Monthly Archives: August 2008

Saddleback is no comeback for McCain

The Presidential Forum at Saddleback Church was a great opportunity to observe the differences between Barack Obama and John McCain. There were several clear differences that we all know about: Roe v Wade, the war in Iraq, the Supreme Court judges to name a few.

But what was even more interesting was what it revealed about their character, confidence and intelligence. On these points, they were very different.

When McCain answered questions, he was a bit uncomfortable and fearful of each coming question stating “I hope they get easier,” and later, “They don’t get any easier!” When he was asked basic questions about issues in his platform, his answers were quick, short and delivered with a punch designed to demonstrate his toughness. For McCain, this forum was an opportunity to promote his image. But when McCain’s questions were more philosophical, less policy oriented, he would lose his footing. He floundered, until the moment when he figured out a way to apply old war stories, or recycled stump speeches “we need to drill here and we need to drill now!” On the question of naming the three people he most admired, his face lit up and said General Petraeus, giving himself an opening to continue his usual rhetoric of how we won the war in Iraq, etc.

Overall, McCain did a good job reasserting his image and re-stating his policies, but he did not seem natural. What I learned about McCain his that he lacks confidence and seems afraid that he might reveal something about his soul. He would use jokes to buy time and cover his inadequacies. He fell back on tried and true recycled answers that were sophomoric and showed no depth and revealed nothing new.

Obama, on the other hand, responded to all questions thoughtfully, giving respect to Rev. Warren by answering his questions in the true spirit for which they were asked. Obama saw this as an opportunity for Americans to get to know him and he seised it. By being more natural, relaxed and confident and by reaching into his soul for his answers, the audience got a broader understanding of Barack Obama. He thought seriously about the questions and answered from his soul. He was not only unafraid of what he might reveal about his deepest thoughts, he made every attempt to do just that.

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McCain’s words to Georgia are too presidential and unwise

Barack Obama traveled overseas last month, doing a meet-and-greet, speaking in general terms about his commitment of working together with our allies, showing his support for our troops and other items of general interest. Back home, the press replayed in an infinite loop, Obama’s address of 200,000 Germans in Munich, “reporting” that Obama was acting too presidential when, in fact, he wasn’t even an official nominee of the party yet. Let it be quickly said that Obama’s visit was far too innocuous for anyone to believe that he was actually stepping on Bush’s toes.

Meanwhile, during this second week of August, McCain did step on President Bush’s toes and it was a complete embarrassment. During the current crises between Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, McCain came out in strong support of the Georgians, saying, in part, “Today, we are all Georgians.” McCain also used this opportunity to warn Russian leaders Tuesday that “their assault in Georgia risks ‘the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world.’” These are pretty bold statements, speaking without restraint, triggering a strong response from the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili (incorrectly pronounced by McCain as Shashkavili). The president of Georgia is now calling on McCain to put action behind his words. McCain? He is calling on McCain! McCain has no power to do anything, so why did he say such a thing?

Because McCain is too impulsive. He acts now, speaks now, thinks later. This is not a quality that I could trust to make wise decisions about war and peace. This is not a person who demonstrates the very careful and prudent judgement required to be our next Comander-in-Chief.

I am speaking directly to the press when I ask, why aren’t you replaying McCain’s statements in an infinite loop on the nightly news, saying that McCain was acting too presidential, in fact so much so, that it could have made negotiations with Russia more difficult.

But there is an even more sinister side to McCain’s presidential response to the Georgia-Russia crises. Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s chief foreign policy advisor, is also a part of a firm that has a contract to lobby the U.S. Government on behalf of the country of Georgia. This means that Scheunemann must advice McCain on what is best for the United States, but he must also advice McCain to do what is best for his client, a foreign country! Could Mr. Scheunemann’s advice to McCain always truly objective?

So it is clear that McCain is taking advice from someone who is paid to promote the interests of other nations. Scheunemann is also a lobbyist for Taiwan, Macedonia, Romania, and Latvia.

It is clear that a man with wise and thoughtful judgements like Barack Obama working only for the best interests of the United States of America is a far better choice than an unwise man whose chief advisor has a vested interest in the success of foreign nations above our own.

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Obama, the stronger foreign policy candidate.

