David Broder commends Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for winning a fifth term as Senator. This sentence of Broder's was especially disturbing:
Sometimes, there are so many awful people in the world, ya just can' write just one piece on them.
Nor was I bothered by the doctrinal compromises the senator made in order to convince Arizona voters that he was, in fact, a conservative.This brings to mind the declaration of Thomas Paine in 1776:
The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.Broder had said earlier in the piece:
Now that John McCain has taken care of his political business in Arizona, it is time for him to return to Washington and the responsibilities he bears...No, it isn't. You see, to my mind, a "leader" who only leads when the grubby business of getting re-elected has been safely taken care of isn't a leader at all, but a mercenary and an opportunist. A true leader doesn't wait until "political business" is all taken care of, a true leader acts anyway and shrugs his shoulders at the possible consequences.
Broder indicts the traditional press corps far more than he realizes here:
McCain is one of the few names that does not draw instant contempt from the voters.Gee, that wouldn't have anything to do with the mad man-love that the traditional media press corps showed for McCain during the 2008 election, would it? Could it be that McCain doesn't really deserve adulation, but because the media insisted on painting him in such a flattering colors, that he gets it anyway?
Broder finishes up with:
In Arizona, he successfully steered the GOP away from an experiment in extremism.Erm, no he didn't. McCain unreservedly backed the "Show me your papers" law that promised to secure Arizona's Southern border by authorizing their police to stop all brown people on sight. Fortunately, and no thanks whatsoever to McCain, the law has not been implemented yet. My experience is that with people who actually have principles, true principle is an all-the-time thing. True principle is not something that someone occasionally or every now and then upholds, it's something that someone upholds all the time and under all circumstances. I'm not saying that the "summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" don't have their uses or that they're always worthless, just that they don't deserve to be lionized as heroes. McCain is a survivor, nothing more. He deserves nothing in the way of respect and Broder deserves far less for handing out unwarranted praise.
David Paterson, Governor of New York, has attempted to find a possible compromise on the Burlington Coat factory that some New York City Muslms want to turn into a community center and that will include a prayer room. 60% of the American public opposes building it, at least where it will be located. Folks are calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque" even though it's two blocks and a corner away from Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center that was attacked on 11 September 2001 and where nearly 2,700 lives were lost. Problem: Paterson has suggested moving the site of the community center. Not only would this constitute surrendering to bigotry, but the people there chose that site for a reason, i.e., there's a community in the vicinity that will use it. If we look at the comments from Sister Toldjah, various right-wing commenters on Free Republic and a piece from Front Page Magazine, it's pretty clear there's not much appetite on the right wing for compromise. So why is Paterson willing to surrender the principle at stake? Why is he willing to give in to opponents, especially when it's far from clear how far is far enough and how close is too close? I've seen plenty of vague, general statements on the community center being "too close," but nothing saying "At least three blocks" or anything specific of that nature. Also, as a 9/11 Widow puts it, "politicians are using the issue for political gain." She states several good reasons to fight the bigotry and build the center. Why does Paterson want to start haggling over distance when the issue is very clearly a lot larger than that?
Alan Simpson, the Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Known by progressives as the "Cat Food Commission" because it's been pretty obvious to progressives that all of the membes would like to see Social Security recipiets living on nothing better than cat food) made a real howler of a statement:
Yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!A very serious problem was that the statement was reported on August 25th. By the 26th "The White House accepted Alan Simpson’s apology regarding the sexist, demeaning comments..." which, along with Simpson's status on the Cat Food Commission, indicates that portraying Social Security recipients as baby calves greedily sucking away at a government program to the point where they endanger the "milk cows" health is perfectly acceptable. As Jane Hamsher of FDL points out, Simpson is hardly some "rogue operator" who just makes crazy statements which then indicate that he, personally, is crazy. No, Simpson's crazy statements are extremely important because in one instance "he had just come from the closed door meeting and was clearly saying what everyone in the room was thinking but wouldn’t say publicly."
The extremely good question here is that the Cat Food Commission is trying to solve the not-very-urgent problem of the deficit, but it's far from clear that attacking Social Security has anything to do with the deficit, so why are they making so much noise about Social Security? James Galbraith's piece (PDF) on Social Security shows that Social Security and Medicare “solvency” is not part of the Commission’s mandate to begin with and that as a transfer program, Social Security is irrelevant to deficit economics in any event.
Yeah, Simpson needs to be fired, but far more importantly, the entire Cat Food Commission needs to be dissolved, immediately!