McCore: The media's favorite fast food candidates
By Diane Alden
It was predictable. Even before perennial pickle puss Eleanor Clift of Newsweek and Fox News analyst said it. (The woman wears a distinct expression that makes one think some cruel fairy godmother shoved a lemon in her mouth at birth and she has been trying to spit it out ever since - with no success.)
After the Arizona debates, Fox's News commentator, Sean Hannity, made a comment that he thought Senator John McCain sounded like Al Gore during the debate.
Clift rejoined, "Well, Sean, like 70 percent of the American people he is a centrist." To media mavens like Clift, being a centrist means:
The list is only partial but it is a good start. While candidates other than McCain and Gore share some of these positions, these two candidates personify what Eleanor Clift defines as the "center."
Just like Forest Gump's box of chocolates, or fast food hamburgers and fries, the outside of these guys' promises to be delectable but all too often the inside smacks of recycled Styrofoam. Plus you never really know what you are going to get.
McCain is a darling of the media and why not. A photogenic war hero and a straight talking maverick, he comes across as wise and witty with a dash of contrarian spice thrown in for good measure. And best of all he occupies a position in the left wing of the Republican Party.
But like another national hero, former Ohio Senator John Glenn, he had the misfortune to be associated with the "Keating Five" and the taint of campaign money of questionable origin and dubious legality. McCain was one of five congressmen investigated on ethics charges for helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions. (Keating's convictions were overturned in higher courts on technicalities.)
McCain received $112,000 in campaign contributions from Keating and made at least 9 trips to Keating's Bahama property. McCain's wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors, $350,000, in a Keating shopping center. The Phoenix Times called it a "sweetheart deal."
McCain serves a dual purpose for the leftwing media. First of all, they know he is beatable in the general elections against Al Gore or Bill Bradley. They realize if he gets the Republican nomination he will be carrying more baggage than Alexander the Great crossing the Alps with a herd of heavily loaded elephants.
Second, for conservative Republicans, his public record and statements don't square with the ostensible Republican message, which will make keeping the conservative wing of the Republicans on election day next November a challenge. Oftentimes McCain's public pronouncements sound awfully Gorish. But the media continues to portray him as one who knows how to play well with others - i.e. the center left.
Only recently he accepted lots of "soft" money from sources that might compromise his position as Chairman of the Commerce Committee, which oversees mergers.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, US West, Bell South, and two Baby Bells are among McCain's top five contributors. The biggest contributors to his campaign were the employees of Viacom, which is waiting for government permission to merge with CBS.
While taking contributions from these "special interests," McCain now suggests that authority for such mergers be turned over to the Justice Department. (Just what the country needs, more power placed in an already mind boggling corrupt executive branch department.)
Even in areas of endeavor in which he should show some pride, he comes off as a 60s guilt ridden boomer. In a 1997 interview with Mike Wallace, he insinuated that he considered himself a guilty of war crimes, or being an "air pirate," for having killed innocent women and children while flying missions over Vietnam. Others who took part in the Vietnam effort may see that experience differently. Most who fought in that unpopular war actually thought they were helping to overturn a brutish system that enslaved people physically, economically and spiritually.
In the personal realm McCain dumped his wife of many years and married a newer younger richer version. His wife has been involved in personal scandals of her own which will give the press a two-fer in the general election should McCain get the nomination.
Furthermore, Arizona Governor Jane Hull came out in favor of George Bush and is actively campaigning for him rather than native son, McCain. In statewide polls GWB is running very well in Arizona polls against McCain. In late October McCain had 39 percent, and Bush was close behind with 31 percent. State insiders say that among Republicans in Arizona, McCain is not universally liked. Before the February 22 primary he will have to spend money in his home state in order to play catch up. Do major fence mending with various factions in the Republican Party.
McCain promoted the war on tobacco that gave the nanny-state yet another reason to concoct regulations that are supposed to save "children" and dumb adults from themselves. Thereby, he helped divert attention from the abysmal and unworkable US drug policy. On the other hand, he realized the war on tobacco appealed to the inclinations of social engineers, the media and certain soccer moms, while also amassing taxes for federal and state governments. In addition, the success of this "war" created a climate for further litigation against other "enemies" such as fast foods, guns, and SUVs. It also made the legal establishment happy. McCain knows a fat laden McIssue when he sees one.
