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Speaking of Teddy Roosevelt…. Quotes you WON’T hear McCain repeating

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McCain takes pride in his self-anointed similarities to his hero, Teddy Roosevelt, and even quoted him the other night, saying “Walk softly, talk softly but carry a big stick,” while chastising Obama for some perceived foreign policy faux paux. Teddy Roosevelt’s original quote read like this:

I have always been fond of the West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.’ TR, 1901

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Barack Obama’s response to McCain went like this:

In the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt-ness (much as I don’t share McCain’s romance** with Roosevelt’s “big stick” approach to interventionalism in Latin America, which has been used to justify covert wars, U.S.-installed puppet regimes, death squads, human rights abuses and to otherwise rape, pillage, swindle and rob the citizens of these countries) I thought I’d toss out a few more Teddy Roosevelt quotes. Only, you’re not likely to hear McCain repeat these on the campaign trail, although Obama could do so, in all honesty:

If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful. — TR, 1915

An epidemic in indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. — TR,  1906

I have a perfect horror of words that are not backed up by deeds. — TR, 1915

No man can lead a public career really worth leading, no man can act with rugged independence in serious crises, nor strike at great abuses, nor afford to make powerful and unscrupulous foes, if he is himself vulnerable in his private character. — TR, 1913

Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man…..The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us. — TR, 1903

I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well. — TR, 1910

The object of government is the welfare of the people.  — TR, 1910

This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country. — TR, 1905

It used to be that, even as I opposed Republicans, I could often find common ground in my respect for their intellect, their character, and the sincerity of their ideals. This has not been the case in recent years. John McCain’s character represents such an extreme departure from these traits, that he has become a shame to his party — past, present and future. That his campaign actively promotes and embraces ignorance, lies, bluster and sordid values — while ridiculing intelligence and higher ideals —  only shows his profound lack of qualifications to elevate the country he sought to lead. 

The national polls reflect this, as does this interesting internet survey, titled, IF THE WORLD COULD VOTE ?  Although only 157,194 votes have been cast (as of this hour’s updated numbers) these votes came from a total of 186 countries. So far, Obama wins by 100% in many of the countries, and is in the 90% range in most countries. Seems not all the world is as enchanted as John McCain is in the unilateral, big-stick, Bush Doctrine bullying we’ve all been subjected to over the past 8 years.

 

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by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers

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** For more reading on McCain’s activities with the Monroe Doctrine and the Bush Doctrine (aka “palling around with terrorists” in Latin America and Afghanistan), these links are a good starting point. 

Huffington Post: McCain linked to private group in Iran-Contra case – GOP presidential nominee John McCain has past connections to a private group that supplied aid to guerrillas seeking to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua in the Iran-Contra affair. McCain’s ties are facing renewed scrutiny after his campaign criticized Barack Obama for his link to a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago. The U.S. Council for World Freedom was part of an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. The group was dedicated to stamping out communism around the globe.

Huffington Post: Why McCain’s time with the U.S. Council for World Freedom matters – The USCWF was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in November 1981 as an offshoot of the World Anti-Communist League. The group was, from the onset, saddled with the disreputable reputation of its parent group. The WACL had ties to ultra-right figures and Latin American death squads. Roger Pearson, the chairman of the WACL, was expelled from the group in 1980 under allegations that he was a member of a neo-Nazi organization.

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Sarah Palin: A Drunkard’s Dream

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of being interviewed on Indie Talk’s’ “The Blog Bunker” on Sirius radio — a nifty show that whets & feeds the appetites of political bloggers, junkies and newbies alike. (p.s. Kudos and thanks to Alexandra and Joe!) Anyway, it struck me as odd that I could experience stage fright in the absence of a stage. I was also surprised to discover I have something in common with Sarah Palin, besides my ability to mangle the English language in front of a world audience. I now know, first-hand, how Sarah Palin must feel after an interview. Oh, the things I would do differently, if I had it to do all over again.  

I wish the interview had been a dress rehearsal, and I could do it again today, because (aside from wishing I could edit out the 100 or so times I said, “you know”) there are a few things I wish I had said. Mostly, I wish I’d brought up the oh-so-boring topic of voter fraud and disenfranchisement, which makes moot the quaint idea that our votes have anything whatsoever to do with electing the president. I wish that — while I had a captive audience — I’d mentioned the vile tactics and trickery being used, as we speak, by the McCain campaign and the Republican Party to commit voter fraud — a campaign that is even more dishonest, reckless and reprehensible than their presidential campaign, if such a thing is possible. 

