Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

McCain calls out federal census for $2.5M Super Bowl ad

Posted by sanityinjection on February 5, 2010

Senator John McCain wants to know why the federal government is spending $2.5 million on a 30-second commercial to air during the Super Bowl. The commercial is to remind people about this year’s 2010 federal Census.

McCain said, “The census happens every 10 years. Everybody knows it happens.” While that may not be entirely accurate among the non-political crowd, the simple fact is that the Census is not optional. We are required by law to participate. Why should the feds be spending $2.5 million to convince us to do what we have to do anyway? It’s like airing an ad that says, “Remember, tax day is April 15, don’t forget to pay your income taxes.”

Given the state of our economy, couldn’t we either have refrained from spending the $2.5M that we don’t have, or at least spent it on something helpful? In McCain’s words, “We shouldn’t be wasting $2.5 million taxpayer dollars to compete with ads for Doritos!”

Of course, this is red meat for conservative voters, and McCain is facing a conservative challenger in the Arizona Senate primary. But it’s also right up McCain’s alley as a long time spending hawk.

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McCain puts trash journalism in its place

Posted by sanityinjection on January 13, 2010

This is what passes for news nowadays: Someone writes a tell-all book full of juicy tidbits about some of the nation’s major political players. Reporters then spend the next week trying to goad said political players into saying more nasty things either about each other or about the book’s authors.

No one makes a better foil for this sort of trash than Sarah Palin. Everyone seems to either love to love Palin or love to hate her. Along with her own undeniable efforts to remain in the spotlight, this helps explain why she remains a major topic of conversation over a year after her failed 2008 Vice Presidential bid, and why FoxNews has just recently hired her to be a regular on-air talking head. (Personally, I am ambivalent about Palin; I find some of the attacks against her to be vile but I also don’t consider her a great spokesperson for conservative ideas.)

So it came as no surprise to anyone when Matt Lauer turned the conversation to the subject of Palin in his recent interview with Senator John McCain on the Today Show. Lauer wanted McCain to comment on allegations in the book “Game Change” that his campaign had done a lousy and hasty job of vetting Palin before she was selected to be his running mate. It should be noted that unlike some of the book’s other juicy bits, this is not a new allegation, though it may be made in more detailed fashion. McCain certainly has heard it many times before.

Lauer’s goal, of course, was to put McCain in an uncomfortable situation where he faced the following choices: slam your aides for doing a bad job, impugn your own judgment in selecting a running mate, or bad mouth someone (Palin) who worked hard on your behalf. You can almost see Lauer mentally salivating behind his mask of journalistic seriousness.

McCain, displaying the class for which he is legendary among those who have worked for him, refused to take the bait, twice stating that he would not know if the book’s allegations were correct or who the sources were that provided the information. He simply said he was proud of Palin and proud of the campaign that he ran, and sought to move on to other topics. But Lauer wouldn’t let it go. McCain got visibly irritated and suggested something more important to talk about:  “I just spent my time, Matt, over where three Americans were just killed in Afghanistan.”

Lauer wouldn’t even take that obvious hint and continued to press McCain about Palin, leaving the Senator no choice but to put Lauer firmly in his place:

“I am not going to spend time looking back at over what happened over a year ago when we’ve got two wars to fight, 10 percent unemployment in my state and things to do. I’m sorry, you’ll have to get others to comment.”

After that, even Lauer knew he’d been licked, and retreated with a weaselly attempt to sound like he was apologizing for asking the questions, without actually apologizing (which the media almost never does): ““I hope you understand my asking the questions.” Which actually means, “I have every right to ask these questions!” McCain of course took the high road and graciously treated it like the apology it wasn’t.

In fact, what McCain had skillfully done was to expose the degree to which Lauer and his ilk are out of touch with the American people, who are far more concerned with issues like health care, jobs, and Afghanistan than with endless navel-gazing over the internal functioning of the political process. Yes, we like juicy gossip, but the media likes to pretend that juicy gossip is actually serious news, and for once, they got caught in the masquerade of their own self-importance. Is it any wonder why so many of us retain our affection for the irascible Senator from Arizona? We cherish the knowledge that every now and then, like the child at the Emperor’s parade, he can be counted on to look someone right in the eye and publicly tell them the truth they would much rather not hear.

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Quote of the Day

Posted by sanityinjection on August 17, 2009

“Among its other capabilities, it would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack. Now, let me tell you something. If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack.” – President Barack Obama, referring to upgraded “Marine One” Presidential helicopters included in the House version of the defense budget but not requested by the Pentagon

This is one issue area where President Obama, his former opponent Senator McCain, and I are in complete agreement. It is long past time for legislators to stop inserting pork projects in the defense budget that the Pentagon does not want, whose sole purpose is to keep government jobs and dollars flowing to their district. Congress needs to wake up and realize that those dollars are coming from taxpayers’ pockets and cheating our soldiers and veterans out of the equipment and medical care they need and deserve. Any legislator who inserts something like this in the defense budget should be named and shamed. The President has threatened to veto the defense budget if it comes to him with this sort of nonsense in it. While that may or may not be an empty threat (there is too much in the budget bill that is badly needed), I applaud the sentiment. Now if President Obama would insist on the same fiscal restraint with regard to domestic policy, rather than letting his fellow Democrats spend trillions of dollars without oversight, I’d think much more highly of him.

