The Real McCain

Cross posted at The Forvm

Frank Rich has an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times that answers the question, "Why isn't Obama leading in the polls by double digits?". LINK

So why isn't Obama romping? The obvious answer -- and both the excessively genteel Obama campaign and a too-compliant press bear responsibility for it -- is that the public doesn't know who on earth John McCain is. The most revealing poll this month by far is the Pew Research Center survey finding that 48 percent of Americans feel they're "hearing too much" about Obama. Pew found that only 26 percent feel that way about McCain, and that nearly 4 in 10 Americans feel they hear too little about him. It's past time for that pressing educational need to be met.

What is widely known is the skin-deep, out-of-date McCain image. As this fairy tale has it, the hero who survived the Hanoi Hilton has stood up as rebelliously in Washington as he did to his Vietnamese captors. He strenuously opposed the execution of the Iraq war; he slammed the president's response to Katrina; he fought the "agents of intolerance" of the religious right; he crusaded against the G.O.P. House leader Tom DeLay, the criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and their coterie of influence-peddlers.

With the exception of McCain's imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of this profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct.

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Tony Snow, Rest in Peace

Media personality and former Bush White House Press Secretary Tony Snow died of cancer at the age of 53.  LINK

Rest in peace.  

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This week's lesson

I have tried to be cynical about the media's motives in regard to covering politics in general and the Presidential campaign in particular but I haven't been cynical enough.  As Max Bergmann  at The Huffington Posts notes: LINK

This is the week that should have effectively ended John McCain's efforts to become the next president of the United States. But you wouldn't know it if you watched any of the mainstream media outlets or followed political reporting in the major newspapers.

During this past week: McCain called the most important entitlement program in the U.S. a disgrace, his top economic adviser called the American people whiners, McCain released an economic plan that no one thought was serious, he flip flopped on Iraq, joked about the deaths of Iranian citizens, and denied making comments that he clearly made -- TWICE. All this and it is not even Friday! Yet watching and reading the mainstream press you would think McCain was having a pretty decent political week, I mean at least Jesse Jackson didn't say anything about him.

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Clinton's gas tax folly

Hillary Clinton has joined John McCain in calling for a "gas tax holiday" this summer.  Their plans are basically to suspend the 18.4  cent per gallon tax on gasoline this summer in the hopes that it will reduce the price of gas and therefore help the average consumer.  

When I first heard McCain make this proposal I shook my head and smiled.  McCain has previously admitted that he doesn't understand economics very well and I thought his ridiculous gas tax proposal was more evidence that his self-assessment was correct.  I gleefully read articleafter article about how ridiculous this plan was.

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Rep. James Clyburn speaks his mind

James Clyburn is the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives as well as being the most senior African-American in Congress.  He recently expressed his dissatisfaction with some statements that Bill & Hillary Clinton have made regarding the AA vote.  


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Yucaipa and Big Dog

Friday afternoon the Clinton campaign released Hillary & Bill's 2001-2006 Federal income tax returns. link As one might expect the Ex-President and the Senator made a lot of money writing books and making speeches in the years after Bill's Presidency. Aside from the large numbers there is one issue that jumps out after reviewing the returns, and that is Bill's relationship with Yucaipa Global Holdings (Yucaipa). This Cayman Islands based company paid Bill Clinton $2,500,000 in guaranteed payments in 2006. For tax purposes Yucaipa is considered a partnership. In a partnership, guaranteed payments are made for services rendered or for the use of capital. It appears Yucaipa's major investor is billionaire, Ron Burkle, so it is unlikely that Bill Clinton received guaranteed payments in return for his use of capital. As a result, it seems likely that Clinton performed services for Yucaipa and the guaranteed payments were compensation for these services.

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