There is a serious problem with people choosing a president based solely on impressions. More serious yet are the misperceptions that the mainstream media do not attempt to correct.  Everytime a newscaster says the words “McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama,” the perception is deepened, as if this were true. For example, you may hear

“50% of the American people believe that McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama.”
“Obama needs to change the perception that McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises.”
“McCain is a decorated war hero and it is going to be difficult for Obama to convince the American people that he, Obama, is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises.
“McCain said today that he is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises. Obama is on vacation”

The press bombards us with these statements on a frequent and regular basis, and yet, if you listen carefully, there is nothing that offers new information that tells us that McCain is better prepared to be our next Commander-in-chief.

Dana Bash, the CNN reporter following the McCain campaign actually said that McCain’s new proposal, made in a July 15 speech, to send more troops to Afghanistan was “proof” that McCain knows how to win wars. Proof? Objective reporting? True? Not a chance.

Later that day, on his campaign bus, McCain clarified his speech by saying that we would need to take troops out of Iraq to put them into Afghanistan. Why that is odd, since this was Obama’s proposal.   After all, the McCain proposal which Bash says offers proof that McCain knows how to win wars was actually Obama’s proposal! So, Ms. Bash, you need to revise your statement to say that it was actually Obama that offered proof that he knows how to win wars.

The results of all of these statements is the continued perception that McCain is actually better to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama. The press should do their job and  look more closely at the things McCain says. They should report the full and true stories regarding the candidates and their foreign policy credentials, for both candidates. It would become quite apparent that, in fact, the perception had been wrong all along and would clearly demonstrate that, in fact, McCain has shown some profound weaknesses in dealing with foreign policy. The American people would then see that Barack Obama has a far better toolbox for dealing with these most critical national security and foreign relations and policy.

Let’s take a look at some news items that have been buried, but are critical to understanding which candidate is the strongest in foreign policy.

Do you remember McCain’s advisor Charlie Black? He was the one saying that it would be  helpful to McCain if there was another terrorist attack in the U.S. before the election.  This remark was outrageous and the judgement to keep Black around for even a moment after this statement is one very serious error in judgment. It doesn’t just send a bad message, it sends a dangerous message. There is no room for these kinds of mistakes when it comes to foreign policy.

McCain’s pre-war predictions for Iraq were made clear as he stood by President Bush and his declaration that the “mission accomplished” banner meant that major combat was over.

Recall a more recent gaffe where he disclosed his complete lack of understanding for the relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran. Iran does not support Al Qaeda. The only Al Qaeda operatives that are in Iran are prisoners!  He then continued to confuse the sunni and shiite, which is a most revealing error.  Major conflict in Iraq is the violence between the sunnis (the sect of Saddam Hussein) and the shiite, which is the group friendly to Iran. If you had any profound understanding of a conflict you are purporting to be ready to command, you couldn’t possibly mess that up!

Despite those McCain campaign ads attempting to strut his foreign policy qualifications, telling us that he is ready to be commander-in-chief, you see live footage of McCain showing us that he is not ready. Let’s try to explain why McCain makes such errors.
He was tired.
He forgot.
He was confused.
He is just not as sharp as he used to be.

If John McCain had to answer the phone at 3 a.m., I imagine he would be tired, forgetful, confused or all of the above. Could he make the wrong call? “Take out those Shiite outposts” or “Take out those Sunni outposts.” Order given but which one is right? He is alone at 3 am.  Joe (Sen. Lieberman) is not there to help him. Whoa!

Obama met with many foreign leaders last month, and the press just pounded out words like “He thinks he’s a celebraty.”  Of course, Obama has never said “gee, I’m a celebrity” but the press uses this as a distraction so that the American public will not notice the intellegent manor with which Obama conducted himself. There were no gaffes reported, and during the public press conferences with the various leaders, it can be clearly seen that Obama has gained the trust of these leaders. But all the press wants to talk about is the big crowd in Berlin, as if that was a bad thing. How does that crowd indicate that Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief. It actually tells me that he has a strong influence on our allied nations, which is the strongest argument yet for saying that Obama is the stronger foreign policy candidate.

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A Sense of Humor. What can you learn from John McCain’s?

IClick edit above to add content to this empty capsule.

Click edit above to add content to this empty capsule.

Would you ever tell a joke that would insult a person you love and respect? By insult, I mean finding humor in anything that would hurt them.

I have a little “check” I do when I hear a joke that I find offensive. Recounting the same joke in my head, I replace the demographic or the situation at the “receiving end” of the joke, with my own. For example, a joke about women, I replace with a joke about me, or a woman I love and respect. If the joke offends me after hearing it in a way that made it personal, than I seriously question the judgement, ethics and beliefs of that joke teller.

Let’s have a look at the those jokes that John McCain finds funny. I find them highly offensive and revealing, but you should see for yourself.

