Democrats & Liberals Archives

John & Barack: Bypass the Media Filter!

Hats off to John McCain for his Town Hall debates challenge.

The cynics in my own party may snipe that McCain is only avoiding formats more unflattering to him. Or that he’s seeking free exposure in the face of a huge financial disadvantage. So what? Barack and John understand together that the point is to bypass the media filter.

That's why, almost in unison their campaigns turned down the Bloomberg proposal to host the first such debate as an ABC exclusive affair. While the campaigns have yet to agree on specifics for the conversational debates, both insist that they be open to all media, but not run by any media.

These town hall meetings could be the best development in American Presidential political campaigning in decades! It's high time we relegate the media to their rightful place as neutral observer, rather than as framers of the debate. I think Americans may be surprised to discover that they actually have a good choice this year, when these two show they can have an intelligent and civil discussion about a wide range of issues. There are still a lot of fundamentals that need to change about how politics is run in the US and the role of money, wealth, and corporate influence - but if these town hall meetings come to pass, and the questions are truly representative of a wide range of Americans, then they are certainly a step in the right direction.

This past weekend, 3500 gathered in Minneapolis for the National Conference for Media Reform. While Bush and the FCC continue to push for relaxing the rules on media ownership to allow further conglomeration, activists across the political spectrum are finding common ground in decrying the danger imposed by a news media which shuts out voices of dissent, and is ruled exclusively by the financial bottom line. Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota who, along with former Republican Senator Trent Lott, has been a consistent champion of media reform, had little problem getting his resolution of disapproval of the FCC's unpopular rules changes passed by an almost unanimous voice vote.

In delivering the keynote address at the media reform conference, Bill Moyers said

So it is that democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent, while enhancing the power of the state and the priveliged interests protected by it. Democracy without accountability creates the illusion of popular control, while offering ordinary Americans only cheap tickets to the balcony too far away to see that the public stage has become just a reality TV set. Nothing more characterizes corporate media today, both mainstream and partisan, than disdain toward the fragile nature of modern life and indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.
I have no illusions that a series of town hall debates between our two major candidates will consistently cut to the heart of the issues, or avoid entirely the trivialization of issues that we've come to expect from the mainstream press. After all the questions will be coming from an assortment of citizens who have themselves been largely captive to the media sound bites of our age. But it is hard to imagine that it will not be a step in the right direction.

You will see speculation here and elsewhere no doubt, that the format will be the ruin of Obama, or the ruin of McCain. Until they come to pass, such predictions are merely speculation. My own wish is not that either candidate deliver a knockout blow in these sessions, but rather that both perform well, and actual discussion of the issues goes deeper than is typical in media led debates. The benefit to our republic could be far longer lasting than just the election at hand, if Americans observe, and therefore come to demand a presentation of issues without the typical media filtering.

Posted by Walker Willingham at June 9, 2008 11:54 AM
Comments
Comment #255012

Trent Lott working for media reform?

THAT caught me by surprise. I would have expected the exact opposite, knowing who and what he is, and how much the fact that over 90% of political talk radio is strongly right-wing has helped them since the early nineties.

I’m happy to see him on our side on an important issue…but I’m still wary of his motives. I will bear in mind the old Russian proverb that Reagan (whom I will always see as a great president) popularized in one of his state-of-the-union addresses: “Trust, but verify”.

I’ll trust that Lott wants to help on this issue…but I’ll be watching nonetheless.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 9, 2008 2:16 PM
Comment #255013

Conventional wisdom is for the candidate who is ahead to avoid debates, and by most people’s best guess at this point, the election is for Obama to win or lose. In addition, Obama has a huge financial lead over McCain, as well as highly motivated, excited backers, and McCain is desperate for free media exposure.

Having said this, I think you’re right. The town hall format gives a somewhat more open format for debate with much less media bias. But that is not the most important reason for Obama to buck conventional wisdom and take the risk.

Not only does Obama need to win, he needs to have the country behind his agenda. A series of town hall meetings with McCain will highlight the agenda.

For example, Bush managed to win in 2004, but other than retaining power, there was no point to his re-election, no motivating agenda. Bush used to victory to advocate dismantling Social Security Insurance. Whoops!

In other words, agreeing to the formats mean Obama is playing offense. It’s not enough to win and govern as Republican-In-Chief. It’s about winning and having the country behind him, and enacting an agenda.