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The inside story of the Sarah Palin nomination

Posted by sanityinjection on August 3, 2009

I have been trying to avoid talking about Sarah Palin’s resignation as Governor of Alaska. Frankly, I’m not all that interested in Palin anymore, and I was disgusted by the Republicans who decided that the best thing they could do to revive the party’s fortunes was to publicly trash their recent Vice-Presidential nominee in the media. Apparently Reagan’s 11th Commandment has become passe these days.

More interesting for political junkies like myself is the inside story of how – and why – Palin was chosen to be McCain’s running mate. Today’s WashPost has an excerpt from a book on the 2008 election by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. They spoke with the top McCain advisors who were involved in the search process and the vetting of Palin to get the real story. Among other things, the piece explains how seriously the campaign considered picking Joe Lieberman, and why McCain decided to take a risk with Palin rather than go with the safe choice, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty:

“She would not necessarily be ready on Jan. 20, 2009, to be vice president, but in his estimation few candidates ever are. 

“John, high risk, high reward.”

He said McCain replied, “You shouldn’t have told me that. I’ve been a risk-taker all of my life.””

If, like me, you always want to know what is really going on behind the scenes at the highest levels of political decision making, this is a must read.

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What is the line-item veto and should President Obama have it?

Posted by sanityinjection on March 4, 2009

It is a truism in Washington that the same issues tend to come up year after year. In that vein, it’s not surprising that there is a new attempt brewing in Congress to give the President the line-item veto.

Most readers know that the President has the ability to veto bills passed by Congress. However, this power becomes almost useless when it comes to the budget. No President wants to veto an entire huge budget bill, much of which he may agree with, over a number of things in it that he disagrees with. This gave rise to the idea of the “line-item veto”, which would give the President the ability to strike out individual items in the budget instead of having to veto the whole bill. As with a regular veto, Congress could still attempt to restore those items  individually or collectively with a vote or votes to override the President’s veto.

Although a number of state governors have this power with regard to their own state budgets, the idea of applying it on the federal level has been controversial. Congress has usually been opposed to the idea on the grounds that it violates the separation of powers which vests the budgetary power with the legislature, while Presidents, unsurprisingly, have generally been in favor of it. Fiscal conservatives have backed the idea because they feel it will allow a President to cut out some of the waste and pork that Congress pads the budget with.

Finally, after the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, they succeeded in passing a law to give the President (Democrat Bill Clinton at the time) the line-item veto in 1996. Clinton was able to use this power for two years, and it is not a coincidence that the combination of a Republican Congress and a President with a line-item veto resulted in significant deficit reductions. Unfortunately, in 1998 the Supreme Court found the line-item veto law to be unconstitutional, agreeing that it violates the separation of powers.

To get around this problem, the new line-item veto proposal, sponsored by Congressman Paul Ryan (R) and Senators John McCain (R) and Russ Feingold (D), limits the line-item veto power so that the President can only strip out earmarks, not entire budget appropriations.

Passage of this legislation would put pressure on President Obama to live up to his rhetoric on fiscal discipline. But it would also give him a powerful tool to cut out waste and pork such as some of the nonsense in the current budget bill.

The fact that this is a bipartisan effort, and that Republicans want to give this power to a Democrat President, are clues that this is a real attempt at reform and not political game-playing.  I completely support this legislation and hope it passes. It is clear that Congress, regardless of which party is in charge, cannot hold the line on spending. Thus if we are going to have any fiscal responsibility we are going to have to empower our President to implement it.

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John McCain, the candidate – postmortem

Posted by sanityinjection on November 5, 2008

A great postmortem on the candidacy of John McCain. The London Times’ Ben Macintyre comes to bury McCain *and* to praise him:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article5084049.ece

Macintyre, no supporter of McCain’s, is happy that McCain lost, but nevertheless casts him as an honorable opponent. He points out that contrary to what the media would have you believe, McCain ran a very clean and ethical campaign.

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Voting Republican for the first time

Posted by sanityinjection on November 3, 2008

Outspoken Libertarian columnist Vin Suprynowicz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains why he is going to vote for a Republican ticket – McCain/Palin – for the first time in his life:

http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/33714474.html

Suprynowicz’ home state of Nevada is very much in play. Of course, if Libertarians had any pull, they’d be able to elect Libertarians. But it makes you wonder whether there might be other Nevadans who will pull the lever for a Republican for the first time.

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Media bias a paper tiger?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Steven Stark over at the ultraliberal Boston Phoenix admits that the mainstream media is ridiculously biased, but argues convincingly that its power is not great enough to deliver an election:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/maverick_in_a_mess.html

Incidentally, I’ve read a few of Stark’s columns over the course of the campaign. Somewhat remarkably, he consistently eschews partisan nastiness in favor of thoughtful analysis. Certain more “reputable” liberal publications in New York and Boston could learn a lot from his example.

