Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John McCain: The record doesn't match the rhetoric

McCain appeared at the annual VFW convention yesterday to trash his opponent and stump for votes. There is a hitch in his git-along though. His rhetoric and his record are wildly disparate. In fact, where I come from, we call what McSame-as-bu$h did yesterday "lying your ass off."

Lets parse a bit of his speech yesterday, shall we?

Through decades of struggle, free nations prevailed over tyranny in large measure because of the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States armed forces. And it will fall to the next commander in chief to make good on the obligation our government accepts every time any man or woman enters the military, and again when they receive their DD 214. Those we depend on as troops should know, when they become veterans, that they can depend on us. Honoring this obligation will require leadership. And I pledge to you that as president I will lead -- from the front -- to reform our VA system and make sure that veterans receive the respect and care they have earned.

Hmmm....Has he forgotten that just three weeks ago, he was talking about rationing care?

From Army Times, 7/23/08

McCain Suggests Rationing Veterans Health Care. "Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain appeared Tuesday to suggest rationing of veterans' health care may be needed so combat veterans can receive the care they deserve."

From LG Robert Gard, writing at Huffington Post:
These wars are the first to be waged in large numbers by a new generation of brave women - but 15 percent of our women soldiers that served on the front lines who walk into a VA facility screen positive for military sexual trauma. Is Senator McCain suggesting that we can't afford to give them benefits?

Senator McCain's campaign did not return calls for comment about his statement, but these are questions he must answer. All veterans respect John McCain's service -- if he too respects ours, he should not be suggesting that we shortchange our soldiers with non-combat injuries who have served with such honor and dignity.

Maybe, just maybe, if he hadn't put tax cuts for rich people (like the trophy-wife who punched his ticket) before Veterans benefits, he would not have voted against the interests of veterans. But that is exactly what he has done. Over, and over, and over again. (2006 Senate Votes #7, 15, 41, 63, 67; 2005 Senate Vote #343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83)

He said this about the Walter Reed Scandal:
The Walter Reed scandal was a disgrace unworthy of this nation -- and I intend to make sure that nothing like it is ever repeated.

Does anyone else remember what Committee John McCain sits on in the Senate that might have done something about it before it went to hell? The scandal broke in the spring of 2007 - but it didn't deteriorate over night. That sort of erosion happens when neglect and time converge. It all went to hell under republican leadership, and McCain had a prominent seat at the table when the republicans were in the majority. Yet he was surprised and taken aback when the story came to light? What are the taxpayers paying this lump of seething rage to do, anyway? Why should anyone believe he would be more effective as a president than he has been as a senator?

I'm not here to tell you that there is a cost that is too high to be paid in the care of our nation's veterans. I will make sure that Congress funds the VA health care budget in a sufficient, timely, and predictable manner.

Yes, I do believe it has clean evaded him that he was talking about rationing of VA services less than a month ago.

When we make it clear to Congress that no earmark bill will be signed into law, that will save many billions of dollars that can be applied to essential priorities, and above all to the care of our veterans.

He is spouting pure, unadulterated bullshit, and everyone knows it. The government would grind to a halt. Earmarks are a fraction of a percent of the budget, and in reality, they are a return to the district of monies paid to the treasury by the district. When your DOT closes a vital bridge in your area because it has structural problems that render it unsafe, do you want your congressman to have the option of earmarking funds to fix it now, or do you want him to have to fight 532 other representatives and senators who don't give a fuck about the infrastructure in your district or state? And for the record - out of 535 Representatives and Senators, do you know how many have actually run afoul of the law over earmarks? FIVE. Trashing earmarks is not about fiscal responsibility. It is about soundbites. Don't be scammed.

My administration will create a Veterans' Care Access Card to be used by veterans with illness or injury incurred during their military service, and by those with lower incomes. This card will provide those without timely access to VA facilities the option of using high-quality health-care providers near their homes.

Where to start? This is healthcare-by-yellow-pages. So here is a challenge, should you wish to accept it...Get out your copy and turn to the "physicians" section and call a few numbers at random and tell them you are looking for a doctor who is taking new Medicare patients, and try to make an appointment. The vast majority will tell you that they can't see you. So cobbling in a new federal system is going to solve these problems?

There is also the fraud potential. Raise your hand if your local media market has covered any stories of Medicare fraud in the past year or so? Medicare fraud costs taxpayers billions every year. We need a parallel system so thieving bastards can expand their operations? No, we need top-to-bottom healthcare reform and single payer and the VA needs to do what states have done for years to serve patients in underserved areas: Send talented students to med school in exchange for an agreement to practice in an underserved area for a specific, contracted period of time.

I suppose from my opponent's vantage point, veterans concerns are just one more issue to be spun or worked to advantage. This would explain why he has also taken liberties with my position on the GI Bill.

What's to spin? McCain was against it. He called it "too generous" and tried to impose his own bill that was a sop to career military personnel and a big "fuck you" to one- and two-hitchers. The VFW stood four-square behind passage of S 22, and lambasted McCain for failing to support it. When the VFW posted a glowing "Thank You!" on their website to the legislators who worked tirelessly for 18 months to get the bill passed, over McCain's strenuous objections that it did too much for the lowlifes who aren't career (most people don't make military service a career) McCain was decidedly not one of those being thanked.

After it passed, the craven old goat tried to take credit for it. He tried again yesterday in front of the VFW, and Veterans for Obama stormed his fucking hill.

It is every veteran's hope that should their children be called upon to answer a call to arms, the battle will be necessary and the field well chosen. But that is not their responsibility. It belongs to the government that called them.

Iraq anyone? McCain was the first to beat the wardrums, belying a serious lack of judgment. And he will continue sending American soldiers - along with billions of dollars - to Iraq, breaking both our military and our treasury.

It was probably wise of him to not stand in front of a veterans organization and lay claim to a "perfect record" from veterans' groups, when that is a demonstrable lie of Tommy Flanagan proportions. A quick visit to Project Vote Smart to check his scores with veterans organizations tells a different tale indeed. Of 12 entries, he fails on 10, scoring between 0 and 50%. Since 2004, he has failed veterans every single time, only achieving a 50% rating one time, in spite of having six chances.

McCain has a record all right. But running from it would probably be smarter than running on it.