Posted by: phx8 at June 9, 2008 2:19 PM
Comment #255017

Glenn Contrarian,

I’ll be watching [Trent Lott] nonetheless.
Lott resigned from the Senate at the beginning of the year, so there won’t be much to watch unless you have eyes inside on K street where the lobbyists work. He’ll be working on causes of the right no doubt.

It’s actually not surprising that some with strongly right-leaning proclivities join with liberals in the fight against media consolidation, since any views out of the mainstream which don’t promote a corporate agenda tend to be shut out. Smart moderates, who cherish an informed electorate should join the effort to reclaim our media movement as well, since shutting voices out is not the way to promote any agenda in a free society.

Sign on at http://www.freepress.net/ .

Posted by: Walker at June 9, 2008 2:40 PM
Comment #255021

Walker, I commend the thrust of your article and agree.

There is however a bigger fly in the ointment than ever before. That is the education level of the public that may tune in to these debates. It is lower in critical and analytical and math skills than it has been in more than 40 years.

If a substantive debate on the issues and challenges facing our nation is to take place, it will have to elicit discussion by the candidates of numbers, data, and researched projections. My fear is the candidates won’t go there because they know from research that the large numbers of the audience would flip the channel or be put to sleep out of incomprehension and the boredom that creates.

I fear what we will hear is the following:

McCain: I will cut spending and taxes. (No discussion of the debt or deficits that will make any rational sense at all). He will defend America by continuing to project American military hegemony over the rest of the world. (Not in exactly those words, of course). Americans will sleep safer if I am president. And I will go after lobbyists who weight down our legislation with pork barrel spending (just ignore the 100+ lobbyists working for my campaign).

Obama: I believe and will adhere to PAYGO. I will insure that Americans have health insurance as good as that which we in Congress have. I will work to rebuild failing and falling apart schools so America’s youth can compete in this ever more competitive global economy. I will not privatize Soc. Sec. but strengthen by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share (please don’t ask me about Medicare). And I will pay for this by cutting the 12 billion tax dollars per month McCain would continue to export to Iraq, to below 4 billion per month or less to finish the job in Afghanistan, by ending America’s occupation of Iraq. We will go after terrorists, not whole nation’s civilian populations as in Iraq which emboldens increases the recruitments of our enemies.

All fine and good, but, no specific numbers, no math to make the national debt go down instead of up, no commitment to end deficit spending in their first term of office. Nothing to bind them to their lofty promises and visions of a safer, more prosperous and less indebted future.

In essence, voters will be reduced to voting for the candidate that viscerally impresses them more. A gut decision, rather than a well reasoned, accountable set of mile markers, which the voters may use as a yardstick to determine if they should vote for this president again or not, in 2012. Such is the debased nature of American politics and debates today, I suspect.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2008 3:47 PM
Comment #255023

JMcC needs the publicity that these town hall meeting would generate so much more than BHO, that it would be ridiculous to agree to it, unless there is some kind of lull or problem with the news coverage of his campaign. Both candidates also risk exposure of the extent of their weaknesses, old age for one, and inexperience for the other.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 9, 2008 4:36 PM
Comment #255024

ohrealy, but they are the only two candidates running with a realistic opportunity of winning. That gives each of them a 50-50 % chance out of the starting block. Of course there are other factors affecting that percentage.

But, McCain and Obama share the same problem. The public is still in the dark as to what the nuts and bolts of their policies are going to be. Therefore, they both have the same common ground to be gained by the debates, exposure by the public to their agendas and policy views. That exposure is essential to either candidate winning.

Likely, both will decide the risks are worth the benefits.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 9, 2008 4:44 PM
Comment #255025

I hope that McCain and Obama can come to an agreement on town hall meetings. I share Jack’s frustration with the media controlling the agenda instead of just reporting the events. I found the Democratic and Republican debates woefully inadequate sources of information on which to base my own decisions. I wanted the candidates to set the agenda, so that I could judge which issues they considered important and which one’s they were willing to gloss over. The media kept that from happening.
I am not too concerned about the public’s lack of math skills. For one thing, I think that James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds is probably applicable here. People will listen to the numbers they are given and will arrive at a collective desicion that reflects, in part, whether they believed the numbers and whether they agreed with the policy conclusions that were based on those numbers. Surowiecki tells us that in such situations, groups of people are very good at getting to the truth. For another thing, I don’t believe that the candidates would give us many hard, cold numbers, even if we were all math wizards. We may want metrics for later performance evaluation, but politicians rarely want them. I cannot recall any presidential election in which any candidate talked about real numbers, except to tell us that his opponent’s proposals would cost us $X billion.
Finally, for me (and for many, I suspect), this election is about trust, faith, hope, and judgment, as much as it is about specific proposals with specific, quantifiable budgets or outcomes. Winning my trust, getting me to have faith, giving me hope, and impressing me with fine judgment will all be accomplished by an array of highly nuanced factors. One of the two candidates will give me a better gut feeling than the other, and that might be enough to get my vote. Of course, I will like some proposals more than others, and I will weigh them in my final decision, but my gut reaction will matter. A lot.

