Jewish World Review Feb. 8, 2000/ 2 Adar I, 5760
Marianne M. Jennings
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THE THINKING SOUL is troubled when it shares the national media's view. On January 1, 2000, many folks were sitting atop pallets of bottled water and 20-pound peanut butter tins because of the media's Y2k debacle theory.
Generator returns lines at Home Depot were legendary.
Last August, folks as far west as Albuquerque battened down the hatches, so great were the portents of hurricane death and destruction. In the end, North Carolina got rain. The media can whip the masses, with the critical thinking skills of basset hounds, into a frenzy.
Currently, the media believe John McCain is the proper next president and have launched a national love affair with someone who is, most importantly, not George W.
Those Bush men can blow a lead. George Sr. had 90% approval ratings in 1991, then lost to Bill Clinton in 1992. George W. has the money and did have the polls, now he's struggling in Lindsey Graham territory in South Carolina.
McCain is enticing because he is so far removed from our draft-dodging, coiffed-hair, slick adulterer. McCain, the war hero, seems surprise-proof whereas "W" labors with that frat boy past that makes the country nervous after seven wearying years of Clinton antics. McCain is the comfort of McDonald's -- not the best food in the world, but you know what you're getting. McCain the McCandidate.
But do we know what we're getting? There have been few real analyses of McCain. McCain's temper was debated when the national media picked up on an Arizona Republiceditorial that blasted, "He was mean to us once." That kind of in-depth perspective has put Republicans and the New York Times' Anthony Lewis in the same candidate boat.
Temperament is the least of John McCain's problems. Beneath the surface, McCandidate is an ideological mess with no clear vision of the role of government, little grasp of economics and a populace bent geared toward camera time, not results. Part of the charm of a maverick is a set of core values. But McCain is an anomaly — he has been through much yet still lacks principle.
McCain flirts with principles: he teases, but never commits. Asked whether his daughter would have an abortion, he went from it being his daughter's choice to a family choice. "Choice" in both answers appeased his fawning media. This hem-hawing followed a flip-flop on Roe v. Wade. Yet, his pro-life votes defy his posturing. This is straight talk? The principled answer is, "In our home, we respect life. That doesn't change because we're affected."
His campaign reform proposals are constitutionally deficient and rob issue advocates of their voice while allowing unions their funds for Kennedys and others that go bump in the night. Mr. McCain, no stranger to big money, favors and perks, seizes this as his key to government reform. That Mr. McCain was one of the Keating Five brings a Cheshire grin each time he talks influence peddling. Charles Keating was a cruel and unusual business man long before his Lincoln Savings went belly up. Mr. Keating surrounded himself with patsies as officers, including sons- in-law, and senators like McCain who was inextricably intertwined with Keating through wily donations and free flights to exotic locations. Mr. McCain does enjoy flights, he took them just last year from Paxson Communications Corp., a company that helped him raise $20,000 and received an FCC purchase approval following McCain's two-letter intervention.
Mr. McCain knows not where he stands nor what he stands for. He sallies forth with demands for the 12,000 soldiers living on food stamps. Yet, Mr. McCain, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sat by idly while Clinton gutted defense funding. Last year, Mr. McCain introduced an amendment for $3.1 billion more in military spending cuts. A professed anti-regulation candidate, he supports regulating executive salaries by eliminating favorable tax treatment for stock options. The next minute he's blustering about no Internet tax. He chides cable operators for high prices, the result of monopolies, but then refuses to deregulate, allowing competition. He was critical of deregulation of the telecommunications industry because he felt it "too beholden" to special interests. Vetoing competition protects consumers? There wasspecial interest involvement in the bill: AT&T, Bell South, US West --- all McCain donors. Mr. McCain's campaign proposals are ill-conceived and reflect a candidate who flies by the seat of his pants. His surplus figures are wrong and he doesn't understand the role medical savings accounts play in eliminating the need for a bureaucratic patient's bill of rights.
He lacks presidential perspective and dwells on minutiae. He mourned JKF Jr. in The Weekly Standard yet spoke nary a word of Jean MacArthur's passing. He touted airline passenger rights and backed a tobacco tax bill with bizarre pride in its $4,000 per hour limit on lawyers fees. The McCandidate. When the media want a hurricane, they create it. When they want a war hero president, they take a war hero and make him presidential material.
No one from McCain's Senate staff or campaign returned calls. Such is
the arrogance of the McCandidate -- take it on faith, no questions. After
nearly 8 years of triangulation and obfuscation from our White House
hanger-on, a menu of principles would be
02/01/00: The demise of marriage