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McCain and Obama: Comparisons to historical Presidents

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Sister Benedict and I were talking last night and the subject turned to which past Presidents John McCain and Barack Obama most closely resemble.

For McCain, the obvious parallel seems to be Teddy Roosevelt. McCain often cites Roosevelt as a hero of is, and it’s easy to see why. Both men had a military background and were accused of having a belligerent attitude. Both were famous for their volatile demeanor and their temper. Both had a history of breaking from the Republican party and taking on powerful special interests in pursuit of what they thought was best for their country. Both chose a running mate whose function was to placate the conservative wing of the party.

In the case of Obama, we both thought Woodrow Wilson was a good parallel.  Both came from strong and prestigious academic backgrounds. Both practiced law briefly. Both ran as outsiders, reformers and “peace” candidates. Both had relatively little experience in public office before running for President. Both had a strong belief in the role of the international community in resolving disputes.

It’s interesting to note that both Roosevelt and Wilson were viewed as successful Presidents, but became unpopular by the end of their terms.

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A Sanity Injection for President: John McCain

Posted by sanityinjection on October 27, 2008

It has never been the intent of this blog to serve as a mouthpiece for any political party or candidate. I hope that readers of varying political persuasions can find information, entertainment and the chance to offer their voices here. Nevertheless, with only one week remaining before the biggest election in our country’s recent history, I feel that it is time to be clear about my choice for President of the United States. Sanity Injection officially endorses Senator John McCain for President.

It is certainly tempting for independent voters and even some Republicans to consider a vote for Senator Barack Obama. With the war in Iraq and foreign policy in general fading as an issue of concern to voters, this election has become one about the economy. The current economic difficulties seem to deliver a failing grade for the nation’s leadership, and Obama’s message of change resonates with voters who are fearful and looking for someone to lead them toward brighter horizons.

Indeed, Obama possesses many fine qualities for voters to admire. He is intelligent, an astute politican, possessed of remarkable charisma and great rhetorical skill. He projects a quiet confidence combined with the ability to truly inspire even the cynical in a way no other political leader has in the last eight years. Obama’s candidacy, to the extent that he has inspired people to become involved in the politicial process, has had a positive effect regardless of the outcome of the election.

And yet, a closer inspection of Senator Obama leaves me with areas of concern. Does he really represent change? Well yes, as an individual, a young black man with a very different personality and leadership style from our current President. But the policies Senator Obama has made the focus of his campaign (as opposed to those he has paid lip service to such as NAFTA and offshore oil drilling) are not new and different, but have been advocated before by many within his party, which it should be noted has controlled Congress for the past two years as the economy has gone sour. Electing a Democratic President whose views are solidly in line with an even stronger Democratic Congress is not “change” – at least, not change for the better.

Secondly, while Obama has great potential as a leader, his relative youth and inexperience raise questions about his ability to handle the most powerful job in the world. Obama would be the second most inexperienced President since 1900. His rapid, meteoric rise to power, impressive as it is, leaves one searching for anything resembling adversity that Obama has had to overcome. We have virtually nothing to tell us how a President Obama will respond the first time he fails at something, as all Presidents inevitably must. One of President Bush’s worst qualities has been his inability to recognize, admit, and work on his mistakes; we cannot afford to risk more of that in the future.

By contrast, Senator John McCain has been tested by adversity in ways few of us can ever completely appreciate. McCain’s long history of service to his country as a soldier and a legislator leave no doubt as to his readiness for the office of the Presidency. His record is full of instances in which McCain bucked special interests and his own party leadership in order to do what he thought – rightly or wrongly – was best for the country. Senator Obama’s record is empty in this regard.

It is hard to imagine a circumstance a President McCain could face that would faze him compared to what he has already endured in the past. McCain’s much-discussed temper does not control his actions, and has not prevented his long and successful political career. Like his opponent, McCain possesses a healthy sense of humor which helps to keep him balanced, as well as a very real spirit of humility and the ability to criticize his own mistakes- a rarity among politicians.

Finally, I must note that I have personally met Senator McCain on a number of occasions. It is hard to explain the impression that he makes in person – a man who bears the scars of his past, but wears them lightly; whose diminutive, even crippled stature somehow only serves to enhance the quiet strength of his will. The McCain I have walked and talked with is the man who, time and time again sat alone by the bedside of the dying Democrat Mo Udall when all of his other political friends had forgotten him, to gain nothing for himself but simply to quietly be there for a man he viewed as a mentor and a friend, never seeking press coverage.

If the two criteria for selecting a President are one’s character and the record of one’s career of public service, there can be no question that Senator McCain is the better of two above-average choices. Sanity Injection recommends that voters still undecided ask themselves this question: “Of the two candidates, who do I feel is more likely to put the country’s needs ahead of his own personal and political ambitions?” Let that answer guide your vote.

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