Posted by: Steve at June 9, 2008 4:49 PM
Comment #255031

DRRemer, I think JMcC has a different problem. Many people are planning on voting for him believing that he is lying, and will turn back into the real JMcC after the election. He is taking this gamble because he wants to equalize the coverage and publicity of the 2 campaigns.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 9, 2008 5:15 PM
Comment #255054

Here is just one reason why Obama will be reluctant to appear live at any town hall meetings. This is just hilarious considering it’s coming from the great orator and the last best hope of liberals. Obama’s comment about it being to noisy is BS, can you hear a crowd noise?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxBX8sz3tO8

Posted by: Jim M at June 9, 2008 7:14 PM
Comment #255061

Jim M - yeah I could hear that someone was yelling. The recording was made from the mic (probably directional), so any noise from the crowd was very muted to us. I remain quite unworried about Obama’s performance in a televised town hall debate.

Posted by: Walker at June 9, 2008 9:00 PM
Comment #255071

All,
Why I am moved by both Senator McCain and Obama dismissal of the Status Quo Media Coverage, I would like to see the FCC step in and require all media outlets carry the meetings live between the two candidates due to the National Importance of this Election. In this manner, no citizen could yell that they are uninformed, right?

David,
Why I expect some News Channels would like nothing more than to keep the Debate between McCain and Obama stuck in the Status Quo, Seeing My Elders and the Youth of Americas’ Journalists starting to ask questions. I am hopeful that with both Presidential Candidates embracing change that the Media for the first time in a long time is along for the ride.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 9, 2008 11:03 PM
Comment #255113

Why you people think all the ‘know nothing - what are you going to do for me’ people off the streets are going to ask better questions than hand selected top political journalists is beyond me.

Oh yeah, media is a bad word - we know it because everybody says so.

Posted by: Schwamp at June 10, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #255123

I heard on the radio yesterday that both McCain and Obama agreed to not have any debates that are sponsored by MSM.

That’s good.

And I hope that they DO have ‘town hall meetings’. I am usually hesitant to make such predictions - especially against those who have the character and experience of being retired military (and McCain’s a former POW to boot) - but Obama has a wealth of understanding of national and world issues, of economy, of disparities of culture that McCain simply does not have.

I must admit that it would be nice if the Republicans would for once send up a candidate who have enough intellectual curiosity that they might know why we should respect the Constitution instead of ignoring it, what’s the difference between Sunni and Shi’a, how short-term economic gain does NOT equal long-term economic benefit.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 10, 2008 1:11 PM
Comment #255126

Schwamp, there is some merit to your argument if the audience is randomly selected from the general population of the U.S. That however, will not be the case. Those in attendance will not be representative of the average general public. Their attention to politics, their sense of involvement and determination to attend the debates, make those in attendance non-representative of the general US population average you refer to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 10, 2008 1:43 PM
Comment #255129

All the Obama adulation aside, there are so many points worth arguing in these first few posts that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Schwamp - there is more to America than the “allegedly intelligent” media punditry and know-nothing-whatcha-gonna-give-me cash vampires. Believe it or not, there are millions of intelligent common sense people who could ask an intelligent question, WITHOUT framing it or begging an answer. Your statement indicates you have more faith in the media than you have in the intelligence of the average american - and I couldn’t disagree more. Especially with that news clip they showed the other day where a member of the MSM (I forget which guy) was saying “It’s high time we were allowed to step out of the shadows and express our opinions!” - Indeed.

