Brother McCain’s Travelling Reform Show

In the last 24 hours I’ve seen the commercial where McCain claims to be a “maverick” and he and Palin are reformers three times. Despite all the articles and fact checkers McCain continues to claim that Palin was against the bridge to Nowhere. Karl Rove, as it turns out might have been given too much credit for the Conservative smear and lie machine. It has become deeply embedded in the entirety of the Republican Party, Business as usual. McCain must have had a civics transfusion from our Fourth Branch of government, Dick Cheney. He doesn’t seem to know or is lying about the role of governors in the earmark process,

McCain cut off a question about the “Bridge to Nowhere,” which Palin claims to have killed in Alaska even though Washington pulled back money for the project before she turned against it.

“The important thing is she’s vetoed a half a billion dollars in earmark projects — far, far in excess of her predecessor and she’s given money back to the taxpayers and she’s cut their taxes, so I’m happy with her record,” McCain said.

In addition to her current requests, state budget documents show Alaska requested 52 earmarks worth $256 million for 2008.

Palin has done no such thing. Congress passes a spending bill with earmarks. Bush signs it into law. Alaska gets the earmark. Governors have no “veto” power over earmarks. Rather then spending the money on a bridge to where-ever she spent the earmark on something else after it became a political hot potato. Palin is is only a reformer if we stretch the definition to the point of absurdity. In most ways she is a typical Republican pol. The public has to watch what they do, not what they say. Fueled by oil taxes, Alaska spending soared under Palin

Indeed, in her 20 months in office, Palin’s toughest financial decisions involved dickering with the Legislature on creative ways to spend and salt away the billions of dollars in oil revenues pouring into the state treasury.

At times, Palin has been more economic populist than small-government conservative, partly because of Alaska’s unique government financing system.

With no statewide income or sales tax, Alaska funds about 90 percent of the state budget from royalties and taxes on oil producers. Soaring oil prices and a higher windfall oil profits tax – an increase pushed through by Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee – have state coffers overflowing with petrodollars. The Alaska oil industry calculates that its annual payments to the state doubled in a single year to $10.2 billion.

In general terms increased spending isn’t necessarily bad. Politicians have been throwing money at constituents and their problems for years. What matters, with an eye on the balance sheet, is if you throw that money at things that really matter. Palin in her RNC speech promised the disabled and their families, “I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.” As governor of Alaska, with all the state revenue plus those earmarks that she used and McCain claims she didn’t, Palin vetoed $275,000 in Special Olympics Alaska funds (PDF). As most of America has learned over the last forty years, at least since the early days of Jerry Falwell’s moral majority heyday the self described pro family, pro values crowd has never given violence against women and children much of a priority. Like many of their social and political positions there is a disconnect between bluster about caring and actually doing some caring. Actually doing some caring sometimes requires spending some money. People like McCain uses money to buy lots of houses, while Palin likes to have her own personal tanning bed, Effort to Tackle Sex Violence Stalled by Palin’s Office, Sources Say

Alaska leads the nation in reported forcible rapes per capita, according to the FBI, with a rate two and a half times the national average a ranking it has held for many years. Children are no safer: Public safety experts believe that the prevalence of rape and sexual assault of minors in Alaska makes the state’s record one of the worst in the U.S.

{  ]…The status of the plan, which would have “fast-tracked” sex crime cases via a dedicated group that included specially-trained investigators, judges and prosecutors, is unknown. “I’d ask the governor,” said one official with knowledge of the plan. Numerous inquiries to Palin’s campaign spokeswoman went unreturned.

Pain did increase funding for some aspects of domestic violence by two percent, but funding for state troopers to respond in pairs as they’re supposed to has gone lacking as has a program to fast-track sex crime cases. Remember that when she was mayor she played around with local taxes to fund a sports arena. She isn’t the brightest person in the world, but she manages to find funding for projects that she thinks deserve priority. Special Olympics and sex crimes just don’t make it to the top of her to-do list.

If McCain wants to sell himself as a reformer he’s going to have to rely on the public’s notoriously short memory – a tactic that seems to be working. Maybe getting out from under the Keating 5 Scandal by the skin of his teeth gave McCain the impression that he could claim it never happened. Keating happened in 1987. Some simple math shows the maverick reformer has been AWOL as it were, on finance industry regulation for 21 years. After the Arizona S&L scandal McCain rescued his political career by claiming in so many words to have turned a corner, had an epiphany of sorts. That realization just never resulted in championing the cause of putting the breaks on the anything goes economic policies of his party and his friends like Phil Foreclosure Gramm.

McCain has also seemed to soften his earlier statements about being influenced by political donors and lobbyists. In 2000, McCain told the Globe: “People give money to buy access. We’re all tainted by this system. . . . They have access, and therefore they have influence. It corrupts the system. And I’m a victim of it, too.” But at a press conference on Feb. 21(2008), McCain said: “The question is . . . do they have excess or unwarranted influence? And certainly no one ever has, in my conduct of my public life and conduct of my legislative agenda.”

One of the cornerstones of the maverick image that Johnny has been selling the public the last twenty years is integrity. That last assertion is devoid of anything resembling integrity.


“[T]oo many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren’t minding the store,” Obama said. “For eight years, we’ve had policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans. The result is the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“I certainly don’t fault Senator John McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It’s the same philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years — one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It’s a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise; one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

“Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up — from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street. This country cannot afford another four years of this failed philosophy.”

Dear Senator Obama. I get it. You’re one of the more decent politicians at the forefront of American politics in years. Why, when making a perfectly good speech ( and this is not the first time) do you insist on throwing John McCain some crumbs. Johnny has been there with the rest of his cohorts  throwing his occasional cup of fuel on the economic meltdown. No, he isn’t singularly responsible, but don’t give him an out. Let him explain or rather lie his way out, like he does everything else.

All American Wonder Dog

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