RICK GAGLIARDO: Compare McCain/Palin Lies With Facts
As I've written before, I was an early, rabid supporter of McCain in 1999. When Rove slimed him in South Carolina, I would have nothing to do with Bush. I couldn't support anyone who lied or used innuendo and smears against a good man to advance his own ambitions.
Rove/Bush repeated those tactics against Kerry in '04. Whatever your view of his politics, Kerry has served his country more honorably than Bush and Cheney ever have.
Then, when McCain employed the Rove neocons to run his campaign last year, I felt nothing but betrayal and disgust. Whatever honor John McCain earned 40 years ago, he's lost it.
Look at the lies, smears, and outright hypocrisy in his campaign, and compare it with the facts.
Lie No. 1: Obama "pals around with" a terrorist, Bill Ayers.
Yet Ronald Reagan's Republican friends, the Annenbergs, apparently "palled around with" Ayers and respected him so much they appointed him to the Chicago board on which Obama also sat.
Overlooked is McCain's history of supporting a terrorist. Shelly Shannon, trained by the Army of God to bomb abortion clinics, was convicted in 1993 of shooting a health clinic doctor in Oregon. Not only did McCain attend a rally there supporting Shannon, but he also voted against a 1993-94 Senate bill making "bombings, arson, and shooting at, or threats of violence against doctors or nurses who perform abortions" a federal crime.
Going even further, McCain sponsored a bill that would have permitted those found guilty of violence against clinics or their employees to declare bankruptcy, thereby avoiding paying financial restitution to the families of the murdered.
Now, consider Sarah Palin's keynote address to the Alaska Independence Party, the secessionist group, wherein she stated that she and Todd, "support your views." (Check YouTube.) And she has the audacity to stand behind a sign reading, "America First"! Honestly, would Lincoln have chosen Jefferson Davis as his running mate in 1860?
If McCain (and that gasbag Sean Hannity) want "full disclosure" of Obama's "association with Ayers," he and Palin have lots of questions to answer as well. (The "guilt by association" smear goes both ways. And when the snowshoe fits, wear it.)
Lie No. 2: Obama is socialist.
Obama's comment to "Joe the Plumber" about "redistributing" wealth is a reasonable point taken out of context and intentionally misquoted. That's called "lying."
Paraphrasing Obama: If Bush's tax cuts expire, the increased revenue would fund a middle-class tax cut, freeing money to employ Joe, and wealth would "spread" (his exact word) around the economy. It's pure Econ 101; nothing controversial there. Furthermore, if Obama, who spoke extemporaneously, had chosen the synonym "circulate," not even an idiot would've challenged his answer except, no doubt, to insult Obama as "professorial."
Ironically, since McCain opposed Bush's tax cuts in 2001 as bad for the middle class, if Obama is a socialist, so is McCain. Unfortunately for McCain, you can see/hear Obama's entire, unedited conversation with Joe and hear his exact words on YouTube.
The Internet makes McCain's distortions, inconsistencies, and lies easier to spot. Like generals fighting the last war, McCain's ignorance of modern technology sabotages his attacks.
Meanwhile, Palin, governor of the state closest to pure socialism, brags about increasing payments from (private) oil corporations and re-distributing their money annually (approximately $3,500 to every Alaskan). Yet when Obama seeks an excess profits tax to help non-Alaskan Americans (us!) he's called "socialist."
Lie No. 3: Sarah Palin: reformer, maverick, average mom.
Researchers exposed lies about earmarks, bridge funding, and selling Alaska's jet. (Notice how she never references those stories any more.)
Revelations of state-sponsored perks (billing Alaskans $17,000 in per diem charges for spending 300 nights in her own home!) reveal Palin as just another politician enriching herself while in office. The Wal-Mart Mom isn't returning the $150,000 Neiman Marcus wardrobe or the $707-per-night reimbursement at New York's Essex House for her three daughters, is she?
Meanwhile, her misunderstanding of vice-presidential duties is a cross between frightening and laughable.
For McCain to imagine he could pawn off this shallow, divisive, mean-spirited cartoon caricature as presidential material is an insult to intelligent Americans. His cynical ploy backfired. Credit discerning Americans: Palin's negative numbers are increasing as McCain's approval rating plummets.
The most heartening aspect of an Obama victory might be that it could diminish the emphasis placed on negative campaigning. Maybe future campaigns might concentrate on issues instead of smears. Maybe then, honorable men might campaign on the high road -- and remain honorable.
Rick Gagliardo lives in Pinehurst.
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