Ohrealy - You state it is ludicrous for Obama to pay out publicity in the form of Town Hall debates when John McCain is the one that needs it so badly and BHO doesn’t. That demonstrates to me that you feel the risk is greater than the possible reward, and for Barack, I agree. What other candidate in history has been given more of a pass by the MSM than BHO? He won’t ever have a problem with media coverage because they are all in a competition to see who can support him right into office. He has never been asked ANY hows.. only Whats by the MSM.

BHO: “I’ll make every american has the same healthcare that we do in Congress, I’ll talk to Iran and reinstitute diplomacy, I’ll make tomorrow a better day, I’ll bring change (and my personal favorite) I’ll unite the left and the right and start thinking about what is best for America.”

PBSHHHHH.

Many MANY people are still drunk on this notion of change, but BHO hasn’t ever been asked how he will accomplish any of these things - How will you actually fund a $15,000 per year healthcare plan for every American? What exactly will you say to Iran that will deshroud their eyes and show them that Israel doesn’t deserve annihilation? How will you really make tomorrow a better day? And please tell me, how in the heck are you going to unite America with a track record as the most liberal U.S. Senator? Turning the good ship America 180 degrees doesn’t unite America any more than it does help us further on down the path. (Not that Bush had us going in the conservative direction anyway)

Walker, I own an ad agency and use that specific mic for live performances. It is a cardiod microphone (not directional), a Shure PGX2 wireless, and the funny part is not so much that he couldn’t finish his sentence as it was his later excuse that he hasn’t been getting very much sleep - which is laughable when you are running for the White House. Getting elected president has got to be one of the worst sentences of sleep deprivation in the world - so get used to it. But the stutter was a 2 on a 1 to 10 scale compared with the 10 style verbal regurgitation for which President Bush is so famous.


A hundred years ago, the debate forum was a lot different and required a candidate of a different caliber. The format allowed for a 1 hour opening statement by one candidate, then a 1.5 hour counter, and a final 30 minute rebuttal by the first speaker. He who went first didn’t know until the debate where straws were drawn. I’d love to go back to that style where substance HAD to come out or you would be exposed for the empty suit you were.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at June 10, 2008 2:50 PM
Comment #255136

Yukon and David,
We’ll just have to see. If we have a televised town hall just watch how many times someone explains their circumstances and ends with “what are you as president going to do for people like me”.

If a candidate ever takes that question and says “I’m going to do nothing - What are you going to do for yourself” I believe it would be a home run.

Posted by: Schwamp at June 10, 2008 4:09 PM
Comment #255142

LOL. Great line - and touche’.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at June 10, 2008 4:50 PM
Comment #255144

Yukon Jack, I voted for BHO for the Senate, smelling something a little fishy, but otherwise liking him. It was an odd race, where his opponents kept having to withdraw over scandals caused by the release of sealed documents from their divorce cases. The media was a big help to him. No one here except his consultants, promoters and strategizers knew that he began his campaign for the presidency the next day after his election to the Senate. This was a little premature in my view, due to his lack of any substantive experience. The MSM and blogosphere have helped promote him, and have now declared him to be the next POTUS, apparently hoping we don’t notice that the election hasn’t actually happenend yet. In fact, neither candidate has even been nominated yet. Both have an interest in publicity which helps ignore the fact that half of their partisans don’t particularly like them.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 10, 2008 5:39 PM
Comment #255149

Yukon Jake, would I be the same person on the job if I were a cop as opposed to a diplomat?

The obvious answer is NO!, I wouldn’t. I would be the same person, but, my actions, my definition of those whom I serve, and my words would be radically different.

Barack Obama served a constituency in Illinois and the state itself, which is a very different job than that of President, representative of all the people of these United States. The very same is true of John McCain and his representation of Arizona as opposed to president, representing all the people of the United States.

It is not logical to predict that a person who takes on a job as diplomat after being a cop must handle the job of diplomat in the same way they were a cop. Obama has from the beginning acknowledged that if elected his role as president would be as representative of all Americans present and future in his actions and decisions. He gets that. Which is such a radical departure from the likes of GW Bush who served a very select group of Americans and essentially ignored the rest.

John McCain would make a better president than GW Bush, simply because McCain also gets it, that the president must represent the welfare of the nation and all the people present and future in his role as president.

McCain is an old dog who is still learning new things and that is very much to his credit. After serving in the U.S. Congress from 1982 to the present, 26 years, he is unavoidably steeped in and conditioned by the politics of those years. This is a fundamental difference between Obama and McCain.

