Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump and No Trump: McCain walks a razor thin line

One that may cut deeply.

Trump dissed McCain's military record, in essence calling him a loser but McCain's election calculus has him supporting Trump. Trump wants to deport Hispanics but their vote is important to McCain in this election (and to his challenger, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick). Trump's shoot-from-the-hip remarks play well with angry white voters but are repugnant to many others and McCain needs support of both groups. McCain endorses Trump as his party's standard bearer but has a hard time endorsing Trump's positions on many issues. The NY Times reports on the conflict. We'll get back to that but stick with me for a historical digression.

As a politician and elected official, McCain's history is long and varied. For example, in his 2000 run for president, McCain traveled the country in the "straight talk express." But his run foundered in South Carolina where the Bushies (groups supporting George W. Bush) attacked McCain's conservative credentials and his positions on taxes and abortion (reported by the Washington Post at the time).

In 2008, McCain ran again, this time with a running mate: Sarah Palin whose knowledge of just about anything was exposed as slim to none by interviews with Charlie Gibson of ABC (as, for example, reported by Slate). Nevertheless, McCain had a shining moment of character, reported by Politico, when he shut down a person's claim that Obama was an Arab and exhorted his audience to be respectful.

McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh — he's an Arab. He's not — " before McCain retook the microphone and replied: "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."

"We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said. "But I will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him." At which point he was booed again.

As an aside, remember that I've been insisting that the real story in the 2016 election is not candidate Trump but Trump's supporters and their motivations. I didn't realize that the story already was unfolding in 2008.

Now, 8 more years later, McCain has given up on his quest for the presidency but is clinging to his seat in the US Senate. And he has gone "all in" gambling that seat on the fate of the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump.

I do not have press credentials and so do not have a voice in the mainstream media. But I can tell you what journalists should be asking John McCain. In short, they should be listing Trump's wild, outrageous, lunatic claims and pushing McCain to admit to owning, or disowning, them. It's not a hard task. The quotes are all out there and many have been compiled by the Clinton campaign and now the quotes are listed in the Daily Kos. They also appear in the accompanying post in this blog (The World According to Trump).

Another good read on McCain appears today in Blog for Arizona by AZBlueMeanie. The Meanie casts McCain as a national security risk. One of the reasons is McCain's ill- (or un-) informed belief that our institutions are sufficiently strong to control a strong-man demagogue like Donald Trump. The Meanie lists evidence to the contrary.

Let’s see, Watergate (Nixon), Iran-Contra (Reagan), an illegal war in Iraq and illegal torture (Bush) . . . not since Watergate has Congress stood up and done its constitutional duty. Oh sure, a Republican Congress engaged in a partisan impeachment of Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job, but it was not to check any constitutional abuse of power.

The Supreme Court is a check on the presidency only in cases and controversies before the court (e.g., United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)). So if Donald Trump goes into one of his fits of anger and decides to nuke some country out of spite, the Supreme Court is no check at all.

See Meanie's post for two more exceptions: the media and the military.

If John McCain is going to support Donald Trump out of GOP tribalism — because he has an (R) behind his name on the ballot — then he is entirely lacking in any principles that he claims to possess. McCain is once again jeopardizing the safety of this nation by being willing to put this dangerous con man in the presidency.

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