But I also wish I’d been more clear in my criticism of Sarah Palin during our discussion of the poll numbers. More to the point: I wish I’d been more succinct in my criticism of the national stupidity that could embrace a candidate like Sarah Palin. Because — make no mistake — Sarah Palin is not the problem. The polls make this clear. The problem is that 40-something percent of Americans say they would actually vote for a candidate like Sarah Palin.  

Presidential Politics: Dancing with the Stars meets American Idol (p.s. How do I phone in my vote?)

We touched on this in the interview, when I griped about the media’s paparazzi-style coverage of this campaign (pure fluff and controversy — which, before the Wall Street crisis, was 24-7 Sarah Palin) with a dearth of substantive coverage on the actual issues of this campaign. The network ratings mirror the polls, which make clear that this is exactly what the American public wants. Interestingly, these same numbers are reflected within the tiny realm of this very blog. People read about Sarah Palin, almost to the exclusion of anything else.

 

As evidence, my own posts on Sarah Palin have been read 1300% more than ALL of the following topics COMBINED: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, George Bush, John McCain, Aafia Siddiqui, Bruce Ivins/anthrax, patriotism, the truth about the Bush Administration on illegal torture, detainment, secret prisoners, the desecration of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, propaganda, wiretapping and spying on U.S. citizens, 9-11, the Iraq War and Afghanistan wars, Georgia-Ossetia, plus all the covert U.S. wars throughout the world. Granted, many of the readers are people like me: incredulous, horror-striken, praying for some god-out-of-the-machine turn of events that will put an end to the nightmare-specter of a McCain-Palin presidency.     

 

If I were a business, I’d be out of business, without Sarah Palin.

So it only makes sense that the media would cover Sarah Palin to the near-exclusion of everything else. This is why we don’t see substantive, in-depth coverage of the actual issues. This is why we don’t see longer clips of speeches, or more in-depth discussions with the candidates. This is why the media has not played a real role in forging a national dialogue on the issues. This is why most Americans — if asked — would be hard-pressed to actually explain the platform issues of their chosen candidate. Such topics make people’s teeth hurt.

In yesterday’s interview, I said that most Americans actually know very little about their candidate of choice. John McCain, for example. Most Americans — if asked to tell everything they know about John McCain — would be hard-pressed to offer more than, “He was a POW and he’s a maverick.” If asked for specifics on his platform and his legislative record, they’d draw a blank. The same is true for Obama, except for the lies, which the media have abrogated their duty to correct. Too, I’d hazard to guess that most Americans know more about Sarah Palin’s ex-brother-in-law than they do about Joe Biden.

A newer, “betterer” America: diplomacy is wimpy and real people don’t use big words.

This is a direct result of the “dummying-down” of our national dialogue over the past 8 years. It’s gotten so bad that the candidate who brings actual presidential qualities to his candidacy is jeered as being elitist. The candidate who has consistently shown a level-headed, nuanced, intelligent and unwaveringly deliberate and methodical approach to addressing the serious problems we face as a nation, is seen as being weak. He’s called ‘professorial,’ as if this were somehow a bad thing. Meanwhile, the candidate with the erratic, kamikaze approach to problem-solving, who consistently lies, distorts the facts, fearmongers, bullies, blusters, and shows a flagrant ignorance of the facts, and can’t even debate the issues with a leader of his own country without losing his temper and saying “horseshit” (or worse) is seen as being strong. The candidate who brought us Sarah Palin is seen as being the better-known quantity…. Hmm.

Our country is suffering from a fatal disease. While the pathology is as invasive and malignant as any cancer, I would liken it more to alcoholism: we are determined to self-destruct by our own hand. Maybe this is a good thing. As any former gutter drunk could tell you, you have to hit utter rock bottom before you get desperate enough to change. Lucky for us, I suppose, we’ve almost arrived.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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Related reading:

Huffington Post: Why the Debates Won’t Matter (Hint: It’s a Felony)

John McCain’s Rage: The Loser in the Debate

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Any old fool can start a war. It takes a real leader to stop a war before it begins.

No one else seems to be saying it, so I will. McCain was scary last night. And I don’t mean ‘scary’ in the strong-on-foreign-policy, ain’t-no-one-gonna-mess-around-with-this-guy  sense of the word, but scary, as in, this guy’s like a ticking bomb, and he’s gonna blow any second.