McCain’s education is in war. Obama’s is in Constitutional law. Neither is educated in economics. Not that having an education in economics necessarily provides one an objective understanding of the topic, Dick Armey being a case in point with his Ph.D. in economics and such an unobjective and ideological take on the subject as to render his Ph.D. virtually a degree in Republican ideology rather than the study of the philosophy of distribution of finite resources amidst infinite demand.

What is remarkable about McCain is that he served across a number of Congresses on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and now years later admits, he knows very little about economics. One would think he would have educated himself about economics in a rather thorough way to adequately serve on that Committee, but he freely admits in 2008 that this was not the case.

This is old school politics, wherein one votes in their role in Congress the way their Party leaders stipulate, since one is not versed in the affairs of the Committee upon which one serves.

Obama on the other hand, even when it comes to Democratic Party approaches to economics, indicates that the facts of the situation have to determine the course of action, not party ideology. That is a refreshing change from what this country is used to getting from its politicians.

If we need to invade Iran, McCain would be one of the best to lead that invasion from the White House. But, the problem with McCain is, he has already decided that invading Iran is necessary and talk about the matter with Iran undermines our national security as he accuses Obama of doing. This makes John McCain absolutely the WRONG person to sit in the White House. Because the need to invade Iran is not a foregone conclusion as it is in the mind of John McCain.

A president must weigh an enormous number of factors when electing war, all the more so, when contemplating a preemptive, elective war as McCain does with Iran. McCain is not up to that task of weighing those factors and coming to a decision based on those factors. His decision is made BEFORE ever weighing those factors.

McCain defends Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The argument being that we had no way of knowing whether Hussein was building WMD or not. This exact same scenario exists with Iran. We are not likely to ever know for sure whether Iran is building WMD with their nuclear power generating capacity. Since McCain defends Bush in invading Iraq, McCain will take the same course of action in Iran and for the same reason: the inability to know if they are building WMD or not.

But, let’s be very clear here. NEITHER Hussein nor Iran has developed and can develop inter-continental ballistic missiles without our knowing it. Satellite imagery and surveillance makes that endeavor nearly impossible. So, even if Iran did develop WMD, they would lack the ability to attack the American homeland.

Israel has nuclear weapons - we know this because we gave them the technology. Since Israel would be the professed target of Ahmadinejad, why and how on Earth can McCain justify America’s preemptory and elective invasion of Iran creating a third front war for America’s military, whose history books teach it is UNWISE to fight a two front war if avoidable?

McCain’s education and mind set is similar to that of Andrew Jackson. He views his reason for life as being a leader in a great war. And he will have that war by hook or crook to fulfill his destiny. He sat out the Viet Nam war as a tortured prisoner of it. Psychologically, that creates a need for John McCain to vindicate that torture and being deprived the conquering warrior role by the North Vietnamese.

There is a good reason for calling McCain a maverick, but, its not the reasons conservatives cite, it is the reasons I just outlined. War and being a prisoner of it, distorts a healthy person’s psychology and view of the world and their potential for objective decision making ability when confronting adversaries. McCain’s reknowned temper on the Congressional floor and reported ear shot tantrums are demonstration of this.

Obama lacks the steeped education of decades in the U.S. Congress, and that, at this time in our history, is a very positive quality when the majority of Americans acknowledge we need different answers and change in the way we govern our affairs. His education in Constitutional law will serve him well in bounding his ideas for change within the limits of what the Constitution will permit, unlike GW Bush.

Obama has committed to PAYGO, and that makes him a better economics candidate than McCain, who still insists that the national debt and deficits are not a problem provided we don’t grow them further. The reality is we must halt the deficits and plan a course toward reducing the national debt at some point as the opportunity cost of the service on that debt is just too bloody high, and the sacrifices we must make to pay that interest on the debt to foreigners are unjustifiable.

It remains to be seen if Obama can lay out a plan that actually solves problems WITHOUT maintaining current deficits and growing the debt. But, he at least understands the cost of failure to do so. McCain doesn’t. McCain has priorities which outweigh deficits and debt, like invading Iran and maintaining an occupying force in Iraq indefinitely.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 10, 2008 7:23 PM
Comment #255152

David -

Well said. Better said that I could do myself.

Your post reads like something I would hear from Thom Hartmann of Air America - thoughtful, willing to objectively weigh the pros and cons of both candidates…and never insulting.

