Saturday, August 16, 2008

John McCain has another disastrous week

All disasters are different. Some are sudden catastrophes: a bridge collapse, an earthquake, or the capsizing of a ferryboat. One moment everything is fine, the next, disaster. Other disasters seem to occur in slow motion: the Titanic scaping along the iceberg, the slow leak that fatally undermines a dam, or the gradual destruction of an environment through pollution.

John McCain suffered three slow motion disasters this past week, events that didn't look that bad as they happened, but in retrospect will hurt or even wreck his campaign for the presidency.

1. The South Ossetian-Georgia War

This is the "quietest" of the disasters to befall John McCain this week. Why do I say "quiet"? Because most mainstream political commentators didn't fully realize the implications of this short disastrous war. Some rather foolishly chalked this up as a victory for John McCain. Nothing could be further from the truth. The war Georgia started and so spectacularly lost points up a number of fatal flaws in McCain's foreign policy. First, McCain has been a champion of Georgia and its president, Mikheil Saakashvili in particular, even nominating Saakashvili for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Saakashvili was McCain's boy and his policy was almost certainly signed off on by McCain. Saakashvili has since been burning up the telephone lines to McCain looking for help McCain can't give.

These calls for help point to the second problem McCain has in Georgia: his foreign-policy-by-lobbyist. Over the last seven years we have seen the Republican Party under George W. Bush sell out to lobbyists in nearly every way possible. McCain has taken it a step further, conducting his foreign policy according to whichever country is the highest bidder to McCain's lobbyist/adviser Randy Scheunemann. Scheunemann has been taking money from Georgia while advising John McCain on foreign policy in general and Georgia in particular. This is a huge conflict of interests.

Finally, McCain's actions in regard to Georgia have crossed the "presumptious" barrier and left it far behind. McCain and his advisers criticized Barack Obama for giving a speech in Berlin during his recent visit, calling such a speech "presumptious" because Obama was not yet president. How much more presumptious is it then for McCain to be running his own foreign policy in Georgia? President Bush fumbled for days, then finally dispatched Condi Rice to Georgia. McCain grew impatient with Bush and dispatched his own diplomatic team to Georgia! Since when do Senators conduct the foreign policy of the United States independent of the executive branch?

McCain's complicity in Georgia's preparation for war, his corrupt conflicts of interests with Randy Scheunemann, and his presumptious conduct of an independent foreign policy will all come back to haunt him once the mainstream media catches up.

2. John Edwards infidelity scandal / John McCain infidelity scandal

This disaster has been waiting in John McCain's background, waiting for a triggering event. The revelation of John Edwards' infidelity was precisely the trigger needed. Seemingly John Edwards' character failure should have nothing to do with John McCain. But the right wing press and radio talkshows in particular could not resist pounding the hated Edwards for his infidelity and complete lack of class. The right wingers had a field day criticizing the scumbag politiciain who cheated on his wife while she suffered a terrible health crisis. There's only one problem: the Republican candidate for president is a scumbag politician who cheated on his wife while she suffered a terrible health crisis. Then he took it a step further and ditched his disabled wife for a younger, prettier, wealthier woman that he had carried on an affair with for several months while still married to his disabled wife.

True, all of this had happened some time ago. Many had never heard of it, many more had forgotten it, and his fans in the mainstream press had given him a pass for it. But once upon a time John McCain was put to the supreme test as a husband, and he emerged a shitheel. All of this was in the past of course, and seemed forgotten if not forgiven. Until Republican talk radio and Fox News decided to devote an entire week to covering this story. Then the right wing swung the door wide open, and more and more commentators have begun to talk about John McCain's infidelity. This story will come back to haunt John McCain long after we have forgotten John Edwards.

3. The Colorado-New Mexico water blunder

The formula for sharing water in seven western states (Arizona, Nevada, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico) was decided in 1922. Now John McCain wants to throw out that agreement and renegotiate it. McCain wants Arizona, Nevada, and California to get more water and Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico to get less. This is going to cost McCain bigtime. Two of the states John McCain wants to steal water from are also key swing states: Colorado and New Mexico. Coloradans in particular are reacting angrily to McCain's proposal to take their water. Here's the Denver Post:
Memo to: John McCain.

From: Five million thirst-crazed Coloradans.

Subject: Forget about winning our nine electoral votes next November. We don't vote for water rustlers in this state; we tar and feather them!

Yes, fellow citizens of the state whose official motto is "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting," John McCain has thunk the unthinkable — and proposed renegotiating the 1922 Colorado River Compact.[1]
And then to drive the point home:
As a senator, McCain has long represented a state, Arizona, that would love to steal Colorado's water. But now, he wants our votes. Apparently, nobody bothered to brief the candidate who Paris Hilton called "that wrinkly, white-haired guy" that stealing Colorado's water to benefit Arizona, California and Nevada isn't as popular an idea in Colorado as it is in Arizona, California and Nevada.[2]
Oh, that's gonna leave a mark, especially the Paris Hilton bit. Want to know who's really ticked off? The Republican candidate for Colorado's U.S. Senate seat, Bob Schaffer:
"Over my cold, dead, political carcass," Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer said.

"The compact is the only protection Colorado has from several more politically powerful downstream states," Schaffer added. "Opening it for renegotiation would be the equivalent of a lamb discussing with a pack of wolves what should be on the dinner menu."[3]
That's what the Republican said; you can imagine what the Democrats are saying. Before McCain opened his mouth, Colorado was looking like a swing state. Now, after John McCain revealed his plan to steal Colorado's water a redistribute it, it's very doubtful he can carry the state. New Mexico previously had a Democratic tilt to it, and McCain's water grab plan will probably solidify Obama hold over this state. McCain can't afford to give up swing states, but with his water grab plan he threw away two of them in one fell swoop.

So to sum up, not only did John McCain not "win the week," as some paid pundits have said, this week actually saw McCain's campaign spring a number of leaks that will sink it by November.

Thanks and a hat tip to mcjoan at Daily Kos for the Colorado water story.


spotter said...

A great analysis, outlining the tack Democrats should take from here on out. We also need to keep emphasizing the "nation of whiners" comments, since Phil Gramm has once again emerged from his dank, dark hole.

TreeHuggerforMcCain said...

If this week was such a disaster, then why is McCain catching up to Obama in the polls?