on the verge of making a deal, John McCain here drops himself in to help us make a deal…. We’re trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign. — Barney Frank, chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, expressing fear that McCain could end up slowing down work on the bill.

I’m delighted that John is expressing himself on this issue. I have heard from Obama numerous occasions these last couple days. I have never heard from John McCain on the issue… I’m just worried a little bit that sort of politicizing this problem, sort of flying in here, I’m beginning to think this is more of a rescue plan for John McCain and not a rescue plan for the economy. — Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee

(On McCain’s attempt to postpone the debate) The plans for this forum have been underway for more than a year and a half. The [commission’s] mission is to provide a forum in which the American public has an opportunity to hear the leading candidates for the president of the United States debate the critical issues facing the nation. We believe the public will be well served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled. — The Commission on Presidential Debates, the sponsors for Friday’s scheduled debate in Mississippi

Empirically, so far, the advantage is decidedly with Obama and the Dems generally. The news coverage to date suggests Obama is the ‘cooler’ under the recent pressures and seems to be more capable of handling risks without undue panic. — Ohio Wesleyan government professor and Hoover Institution fellow Carl Pinkele

Today, we see McCain grandstanding in Washington with his buddy, George Bush (who, at the behest of McCain, summoned Barack Obama off the campaign trail, to join their dog and pony show at the White House) as McCain assists Bush in his fearmongering campaign to cram this bailout plan through Congress, post haste. What a farce!

And what is McCain’s contribution to this economic crisis? Nothing more than furthering the agenda of his supposedly “suspended” campaign — all to the expense of the entire country – by schmoozing his fellow Republicans into making “Yeah Johnny!” statements to the press, in which his buddies praise McCain (while slamming Obama) for his magnanimous contributions toward solving this crisis. Is it any wonder that all of Washington, except for the staunchest of McCain sycophants, is outraged? This is the quintessential McCain, folks. This is the guy who’s been jackassing around Washington for decades now — his self-serving agenda pawned off as maverick politics. His actions today are downright treasonous.

HOT POTATO #4: McCain Throws America an Inferior Product
 

In the wake of a soaring, inspiring and substantive Democratic Convention — defined by great, issue-driven speeches by ordinary citizens and politicians of great stature, alike — McCain’s uninspired presidential campaign was floundering and in the dullest of doldrums. McCain decided to steal the fire from the Democrats.

She’s a partner and a soul-mate. — John McCain, Aug. 31, 2008, on his vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin, whom he had met only once before offering her the job.

 His ploy worked like a charm. Problem was, the desired publicity-fest proved to be a double-edge sword, as the media scrutiny quickly revealed the Achilles’ tendon in his new running mate: namely, that she is profoundly unqualified to even speak to the press, much less serve as vice-president or (gulp) president of the United States. John McCain’s choice to throw Sarah Palin into his floundering campaign continues to be viewed as a scorching indictment on his capacity for sound judgment. While the jury is still out on his choice of a running mate, it is widely agreed that tossing Sarah Palin onto the plates of Americans was, at best, a gamble that might pay off for his campaign and, at worst, the foisting onto Americans of the most dangerous candidate in the history of presidential politics.

 
HOT POTATO #3: McCain Throws His Keating Five Cohorts Under the Bus to Save His Own Ass
 
The Keating Five Scandal, in a nutshell

 

It was bad enough that McCain was involved in the the Keating Five scandal, but then he tried to pressure Congressional investigators into easing off the investigation. But, no, even that wasn’t enough. Feeling the heat from the investigation, McCain decided to save his own ass by ratting out his co-conspirators. He polished this off with a generous round of media appearances, in which he proclaimed his innocence. It worked. McCain got off with a mere slap on the wrist for his role in what’s been called, “the worst ethics scandal in the history of the Senate.” One journalist described it like this:

They say that if you put five lobsters into a pot and give them a chance to escape, none will be able to do so before you light the fire. Each time a lobster tries to climb over the top, his fellow lobsters will pull him back down. It is the way of lobsters and threatened United States senators…. Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You [John McCain] are especially adept at this.

It would be difficult to say which is the worst indictment of John McCain’s character: that he was involved in the Keating Five, in the first place, or his reprehensible ass-saving behaviors in the wake of the scandal. It is generally agreed that the McCain campaign has gotten a free pass on Keating Five scandal, not to mention his other economic/banking faux pas . The level of disgust over this varies. As one blogger put it:

I really am amazed how one of the unspoken rules of this election has been NOT to mention John McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal.

Let’s remember that this isn’t a scandal involving his home or his church. It’s a scandal involving John McCain abusing his federal office. It’s a scandal that cost the American taxpayer billions. It’s also a scandal that deals with failed banks – kind of relevant to today. How is it that John McCain’s entire record is relevant, going back to the 1960s no less, but somehow we’re supposed to skip the 1980s scandal years because that would be “rude”?

Seriously, I don’t get it. Only the Republicans could make something John McCain did in office, and was chastised for officially on the Senate floor, and turn it into something “personal’ and off-limits, like it’s his daughter or his mistress. No, it’s his job. And he screwed up, wilfully. And it’s relevant to the very economic crisis we’re discussing today. It’s also relevant to any discussion of his honor.

 

HOT POTATO #2: John McCain throws his own wife under the bus after she suffers a disfiguring accident

To his credit, John McCain has at least acknowledged sole blame for abandoning his first wife in the wake of her tragic auto accident that left the former swimsuit model disfigured and crippled. It goes without saying that this is a highly personal matter, the details of which are no one’s business but theirs. However, one can not divorce from John McCain’s candidacy the character of a man who showed such flimsy loyalty for the woman who stood by his side throughout his imprisonment in Hanoi — a man who would abandon the mother of his three children in the wake of her horrible accident, only so he could flit about with the beautiful people and cheat on his wife for several years before, ultimately, replacing her with a beautiful, young undamaged model. 

 
HOT POTATO #1: John McCain throws his fellow POWs as well as his country under the bus as he sings like a canary (and then some) for the enemy
 

Out of respect for others who have, unlike myself, experienced the unimaginable tortures suffered by prisoners of war, I won’t belabor this point. I will only offer a few examples of the documentswords, articles and videos of others, who feel that John McCain behaved dishonorably both during and after the war. During his captivity, McCain provided military information far beyond the Code of Conduct – and far beyond that which other POWs divulged, while undergoing extreme torture themselves. After the war, McCain has fought to keep this information from becoming public, by stonewalling efforts by families of MIAs to declassify documents. While these documents could help these families discover the whereabout of their loved ones, these documents also contain damning evidence about John McCain’s behavior during captivity.

As with McCain’s behavior with his wife (detailed in #2 above) it tells something of a man’s character that, having been through this experience, he would not only emerge less-than-truthful about the particulars of his history, but would use this falsified history to pander political points in his campaign. The real crime, however, is his disregard for the families of MIAs, as he fought their efforts to possibly discover the whereabouts of their loved ones (dead or alive?) who, unlike McCain, never returned home from war.

McCain’s disregard for veterans has been ongoing and continues today, in his lack of support on Capitol Hill for the for veterans’ issues and benefits, as seen in the clip from last spring’s film, “Why Won’t McCain Sign the GI Bill?”

 
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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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postscript:
Various theories have been proposed on the origin of the game “hot potato.” One generally accepted theory is that the first “hot potato” was, in fact, the warm contents of a freshly soiled diaper. The concept of a game arose from the good-humored arguments over who happened to be holding the baby upon the arrival of said-poop. This person became, by default, the designated diaper changer: the “loser.” Enough said. 

 

 

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