John McCain is not a nice man. There. I've said it. Just ask his colleagues in the Senate about his terrible temper, his vindictiveness, his passion for vengeance against those he believes have wronged him.
The John McCain we saw last night was covered in makeup. But all the makeup in the world cannot cover up the kind of person that is John McCain.
And can we please get over this POW stuff? That was 40 years ago! But he can't let go of it because it is major reason why McCain himself and his Republican followers believe he should be elected president. He was a POW. He was a POW. He was a POW. Over and over again.
Then, last night, from the mouth of the same man who, when he's asked about his POW experience, gets all coy and smirky and says he really doesn't like to talk about it, spent a good portion of his speech recalling in boring detail how he was such an unassuming hero. Yes, he was tortured. Yes, it was hard. Yes, he wanted to give up. But, with the help of his friends, he stood up to his tormentors and became a true American hero.
In fact, John McCain has nothing else to say and nothing else to sell. His speech was devoid of substance, but filled with snarky personal attacks (many of which were flat-out lies) against his Democratic opponent.
David Corn describes the speech as "a Tour of His Vietnamese Prison Cell," and rates it "a no-better-than-par speech that was mostly a series of tradition GOP buzz phrases: lower taxes, cut spending, open markets."
McCain, of course, couldn't run on Bush's record, even though he has been supportive of nearly everything Bush did in the past eight years, so he had to talk about "change." With a look of serious determination on his face, he warned the Washington "insiders" that he and Palin were coming and look out, 'cause they were gonna change things.
How do you not laugh at such nonsense? No one is a bigger Washington "insider" than John McCain! He's been inside Washington for nigh on to 30 years! He's the "go-to" guy when lobbyists want a favor. He's got 100 plus lobbyists working on his staff. He's a close personal friend of many of most notorious lobbyists in the country. He was involved in the Keating scandal, which brought him a reprimand, but brought the American people a bill in the billions!
The speech also replayed the old GOP record of fear. "The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!" John McCain, the POW, is the man to deal with the bad guys! He knows how to fight wars and how to win wars.
Tell me, please, which war did he ever win? The only war in which he was involved was the war that tore our country apart, a war based upon ignorance and fear--the failed "domino theory," a war begun and continued in order to prop up a thoroughly corrupt and vicious South Vietnamese regime, a war in which millions of Vietnamese died, and in which we gave up 58,000 of our own men and women, a war that the French had fought and lost, a war in which McCain flew bombers over North Vietnam killing women and children. It really isn't surprising that he was tortured after being shot down on one of those killing runs.
But that's in the past. Well, except for John McCain. He's still reliving it every chance he gets and uses it to gain sympathy and support.
John McCain today says he hates war. That's an old mantra I've heard frequently from old vets who, in reality, because they found their souls in war, like war. It was war that gave them a reason to live. John McCain voted in favor of the Iraq war. He's been pounding the drums of war for eight years. The man who claims to hate war is the one who says, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." He doesn't hate war. If it wasn't for war, John McCain would be just one more salesman on a bar stool telling war stories about flying sorties with the U.S. Navy back in the good old days. He sure as hell wouldn't have come back a wounded "hero," able to casually dump his crippled wife and kids and marry a blonde bimbo with scads of beer money!
McCain's speech was one more in a long line of Republican speeches, filled with lies, branding the Democrats as the "enemy," of which the country should be very afraid. McCain's speech, like all the convention speeches, reeked of hypocrisy, but played to the partisans who are frightened to death they may lose their power to wreck the country!
You will notice that Bush was nowhere in sight, nor was Cheney, nor did their names rate more than a passing mention. With good reason. The Bush/Cheney gang have dragged our nation so far down in the muck that any president will have an extremely difficult time making things right. What upstanding Republican would want to be identified with them? Even a Republican like McCain who, after forgiving Bush for 2000, and has walked lock-step with the tryant ever since, doesn't want Bush's blessing!
Even so, McCain offered nothing new. Well, except for serving notice that he's sold his soul to the Christian right. Thus he offered vouchers whereby parents can get government money to send their kids to private (religious) school. Thus he offered up a Christian extremist named Sarah Palin to be his running mate; a woman who thinks she was prayed into the governor's office; who believes that nothing really matters in Alaska unless the people of Alaska are "right with god," and carries the same extremist Christian baggage as the Dobsons, Hagees, Robertsons, and Parsleys of the world.
McCain lied about Obama's tax plan which will reduce taxes for the middle class far more than will his own plan. He mentioned his own tax plan, but lied about it. He failed to tell us that his financial adviser and very likely the Secretary of the Treasury in a McCain administration, Phil Gramm, is the one responsible for the mortgage crisis in American and who is still (as of a few days ago) calling the people of America wrapped in the despair of a terrible economy, "whiners."
When McCain says he puts his country first, one can only stare in amazement. As Scarecrow wrote at firedoglake, "For the last year, we have watched McCain sell out his principles on issue after issue, including, of all things, his opposition to torture. He's changed positions on virtually every policy for which he once claimed to stand above others. [Eric Alterman at Media Matters says up to now McCain has flip-flopped on 74 issues!] He's pandered to and now totally caved to the religious right, extremists he once abhored as a threat to the nation.
"His campaign, now stripped of all integrity, and in complete denial about his responsibility for supporting the last eight years of failed policies, has become little more than pumped up self-praise, relentless narcissism over a sense of honor he no longer displays, while smearing Obama's character and lying about his energy and tax proposals. His strategy has been reduced to a Nixonian cultural war coupled with Rovean partisanship designed to divide the nation he claims to love, all as he cynically promises to end the 'rancor' in Washington.
"He uses his years as a POW -- 30 years ago -- as an excuse for every failing today. As bmaz noted, 'I challenge you to show me any American veteran, ever in history, that has so shamelessly milked and exploited his military heroism.'"
No, you didn't hear much about the issues from John McCain. As his campaign manager said, issues just aren't important in this election; it will be decided on personalities.
Glenn Greenwald at salon.com encapsulated the poverty of the Republican Party and the McCain strategy when he wrote:
"The Republicans are well aware that they can't possibly win the election if it is even partially decided on issues. They need and intend to win despite the fact that Americans hate their positions on the issues, and to do that, they want to ensure that a majority of Americans love and respect the strong, honorable, principled, culturally familiar all-American mavericks John McCain and Sarah Palin (even if they don't agree with them on everything) while strongly disliking that wishy-washy, snooty, foreign, exotic, self-absorbed Eastern elitist Barack Obama (even if he says the right things on issues)."
In other words, the Republican Party thinks we're stupid and won't notice their lack of substance and the vapidity of their proposals.
Perhaps nothing exhibits better what the Republicans really think of the American people than the outfits worn by Laura Bush and Cindy McCain a couple of nights ago. Vanity Fair tells the tale.
Laura Bush wore:
Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600-$1,500
Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325
Cindy McCain wore:
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000-$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100
Now, these women are both multi-millionaires and have the right to wear just about anything their little hearts desire.
The point, however, is they pretend to be "normal" folks with the "normal" concerns of the "middle class." The truth is they wouldn't know the middle class if the middle class were to bite them in the ass.
And there's something "elitist" about wearing such expensive garb when millions of Americans are wondering how the hell they're gonna pay the mortgage and feed their kids!
From what John McCain said last night, it is clear: John McCain is small change!