Trick-or-Treating with John McCain

Sunday, November 02, 2008 at 08:27 AM

It's very interesting to hear what political folks say in low pressure situations, where they aren't necessarily as watchful or their words as they might be under the glare of national tv, for example. Take John McCain. Please.

McCain did an interview with Matthew Rink of GateHouse News Service, on Halloween aboard McCain's "Straight Talk Express" campaign bus in Ohio. Sticking with the Halloween metaphor, it offered McCain the classic choice: trick (tell the folks some very questionable stuff or treat them to a little honesty and insight, which just might offer enough hope to fortify them for election day. Here's an excerpt , along with some bracketed questions and comments from me:
Q. What have you learned about Ohio that you haven’t before?

A. I’ve been here so many times, for so many years, that I guess one of things is that (Ohio) has been hurting worse than ever in all of the years that I have been coming here. Jobs, homes, it’s a tough situation that this state is facing. [The nightmare facing millions of Americans is still news, huh? That can't possibly say anything good about Mr. McCain.]


Q. How do you bring back the auto making jobs lost in the Ohio area?

A. We are sitting on the largest coal reserves in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I would invest a couple of billion dollars of clean coal technology per year until we get the cost down and we get the technology developed. We have to do it for the reasons of economy, jobs, greenhouse gas emissions, the environment and our dependence on foreign oil. [The lost auto jobs are largely blue collar. The jobs that clean coal development would produce are likely to be largely white collar research jobs for a hell of a long time (how many years before the cost is down and the technology developed?). I think you just told Ohioans not to expect any replacement of their decent blue collar jobs for a long, long, tme]

Q. What do you want people to think about when they walk in to vote?

A. Three words: reform, prosperity and peace, and in my case, three more: duty, honor and country. Who can they trust to bring them out and work with them to address these enormous economic challenges? [Okay, we disagree. I want them to think four words: "we need f***ing help."]


Q. Are you concerned about allegations of voter fraud affecting the outcome?

A. I am. And I am concerned about the allegations of ACORN. We were in Florida just the other day and Mickey Mouse was registered and I figured I wouldn’t do anything about that because I think the big rat is Republican. But it is something we really do worry about. [Guess you remain blissfully unconcerned with broken and/or rigged electronic voting machines, lack of paper trails, scummy robocalls telling voters the voting date for Democrats has changed, absurdly long lines waiting to vote in poor neighborhoods, and wholesale purging of voter lists without any real regard for whether the folks purged are actually eligible to vote? Is that a safe assumption?]

Q. Sen. Obama says his tax plan is basically to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, which he calls rolling back the Bush tax cuts. In 2001, you were opposed to those Bush tax cuts. Has something changed?

A. At the time, and now, I said look we not only have to have tax cuts, but you have to have spending cuts. When Ronald Reagan came to office they had spending restraints as tax cuts. We let spending get completely out of control. We presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society. Came to Washington to change Washington and Washington changed us. You need tax cuts, but you need spending restraint. Again, Sen. Obama claims that it’s only 5 percent. Americans have figured this out: 40 percent of Americans don’t pay any taxes. He’s going to give them money and take the money from somebody else. [And yet, Mr. McCain, you swung over to supporting the Bush tax cuts NOW, when we still do not have the spending cuts you use to explain your change of heart. Soto repeat the question, what changed?]

Q. You ran for president in 2000. Had you won the primary and won the presidency, what would a McCain America look like as opposed to the Bush America we have today?

A. We would not have a $10 trillion debt. We would not owe China half a trillion dollars. We would have won the war in Iraq years ago because of the failed strategy. We would have seriously, along with other nations, addressed the issue of climate change. We would have never tortured a prisoner that was held in our custody. We would’ve addressed the energy situation in a lot more comprehensive and rapid fashion. [Which I assume means that you don't think you could have stopped 9/11, despite what we now know about all the warning signs and the Bush administration's lack of interest in them. And, apparently, you would also have viewed 9/11 as a reason to invade Iraq.]

Straight Talk Express. Trick or treat.