Monday, December 19, 2005

Why In the World Would Anyone Support Senator McCain?

Senator McCain occupies an unusual position in American politics. Because of his military service, his unquestioned heroism and the agonizing, extended torture he endured for 5 years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, he receives deserved acclaim from all sectors. Yet as a supposed Republican, he comes off as a liberal gadfly who will do almost anything to gain press coverage and face time on TV. There are six specific reasons why I oppose him, and certainly could not support him or almost anything he favors: 1. his membership in the Keating Five, 2. his potentially disastrous position on so-called torture, 3. his sponsorship of the ludicrous McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act, 4. his opposition to extending the tax cuts, 5. his opposition to drilling for oil and some measure of energy independence in ANWR, and, 6. his opposition to extending the Patriot Act.

I will discuss or list newspaper accounts of each of these subjects below:


Is John McCain a Crook?
Chris Suellentrop
Posted Friday, Feb. 18, 2000

The controversial George W. Bush-sponsored poll in South Carolina mentioned John McCain's role in the so-called Keating Five scandal, and McCain says his involvement in the scandal "will probably be on my tombstone." What exactly did McCain do?

In early 1987, at the beginning of his first Senate term, McCain attended two meetings with federal banking regulators to discuss an investigation into Lincoln Savings and Loan, an Irvine, Calif., thrift owned by Arizona developer Charles Keating. Federal auditors were investigating Keating's banking practices, and Keating, fearful that the government would seize his S&L, sought intervention from a number of U.S. senators.

At Keating's behest, four senators--McCain and Democrats Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Alan Cranston of California, and John Glenn of Ohio--met with Ed Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, on April 2. Those four senators and Sen. Don Riegle, D-Mich., attended a second meeting at Keating's behest on April 9 with bank regulators in San Francisco.

Regulators did not seize Lincoln Savings and Loan until two years later. The Lincoln bailout cost taxpayers $2.6 billion, making it the biggest of the S&L scandals. In addition, 17,000 Lincoln investors lost $190 million.


Since 9/11, there have been many instances where rough questioning and tactics of embarrassment in questioning terrorists have saved American lives, and only the most naïve among us does not recognize the “ticking bomb” scenario. Why has Senator McCain gone on and on about this subject, and now has pushed through a bill (called by some the Al-Qaeda Bill of Rights) that puts our investigators and our troops at risk? One of the best discussions of this subject was by a renowned liberal, Alan Dershowitz, who said, “The treaties against all forms of torture must begin to recognize differences in degree among varying forms of rough interrogation, ranging from trickery and humiliation, on the one hand, to lethal torture on the other. They must also recognize that any country faced with a ticking-time-bomb terrorist would resort to some forms of interrogation that are today prohibited by the treaty.

International law must recognize that democracies have been forced by the tactics of terrorists to make difficult decisions regarding life and death. The old black-and-white distinctions must be replaced by new categories, rules and approaches that strike the proper balance between preserving human rights and preventing human wrongs. For the law to work, it must be realistic and it must adapt to changing needs.”
John McCain: U.S. Still Torturing Terrorists
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005 11:12 a.m. EST

Sen. John McCain claimed Wednesday that the U.S. is still torturing terrorist detainees, even as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits with European leaders to assure them that the practice is banned under U.S. law.

"We've got to stop this torture," McCain told radio host Don Imus.

Sher Zieve
Senator John McCain Now Officially a Liberal Democrat
By Sher Zieve
Dec 16, 2005

In the United States, we already have laws prohibiting torture. But, that wasn’t enough for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). McCain apparently “feels” (one of those liberal things) that torture is ‘anything that makes terrorists uncomfortable’. Holy Smokes, Senator! Terrorists are supposed to be uncomfortable.

Not only does McCain not want those who blow up people, buildings and behead those they haven’t already killed to be treated with a gentler and more soothing attitude, he has also managed to push this anti-American enemy bill through—with terrorists now being extended rights under the US Constitution!


The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill was supposed to reduce or limit the amount of money coming into election campaigns. In its first test it failed completely, as record amounts of money were raised and spent in the last election. Instead, it has placed limits on what certain groups can say, and when they can say it, but not on other groups.

