The Ugly New McCain By Richard Cohen
Wednesday, September 17, 2008;

Following his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary, John McCain did something extraordinary: He confessed to lying about how he felt about the Confederate battle flag, which he actually abhorred. "I broke my promise to always tell the truth," McCain said. Now he has broken that promise so completely that the John McCain of old is unrecognizable. He has become the sort of politician he once despised.

The precise moment of McCain's abasement came, would you believe, not at some news conference or on one of the Sunday shows but on "The View," the daytime TV show created by Barbara Walters. Last week, one of the co-hosts, Joy Behar, took McCain to task for some of the ads his campaign has been running. One deliberately mischaracterized what Barack Obama had said about putting lipstick on a pig -- an Americanism that McCain himself has used. The other asserted that Obama supported teaching sex education to kindergarteners.

"We know that those two ads are untrue," Behar said. "They are lies."

Freeze. Close in on McCain. This was the moment. He has largely been avoiding the press. The Straight Talk Express is now just a brand, an ad slogan like "Home Cooking" or "We Will Not Be Undersold." Until then, it was possible for McCain to say that he had not really known about the ads, that the formulation "I approve this message" was just boilerplate. But he didn't.

"Actually, they are not lies," he said.

Actually, they are.

McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.

At a forum last week at Columbia University, McCain said, "But right now we have to restore trust and confidence in government." This was always the promise of John McCain, the single best reason to vote for him. America has been cheated on too many times -- the lies of Vietnam and Watergate and Iraq. So many lies. Who believes that in Afghanistan last month, only five civilians were killed by the American military in an airstrike, instead of the approximately 90 claimed by the Afghan government? Not me. I first gave up on the military during Vietnam and then again when it covered up the death of Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger and former NFL player who was killed in 2004 by friendly fire.

McCain was going to fix all that. He was going to look the American people in the eyes and say, not me. I will not lie to you. I am John McCain, son and grandson of admirals. I tell the truth.

But Joy Behar knew better. And so McCain lied about his lying and maybe thinks that if he wins the election, he can -- as he did in South Carolina -- renounce who he was and what he did and resume his old persona. It won't work. Karl Marx got one thing right -- what he said about history repeating itself. Once is tragedy, a second time is farce. John McCain is both.

The Ugly New McCain By Richard Cohen
Wednesday, September 17, 2008;


The Ballad of Sarah Palin

A Jaunty Little Tune! I will be humming it all day!


Maybelline, Revlon or Loreal... the choices are endless!

I have heard that the "Lower 48" does not understand Alaska and its culture at all. Well, with all due respect I think that some of the issues below do deserve at the very least a few raised eyebrows.

For those of the other Lower 48 frenzied, starry eyed "we got ourselves a really hottie" supporters that feel we don't know about Sarah Palin because we don't live there and we are just being "mean", take a gander at Anchorage Daily New's comments to the editor regarding our "heartbeat away" VP candidate.

Now get out of the liptick jungle and on to some thoughts:

  1. She offered a bounty of $150 for each right front leg of freshly killed wolves

  2. She is presently under investigation in Alaska for abuse of power

  3. She strongly supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  4. She promotes aerial hunting of wolves and bears even though Alaskans voted twice to ban the practice (VIDEO)

  5. She supports the Alaskan Independence Party which seeks independence from the United States (VIDEO)

  6. She is a champion for big oil and her campaign slogan has become "Drill, baby, drill!"

  7. She believes creationism should be taught in public schools

  8. She believes man-made global warming is a farce

  9. She is opposed to listing the polar bear as an endangered species because it might limit oil exploitation

  10. While mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the city librarian because the librarian refused to censor books

  11. She used $400,000 of state money to fund a propaganda campaign in support of aerial hunting

  12. As mayor of Wasilla, she made rape victims pay for their own forensic evidence kits

  13. She obtained her first passport just last year (2007)

  14. She touts her "experience" as Mayor of a city no larger than some of the minor Chicago suburbs as qualifying for VP even though Wasilla is known as the Meth Capital of Alaska . Seems her own backyard needs a bit of cleaning up!

And on to another interesting tidbit, with friends like these how can Sarah go wrong! Can we say Billy Carter anyone?

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