One doesn’t need a degree in the behavioral sciences to have noticed that McCain’s body language betrayed him last night, conveying an easily-provoked rage that spiked intermittently throughout the debate. His head, in particular. At several points during the debate, such as when Obama enumerated flaws in McCain’s foreign policy record (see video), McCain’s face physically drew-up and hardened, like a coiled fist. At one point, his entire face literally rippled with rage, the muscles in his jowls hardening like marbles under his skin. His pupils grew beady and jittery — looking almost deranged — while he waited his turn to respond. And respond, he did, his voice quavering (feebleness, fury or fatigue?), his mouth curled into a snarl, his pointed tongue darting out like a serpent as he spoke.    

I’ve seen this before. Anyone has, who’s ever witnessed ‘what McCain does’ when he’s crossed (see videos, below). When you hear from his Capitol Hill colleagues that McCain has a short fuse, that he’s a hot-head, this is what they’re talking about. Disagree with McCain, piss him off, and you are not only persona non grata, but you will likely find yourself in his crosshairs for the next few years. McCain is nothing, if he’s not vindictive, which makes moot any attempts to tally points between the debaters last night to see who came out on top. In both domestic and foreign policy, the clear loser was John McCain, as his rage simply got the better of him. 

If the diplomatic needs of the United States were limited to only bluster and bellicosity, or to, on occasion, staring down a fellow world leader and being able to reduce the dialogue, from start to finish, into seeing 3 letters in his eyes — K.G.B. — then McCain would be our man. Were the world a schoolyard, we could, perhaps, comfortably turn loose the scrappy schoolboy with the angry little man complex, his arms and fists perpetually poised to deal a blow. But on the world stage, we need a leader whose hands are as open to exchanging a handshake as they are to displaying the strength of a hardened fist. 

We need leaders of sound temperament, whose experience includes a history, past and present, of pragmatic, clear-thinking and foresight: leaders capable of nuanced thought in a world that is rarely black or  white, but is nearly always a mix of the two, with myriad shades of gray in-between.  We need a leader who can conduct a debate with a colleague — a fellow leader in his own country — without struggling so hard against his own personal demons, without struggling so hard to keep from detonating. For this was McCain’s fatal flaw last night: as his rage consumed him, his body language betrayed him — making hollow any claim he could verbalize on owning the character and temperament necessary to being a great president. As his rage won, John McCain lost the debate. And, in the end, it was this that defined the real difference between the two candidates: It is one thing to SAY that you own the temperament, character and good judgement to be president; it is another thing, entirely, to SHOW that you own those qualities.

Any old fool can start a war. The last thing this country needs is an old warrior whose worldview is tainted with old, unresolved rage. We do not need a leader who sees the world through the lens of a blind rage, ever on the verge of rearing its ugly head.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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ABOVE: McCain grows angry, sarcastic in discussion w/George Stephanopoulos on health care in April 08

ABOVE: NBC news report in March 08, detailing McCain’s anger in exchange with reporter

ABOVE: McCain during a committee hearing with families of Vietnam MIAs, who were seeking declassification of Vietnam documents, believed to contain information on their loved ones, who never returned home from war. Body language: Although this hearing took place 15 years ago, again, we see the body language as McCain seethes and writhes with anger, taking his glasses on and off, repeatedly shoving them into his pocket.  His facial expression at 5:37 on the video is not only scary, it is grossly inappropriate and unbecoming for a man serving a position of authority on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. 

BELOW: The veterans advocacy groups and individuals leading this effort believe that John McCain stonewalled their efforts in order to avoid declassifying documents that would also reveal to the public unknown or unbecoming aspects of John McCain’s own history in Vietnam. This is discussed in the video, below, by some of those family members and veterans who have spent many years fighting to have the documents and information declassified. 

BELOW: But why listen to me? Listen to what Pat Buchanan and others — including McCain, himself — were saying, just this past spring.

SEE ALSO OUR RELATED POSTS ON McCAIN:

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

The Rise and Fall of McCain-Palin: A Shakespearean Tale of Junked Mavericks and Junkyard Dogs

The Emperor’s Old Clothes: The 3 Fatal Flaws of the McCain Doctrine

John McCain and the Snake Oil Express Take Wall Street by Storm

Monkeys with Molotovs: The Gutter Politics of McCain, Palin, Rove & Co.

SEE ALSO:

Huffington Post: Angry Video

Written by canarypapers

September 27, 2008 at 9:42 am