Rocky Mountain News
Time to rescue political speech
Another court test of McCain-Feingold law
December 5, 2005

The plain meaning of the First Amendment as regards speech is that you don't need the government's permission to say what you want, and it shouldn't matter who you are or when you want to say it. Once the government sets itself up in the permission-granting business, as it has with "campaign finance reform" under the notorious McCain-Feingold law, you've lost an important part of that constitutional freedom…..

The primary purpose of the constitution's free-speech clause was to protect political speech, and yet the law now explicitly bans the political speech of certain groups. It only goes to show that the law was misguided from the start.


John McCain is also opposing continuation of the tax cuts which saved the American economy after the deep recession of 2000 and the devastating blows of 9/11 to the travel, tourism and airline businesses – and to the businesses which depend on them. As has always happened, these tax cuts revived the economy, led to continuing record levels of employment and low inflation, and resulted in huge increases in federal tax receipts – cutting the deficit., Sept 23, 2005

WILL BACK-TO-BACK HURRICANES be enough to blow away the goose that laid the golden egg? The answer to that question might hold the key to the stock market for the rest of the year.

The golden goose I'm talking about is the May 2003 cut in the tax rate on dividends and capital gains. As I explained at the time, it's a mathematical certainty that stock prices will move higher when investors know they will pay less in taxes on the dividends and capital gains they receive. Say a $10 stock pays a $1 dividend, and you have to pay a 50% tax on that income. The 50 cents you keep means you have an after-tax yield of 5%. If the tax is cut in half, to 25%, you would keep 75 cents, and your after-tax yield jumps to 7.5%. Do you think the stock will stay at $10? No way. It will immediately rise to $15, because that's the price that makes the after-tax yield 5% again.

But that's just the first step. When stock prices rise, the cost of capital falls. After all, the higher the price a company can sell its stock, the less it effectively pays to get the capital it needs to invest in new plants and equipment. So a lower tax rate on dividends and capital gains means more investment, which eventually translates into more productivity, innovation, employment and economic growth. And that suggests that the stock in my example should rise even further than $15 over time.

Want proof? That's easy. The S&P 500 today is more than 25% higher than it was when the tax cut on dividends and capital gains was enacted in May 2003.
And the same logic applies to income tax rates, which were also cut in 2003. When people get to keep more of the money they earn, they work more and they work harder. The result is the same: more productivity, innovation, employment and economic growth.

Want proof? Gross domestic product, after inflation, has risen 8.4% in the eight quarters since the tax cuts were enacted.

Now let me guess what some of you are thinking. What good does it do for stock prices to rise and economic growth to accelerate if government goes broke for lack of tax revenues? After all, if you cut taxes doesn't that mean the government will collect less?

If that's what's worrying you, then consider a few numbers. According to Treasury Department statistics, the federal government collected tax revenues of $1.79 trillion in the 12 months leading up to the enactment of the 2003 tax cuts. In the next 12 months, despite lower tax rates, the government took in more: $1.82 trillion. Then in the next 12 months — still with lower tax rates — it took in even more, at $2.06 trillion.

So everything's been going just fine. Revenues are pouring in, the economy has been doing great, and until several weeks ago stocks were making new four-year highs. You have to admit, those are some pretty golden eggs. Now why would anyone want to kill the goose that lays them? Why would anyone want to take back those tax cuts? Well, that's where Katrina and Rita enter the picture.

If it hadn't been for these hurricanes, Congress was all set to extend the cuts on dividends and capital-gains taxes by two years. As originally enacted, they automatically expired in 2008, and this year they were to be extended to 2010. But with the huge costs of federal assistance to the disaster-struck Gulf Coast, there are plenty of people in Congress who suddenly think extending the tax cuts isn't such a good idea.

Of course the Democrats think that. But they did even before the hurricanes — partly because they are sincerely opposed to tax cuts that they see benefiting only "the rich," and in part simply because the tax cuts were advocated by their political nemesis, George W. Bush. Now that the hurricanes have damaged Bush's reputation, they're in even less of a mood to compromise with him.


McCain is also one of six Republican senators stopping drilling in ANWR (Chafee (R-RI) Coleman (R-MN) Collins (R-ME) DeWine (R-OH) McCain (R-AZ) Smith (R-OR) Snowe (R-ME)).

ANWR is a national security issue. In a time of war, the actual production from ANWR is not as important as taking the steps necessary to get the oil to a position where it would be available to us if we were to need it because of supply disruption or, worse, a catastrophic attack on our facilities for importing oil.