Bravo Zulu, David.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 10, 2008 7:42 PM
Comment #255183

David’s logic boiled down…Military folks and those who were a prisoner of war are war mongers incapable of being objective. McCain was in the military and a prisoner of war and thus is a war monger.

Long service to the country by serving in the U.S. Congress causes poor judgment and party fealty. Inexperience in congress brings wisdom and a willingness to defy party.

Obama touts Paygo and believes higher taxes and more spending is the road to solvency. McCain believes in lower taxes for everyone and a reduction in spending. Obama believes robbing peoples retirement funds by increasing the tax on dividends is “fair”.

Obama believes it’s OK for Iran to possess WMD as long as they only threaten their neighbors and not us. McCain believes Iranian possession of WMD threatens the entire world.

Obama has an education in Constitution Law and wishes to change it. McCain has no formal education in Constitution Law and understands it.

Death, destruction and despair, people crying everywhere. I can fix it, let’s be “Fair”. Elect Obama, get your share.

Posted by: Jim M at June 11, 2008 11:40 AM
Comment #255189
Obama has an education in Constitution Law and wishes to change it. McCain has no formal education in Constitution Law and understands it.

I’m not so sure about either of those statements… and McCains’ understanding of many issues seem terribly muddled…

Posted by: janedoe at June 11, 2008 12:20 PM
Comment #255197

Jim M, call your own projections what they are, your own. If you want to respond to my words, quote my words and argue them. The fact that you didn’t implies you are putting your words in my mouth, which loses you the debate from the gitgo.

The medical research is incredibly voluminous on this issue of how very large numbers of veterans return from war changed and psychologically harmed by the experience. Our own VA is struggling with the numbers now, and America has begun construction on a new facility dedicated to this kind of trauma and treatment of our veterans suffering from it.

Painting that reality as something unpatriotic or a denigration of our soldiers is itself a slap in the face of everyone of our soldiers who are going to be helped and recovered by this new facility’s professional medical assistance for psychological and organic brain trauma.

Your attempt to make partisan political anti-American hay out of my analysis fails in logic, reason, and dispassionate debate. I suggest you research a bit before displaying such lack of information on a topic in a public venue. You can begin with National Intrepid Center of Excellence groundbreaking

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2008 2:08 PM
Comment #255205

David says…”War and being a prisoner of it, distorts a healthy person’s psychology and view of the world and their potential for objective decision making ability when confronting adversaries.”

“He views his reason for life as being a leader in a great war. And he will have that war by hook or crook to fulfill his destiny. He sat out the Viet Nam war as a tortured prisoner of it. Psychologically, that creates a need for John McCain to vindicate that torture and being deprived the conquering warrior role by the North Vietnamese.”

Those are David’s quoted words. I do consider them to be “partisan, political and anti-American” along with “unpatriotic and a denigration of our soldiers”.

Spin away David, your words speak volumes. I can recall a number of great American Presidents who managed the office quite well despite your charge that being a soldier in war “distorts a healthy person’s psychology”. Just what in your background David makes you an expert on John McCain’s mental health?

As an Veteran drafted in 1963 I resent your charge that my service makes me unfit for public office or would impair my objectivity as you boldly say it has for John McCain.

Did this impaired logic of yours prevent you from considering John Kerry for president? Will it preclude any American with experience in war time from being considered for the office of President and Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by: Jim M at June 11, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #255212

Jim M, wouldn’t be much point in the National Intrepid Center of Excellence groundbreaking, if there was no hope of recovery for veteran’s now would there.

Again, your logic utterly fails in the face of reality.

I read your words as a defense of one of your heroes. The problem with hero worship is that it blinds one to the hero’s human foibles. Does Retired Colonel George Marecek ring a bell? Serving time for murder? A war hero, no doubt. But, that doesn’t exempt the man from wrongful and heinous deeds.

Neither does McCain’s heroism as a POW survivor exempt him from being the very wrong person for governing the most powerful nation’s most powerful office. Hero worship can be very blinding of objectivity. Your comments exemplify that fact very readily.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2008 3:36 PM
Comment #255213

Jim M asked: “Did this impaired logic of yours prevent you from considering John Kerry for president?”

I voted for Nader. My writings here at WB at the time verify that. Care to try prejudged line of questioning in the hope of scoring a point?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2008 3:38 PM
Comment #255216


I believe the election is in John McCains hands now. It all depends on how much he is willing to change, how badly he wants to be president.