Here are some of John McCains most offensive jokes:

  • Back in 1986, during his initial run for the Senate, John McCain allegedly told a crude joke about rape involving a woman’s affection for an ape.

    “Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, ‘Where is that marvelous ape?’”

    Try telling the joke this way:

    Did you hear the one about when you were attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When you finally regained consciousness and tried to speak, your doctor leaned over to hear you sigh contently and feebly ask, ‘Where is that marvelous ape?’

    Use your wife, your mother, or the name of any woman you respect. Appalling!

    I am seething from the thought that this man could be president, making the most important decisions of the entire world, many of them affecting women. In fact, in my earlier post, you can see the kind of sexist decisions he has made in the past by his voting record.

  • Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, of ABC News asked McCain why he did not choose Nevada’s Republican Governor Jim Gibbons for for his state campaign chair. This is the traditional choice when the governor is of the same party. McCain explained that he had a longstanding relationship with the state’s lieutenant governor. Governor Gibbons has low approval ratings which prompted the reporter to ask if this was the reason he passed over the governor. McCain defended his choice by saying laughingly, “And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago.”

    This could only have been in reference to that fact that Gibbons was going through a high-profile divorce, with multiple charges of infidelity. Did he also know that a cocktail waitress had accused Gibbons of grabbing and threatening her with sexual assault in a parking garage?

    Replace “my wife” with your name. Not so funny, is it? Only a sexist could say something this awful.

  • McCains wife commented that his hair was getting a little thin. McCain’s temper kicked in, and refering to Chelsea Clinton, age 18, he said “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollup, you c*nt!”

    First of all, this man called his wife a “cunt!” As if this is not bad enough, he makes a predatory attack on a defenseless girl by a public figure to further his political goal. Reprehensible and discusting.

  • McCain was speaking at a GOP fundraiser in Washington, D.C. in 1998. He came up with this joke: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.” Again, attacking a defensless young girl, Janet Reno and the Clinton family all in a two line joke. Put your or your daughters name in place of Chelsea, do the same for Janet Reno.

    Not so funny.

  • When asked in late January of 2008 if McCain had pressured Florida Governor Charlie Crist for his endorsement, McCain added, “It was just waterboarding.”

    This kind of remark is bad enough, but he also shows himself as a hypocrite by previously sharply criticizing Rudy Guiliani similar remarks.

    A short month later, the New Yorker reported McCain using this joke again. He was referencing the staff that left his campaign until he started winning. He said he submitted them to “a short period of waterboarding to find out what they did in their absence.”

  • It is worth noting here that when the Bush administration attempted to pass a law to allow waterboarding, McCain, having been a victim of torture himself, was against this law. Later, when he was running for president, he changed and voted for the the law. Flip flop, yes, but does this man have any moral or ethical convictions?
  • Jon Stewart’s hit series had invited McCain as his guest. When he came out, McCain joked that he’d brought Stewart an improvised explosive device as a gift from Iraq.

    This remark drew sharp criticism from the press and other for being “inappropriate and insensitive.” These devices, known as IEDs is the cause of over 1/3 of all American casualties since the 2003 invasion.

    The world is so delicate today, leaders all over the world are on edge. We cannot afford a president who might offend a world leader with his consistently offensive sense of humor.

    If he had made a joke saying he had brought Jon Stewart a gift of one of our own weapons, he may have gotten away with it. His gift was the weapon that killed our soldiers.

  • While fox news was interviewing John McCain, he took a shot at one of our allies “You know,” he said, “the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn’t have the face for it.”

    France is heavily involved in the Afghan conflict and making these kinds of jokes about an extremely important ally created a stir from both sides of the Atlantic. This off color remark drew sharp criticism and raised doubt about the Senator’s skills as a diplomat.

  • We may have all heard his rendition of the Beach Boys tune “Barbara Ann” as “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.”

    Another strike out as a skilled diplomat. He can start a war with his insensitive attempt at humor. It’s scary.

  • This August, McCain was addressing a biker rally at the annual Sturgis Rally at Buffalo Chip campground in South Dakota.

    Referring to a traditional beauty pageant, a debauchery of topless women on parade awaiting judgement of their beauty, McCain said to a cheering public

    “I encouraged Cindy to compete,” he continued, “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”

    These kinds of remarks are so consistant you cannot even say, “So, one off color remark, c’mon, so what?

    At this point, I truely believe we are getting an unusual look straight into the heart and soul of the man and I don’t like what I see.


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