Monday, August 25, 2008

The economic hubris of John McCain

Earlier this month, I wrote a post called, “I Miss John McCain,” lamenting McCain’s departure from his maverick, bipartisan, honest, straight talking self. I listed five reasons I’ve gone from being pro-Obama to anti-McCain: McCain’s racial accusations, smearing of Obama’s character, distortions of energy policy, hypocritical complaints about the press, and jealous whining about Obama’s crowds. The last two weeks have added much more substantive items to that list, showing us that McCain isn’t just a good soul adrift, but an out-of-touch elitist who doesn’t recognize his own privilege and would do nothing to help the little guy. Electing this man President would be antithetical to everything the Social Gospel proclaims. He may think of himself as an underdog, but he’s one that doesn’t care for the rest of his breed.

I speak, of course, about McCain’s suggestion to Pastor Rick Warren that folks who make $4 million a year aren’t rich, and his inability to tell a reporter just how many houses he owns. A friend e-mailed me the following earlier today:
wow… per Politico:

"The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns."

not sure how legit it is to criticize someone for being wealthy... I worked for [John Edwards] Mr. $400-haircuts... still, tho... for someone who wants to paint obama as elitest and out-of-touch...

I replied to my friend: It's legit if he refuses to admit that he's wealthy and doesn't realize how privileged he is. It's legit if he's trying to paint the ticket of one guy who grew up partially on food stamps and only just paid off his student loans and another guy who grew up broke and still has a negative net worth as the rich, arrogant one in the race. From a Biblical perspective, it's legit if his wealth was ill-gotten (although I don't have reason to believe it was) or if he doesn't use it to benefit others (I don't know if he does or not).

John McCain is no longer a candidate those who advocate social and economic justice can support. I’m not a fan of negative campaigning, but when it’s honest (unlike the Swift Boat attacks) and over a substantive issue (unlike McCain’s Paris Hilton hit job), then there’s nothing wrong with it, and I’m thrilled to see the following ads from Barack Obama and the Florida Democratic Party. EJ Dionne's most recent Washington Post column said many rural voters want more Bill Clinton-style empathy and understanding from Obama. These new ads should be run in every swing market and run often, and aired alongside another ad I would suggest that highlights Obama's recent student loans, his mother's food stamps, and his inner city work. Do that and BOOM, you've got your empathy, and you've got your White House.

There are many Republicans I respect. I hope Obama asks Chuck Hagel to be his Secretary of State, and keeps Robert Gates around as Secretary of Defense for a few months. McCain used to be one of those Republicans, but he has lost his way and doesn’t look to likely to find it again. America deserves better.

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