Posted by: jlw at June 11, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #255217

Jim M said: “As an Veteran drafted in 1963 I resent your charge that my service makes me unfit for public office or would impair my objectivity as you boldly say it has for John McCain.”

Resent away, Jim, but your comment’s self-evident paranoia now has you making claims of fantasy that don’t exist. I never charged that your service made you unfit for public office. Whew! Might want to see a counselor about this paranoia and misinterpretation of reality.

I volunteered in 1972 and served 3.5 years in the U.S. Army. So don’t try to one up me on service, Jim. Like I said, the volumes of research and data on post traumatic stress disorders not just for some soldiers, but, also victims of violent crimes, police officers, and other emergency personnel, is there for your education.

Continuing to deny it exists is a defense mechanism that doesn’t help your argument or case at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2008 3:44 PM
Comment #255218

David, I realize that climbing your way out of the pit you dug is getting uncomfortable, and now you compare John McCain with some murdering Colonel? Keep digging.

Hero worship of John McCain…hardly. Respect and honor for our military…certainly.

Posted by: Jim M at June 11, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #255219

David said of me, “I never charged that your service made you unfit for public office. Whew!”

Then why would John McCain’s service make him unfit” Double whew and a sigh for good measure!!

Posted by: Jim M at June 11, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #255221

From what I understand from other blogs, they plan to swiftboat JMcC if they can get a 527 to make an ad. We’ve seen some of it here from the most extreme people, claiming that he didn’t fly very many missions, that he was bombing innocent civilians, a whole litany of other misdeeds. If they can get his first wife to turn against him, then it will be exactly like BHO’s other campaigns in the primary and general election to the Senate.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 11, 2008 4:07 PM
Comment #255249

Jim M asked: “Then why would John McCain’s service make him unfit”

I explained that in rather great detail. And yes, it is obviously and educated guess based on analysis of McCain’s past experience linked to his current proclivity to invade Iran and never withdraw from Iraq. People are who they are in great part due to their past experiences. Experiences and interpretations of those experiences shape people’s thinking and emotional positions on a wide range of issues and in a wide array of circumstances.

Perhaps a psychology textbook or 3 would help you understand the potential for my educated guesswork on what motivates McCain. My educated guesses about McCain absolutely prevent me from voting for this man for president.

You are, and never were, under any obligation to view McCain as I do. Nor was there any need for you to get defensive personally, or on McCain’s behalf, as a result of my commentary and analysis. But, you did, and that speaks a bit to what motivates your comments. Look it up in a psychology book about defense mechanisms. We all have them and use them. They are only abnormal when they lead us to counterproductive behaviors.

Which is what I surmised McCain’s would do regarding Iraq and Iran based on his own defense mechanisms arising in part to his interpretation of his experience as a POW and torture by his captors. Projection of his captors motives and intents and capacities on others creating a reaction of fear, as in McCain’s fear of Iran, to the extent that preemptory and elective war with Iran can be justified in his mind without evidence of any capacity by Iran to attack the U.S., makes McCain a very dangerous person to occupy the White House. Dangerous to our military, dangerous to our economy, and dangerous to America’s image and reputation in the world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2008 8:36 PM
Comment #255277

David, Jim M,
As Warriors, is not the Best of Times about Peace? And why I realize as an American Layman Citizen that not All Nations, Societies, and Groups understand the Argument of Being a Civilized Human. The Question of National Security for All Americans and Citizens of Humanity out trumps both your arguments, correct?

So, as a Child of the 70’s let me ask both of you a question based on the fact that you both have first hand Knowledge and Wisdom and I do not.

Why both candidates would defend America without thought without question, in your Personal Opinion which candidate has the best opportunity to help My Peers and the Children of the 21st Century. Knowing that one is a product of the Youth of the 60’s and Early 70’s and one is a Child of the 80’s?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 12, 2008 2:38 AM
Comment #255305

Henry, while I don’t exactly understand your question, I hope you realize that protecting and defending the United States of America is the president’s oath. The oath doesn’t include the entire world.

One should also understand that threats to America come from not only tyrants in other countries, but threats to our economy, family, and social justice from within.

When people attempt to erode our religious values, our family based values, our economic engines of commerce and our freedom from excessive government regulation they also must be considered threats.

FOR DAVID, surmise as you wish about John McCain’s intentions as it is meaningless. McCain is not laying on your couch and you’re not his analyst.