Stand-by production potential is as necessary to the economic health and defense capability of the United States at least as important to the national security as any other element in hour national defense. It is just not obviously so. Congressmen are supposed to have the intellect to get beyond the obvious.


Senator McCain is also leading the opposition to our primary defense against domestic acts of terrorism, extending the Patriot Act. It is no accident that thus far there have been no repeats of the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001. The Patriot Act gave our government a fighting chance to detect and deter Islamic terrorists from operating in this country, and it removed the wall between intelligence agencies that the Clinton Administration had foolishly erected. It must be renewed.

Peggy Noonan sums up:

“Noonan is correct to dismiss concerns about McCain's age, but she doesn't deal with his almost compulsive need to distance himself from the base --voting this week against exploration in ANWR, leading the Gang of 14 instead of leading the fight to confirm Judge Alito, refusing to bring up the obvious disaster that was his masterpiece of campaign finance reform. McCain's candidacy will not survive a string of GOP-only primaries, and anyone who pretends shock at that result in '08 will have refused to collect or study the obvious data.”

I believe that Senator McCain’s meddling and bumbling in these matters will eventually be overcome, but, in the meantime, a large price is going to be paid by innocent Americans just to satisfy his enormous ego.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Joe Alves said...

I'm against John McCain for the same reasons that you have pointed out, plus another reason that you didn't mention. John McCain is tied into the anti-gun Brady bunch and his Campaign Finance Bill was designed to put a muzzle on Second Amendment advocates like the NRA. Outside of that, he's nothing but a Liberal Democrat in Republican clothes. Aso, a self serving political hack like Kerry.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous steve said...

I respectfully disagree with you on this. I don't always agree with McCain but he seems one of the select few who want to do the right thing despite ramifications that can hurt politically. Seems to me to be one of the more trustful politicians. I disagree strongly that these disagreements are driven by ego.
Keating 5 - Am not knowledgeable on this but my guess is he tried to listen with an open mind, he tried to limit the damages. He failed. He admits it was a colossal mistake.
torture - I disagree with McCain on this but I at least understand the opposition. 1)Torture does not always work, it often generates questionable "intelligence" 2) The US has a very poor image in the eyes of about 99% of the Islamic world. Issues relative to torture have added to that problem.
Campaign reform - good idea, good intentions, it failed.
Tax cuts - Like torture, another double edged sword. Tax cuts help the economy in the present, they stimulate growth and investment. However, they have sever adverse longterm effects on the deficit, budget and borrowing costs. Second, although I understand that it is the superrich that do the vast majority of investment and drive growth, it remains a fact that tax cuts are over weighted towards the super rich and offer little benefit to others.
ANWR - This is a joke. There is little oil and would do nothing to solve our problem. The damage outweighs the gain and makes as much sense as burning down Washington to solve the corruption.
Patriot act - Even it's supporters agree we are walking a dangerous line. I am a Bush supporter and believe (most of) his intentions honorable, but this was proven this last week with Bush's admission that rules or no rules he's going to do whatever he wants to ummmmm help us. I agree with the intent but there needs to be balance. It cannot be a free for all.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Joe Alves said...

You know Steve,
If John McCain was more like J.D. Hayworth R. U.S.House Rep.of Arizona's 5th District, I'd have more respect for him. Even if we have a 30 year supply of oil in ANWR, we should be in there getting it instead of depending of these Arabs, who are always trying to screw us. As for the Patriot Act, Abe Lincoln suspended a lot of the liberties of the people to protect them during the Civil War, but these Democrats are ranting about the President not connecting the dots prior to 9/11, and they want to take away his ability to do it, at the same time. They can't have it both ways. I've been writing letters to these pinheads for years and I don't pull any punches with them either. Last year, I found out from a good source that some idiot politician put me on a watch list. If you remember, Teddy Kennedy was put on a watch list too, and he found out when he went to board a plane. All I can say is, if some towell head ever comes over here and blows a shopping mall up, and they wasted their time looking at me, a patriot, when they should have been watching him, well shame on them.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous steve said...

The oil is ANWR is only about 1 1/2 years worth, nowhere near 30 years. Not worth it. (not yet)
And actually we get more oil from both Canada and Mexico than any Arab country.
I do agree that I'd rather be safe than dead.


Post a Comment

<< Home