Among many conservatives his stance on the civil war in Kosovo and the subsequent bombing by NATO seem incongruous given his conclusions on his Vietnam experience. But perhaps like others he sees killing Serbs and destroying the fragile economy and infrastructure of a sovereign country as somehow different and more just than the "civil" war he fought in Vietnam.
If John McCain became the Republican nominee, the leftwing media would tear him apart. In spite of Bill Bradley, Al Gore will be the democratic nominee. The media will portray Gore (or Bradley) as the preferred caretaker of the Clinton legacy and best hope for continuing a dazzling economy. The media knows full well that if they can't find much baggage carried by a Republican candidate they must invent it. Might as well make the job easier and set McCain up in order to tear him down.
Al Gore's baggage is horrendous. He will have to explain dithering absurdities such as taking credit for inventing the internet, the earned income tax credit, and claiming he was the prototype for the male in "Love Story." Bigger issues such as the campaign finance scandals, using his White House office for campaign contribution extortion, being part of a rudderless foreign policy based on nothing more than how trade shakes down with foreign countries will find him reverting to his sing-song kindergarten teacher hectoring. Telling Americans how wrong they are for caring about such things.
He will have to think of a reason why the US stood by while China ferreted out US nuclear and rocket secrets. Plus, how will he explain why the administration used the IRS to persecute political enemies? How will he justify the environmental statements in his book Earth in the Balance which are insipid, foolish, and full of New Age flimflam; so flaky as to bring legitimate environmental concerns into question.
Will he flounder on questions such as the failures of current educational policies, military readiness, and degenerating cultural norms?
What spin will he put on hiring ditzy consultants, like Naomi Wolfe, who want to turn him into candidate as stud and celebrity, while smugly assuming that most women are swayed by style over substance.
Last but not least how can he possibly explain his passionate defense of Bill Clinton and his administration as numerous scandals led to Clinton's impeachment.
However, unlike McCain, he does have a squeaky-clean marriage and personal life, and probably couldn't get his heart rate up fast enough to lose his temper.
The media treasures these two centrists. McCain because he has star quality and sparkle and status as a hero. Gore because he is one of them.
But of all the Republicans, McCain is closest to the Clinton mindset. This fact therefore, makes him somewhat acceptable to the left. Unlike George Bush, Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes, Orrin Hatch and Gary Bauer, his take on national issues is well known, making it easier for the lazy media to pontificate and pin him down.
On the off chance that McCain might win the general election they assume he would be responsive to media bullying and/or flattery. Just like Gore, he is a soccer mom kind of guy. Cute, vapid, mushy, shallow, a pre-fab construction whose vision is limited to p.c. concerns, mindless Geraldo or Larry King interviews, MTV trends, and an elitist vision of a world which can still be controlled by the New York and Washington centers of power.
While McCain's service to his country is to be applauded and honored it is not enough to replace wisdom, sound judgement and vision vital for a leader in the new millennium.
At the same time, somewhere a long time ago, Al Gore lost whatever ability he had to formulate thoughtful policies based on common sense and an appreciation for the constitution, and became hostage to a leftist agenda. The only thing that prevented its full implementation is a "meanspirited" Republican congress slowing it down.
Each man has become a dish without flavor or real substance cooked up and served by the media to the masses.
What is missing from these men is the understanding that for the last thirty-five years the United States has been fed McTruth.
Every need -- real or imagined - has called for a new government bureaucracy, insecurities must be stroked and pandered to, regulations and intrusions into our lives have allowed Big Brother unprecedented control. Meanwhile, government runs us from crisis to crisis and the media serves as its apologist and mouthpiece.
Protecting us from ourselves in mundane matters, centrists do not care if Americans ever pay attention to the profound crisis in the national soul nor to the loss of national direction or constitutional guarantees.
However, in the long run, McTruth as served by the leftwing media and the centrist McCore's will give us national heartburn and perhaps be life threatening.
Diane Alden is a research analyst and writer and news analyst, The American Partisan columnist, Newsmax contributor and commentator for Georgia Radio, Inc. Reach her at Wulfric8@aol.com. for speaking engagements or (have computer will work for food).
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