With regards to Iran, it would appear that we have the full support of the European Union in our efforts to curtail their perceived nuclear intentions concerning military use of nuclear material and I have not heard or read that Mr. McCain does not support that effort.

Unlike Obama, McCain is not likely to be lead down the primrose path chanting useless dialog while our publicly sworn enemies fashion weapons that will embroil the entire world in war.

Posted by: Jim M at June 12, 2008 11:58 AM
Comment #255336

It’s funny that anyone would want to pscyhoanalyze JMcC. He seems to me to be a pretty straightforward individual, not unduly affected by the time he spent in captivity.

BHO on the other hand is a puzzle of identity problems. His absent father and mostly absent mother, being raised by his grandparents, and growing up completely outside the mainstream of American culture, seem to have affected him more than anything JMcC went through.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 12, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #255370

ohrealy, that’s because politics is all about maintaining appearances.

McCain’s irrational approach to Iran and contempt for the idea of discussion with one’s adversaries as an alternative to war, reflects a lot about his experience in the military.

Obama? That background appears very consistent with his choices in law education, community organizing, public office dedicated to serving people including the least powerful and affluent in our society. You are absolutely right, his background did indeed influence his growth and development, but to say it was completely outside of the mainstream of American culture appears to reflect a lack of knowledge about American culture.

American culture is immigrant based. Broken homes, marriages, and single parent families are a very big part of American culture and have been for many decades. Being raised by grandparents is not at all unusual in African American families and can be found amongst all ethnic groups in America to a small extent. Not surprising that he sought community, and order, and discipline through his education and public service background given his youth experiences.

Obama appears to have successfully adapted to his background. McCain appears to have failed to successfully adapt to this POW years as evidenced by his propensity for war all these decades later. The “normal” and average reaction to violence is to avoid it. The abnormal and unaverage reaction to violence is to seek more of it, as if it were an unresolved issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 12, 2008 9:17 PM
Comment #255401

Jim M,
Sorry, maybe I should of wrote that the Art of War is Peace. How do I know that? Simply by comparing the Youth of the 60’s and the Children of the 80’s outlook toward the use of force to settle an argument.

Now, why I agree that any and all Presidents of the United States and Congress have the Authority to put the Troops of the USA in Harms Way as they have many times including this period of time. However, I also know that only the President of the United States of America has the Guaranteed Civil and Constitutional Rights to speak for “We the People” in the Diplomatic Circles around the World.

Thus, seeing that neither Senator McCain or Senator Obama can declare they have made any Peace Accords or bring the same Cardinal Knowledge and Wisdom held by the Elders and Powers-that-Be of the 70’s to the Game of Right vs. Wrong. Which Presidential Candidate has the same ability of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis to deal with Iran and other Nations that do not want to see their Citizens as Humans?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 13, 2008 7:08 AM
Comment #255436

Henry, I believe that Kennedy’s inexperience, subsequent humiliation and perceived weakness in his first meeting with Khrushchev gave the Soviet’s the confidence to place their missiles in Cuba which then led to confrontation and a narrowly missed nuclear holocaust. Having lived thru those days, I never want to see them repeated.

By Kennedy’s own admission, he was totally unprepared and hasty in this first meeting with the Soviets. I have great respect for Jack Kennedy and he received my vote for president. And, we should learn from that huge error and carefully consider if we wish to repeat that misadventure with Obama who seems poised, should he win the presidency, to walk down that same path.

Some will say that Obama will surround himself with capable and experienced advisors to avoid the errors of the Kennedy administration. That would be to suggest that Kennedy didn’t have capable and experienced people helping him and I would say to that…perhaps, but consider the fact that he selected them.

Then, consider some of the associates that Obama has selected in his personal life. Does this sound like someone who will have good judgment in selecting his advisers as president, with far-reaching and monumental consequences?

Posted by: Jim M at June 13, 2008 1:27 PM
Comment #255519

Jim M,
Why I will let Senator McCain and Senator Obama have their own personal opinions about what to do with Iran and those who call America their enemy, personally I would like to see both pull a President Regan and state that upon taking office they will move to deploy a “Shield” around Iran so that nothing can come in or out of the country if the Leadership of Iran insist on building their nuclear program.

Probably not popular among the Left or Right of Society, but a move that would force both sides to the table. For I would like to hear Iran tell its citizens that they cannot get gas for their cars because of one Mans’ Ideology.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 14, 2008 4:54 AM
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