McCain thinks Palin presidential, that says it all

October 7, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

I will not vote for a candidate who refuses to answer questions directly, and especially if they go off on to a different subject. If both candidates play that game tonight, then I will vote for a third party candidate or perhaps not vote at all. And I think if I hear one “talking point,” which as far as I am concerned is nothing more than a ready-to-go piece of propoganda candidates carry around, that is going to be one heck of a turn-off.

These are desperate times, and I just don’t have the patience for games as usual. I live in California, so my vote likely does ot count due to our electoral college system (which I feel should be abolished). The system was designed to help the smaller states. But California is the most populous state in the union and yet because it is winner take all and because it is believed to be solidly in the Obama camp (whether we support Obama or McCain) in essence it makes no difference because it’s a foregone conclusion (unless a whole lot of folks said what’s the use and failed to vote. Many are already voting, with absentee ballots going out now).

They say it’s going to take time for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout to work. Well with the nation’s economy and that of the world seemingly disintegrating around us, someone better step on it.

Certainly that should be the main topic at tonight’s debate. It’s a town hall format, so I guess it’s up to the folks there.

We know that Barack Obama has had some tenuous association with a guy involved with a 60s and 70s radical movement that bombed government buildings and did result in some deaths. But Obama was just a child when this guy was doing that. Later when Obama was grown up and got into politics their paths crossed (it’s been written about – I’ve mentioned it myself in two of my blogs). There is no evidence Obama talked or conspired with the man about anything subversive. The man, William “Bill” Ayers, is nowadays a college professor.

And we know John McCain has for three decades played footsie with his big money buddies in Washington because pretty much that is what Republican (and Democratic) lawmakers do. The big money folks are more fun to hang around with and they come in handy when you need campaign funds. We know the whole sordid story about McCain being part of the Keating five, going to bat for a guy (Charles Keating) who bilked oldsters out of millions of dollars. McCain has said it was a mistake on his part.

I have yet to read anything sinister about Obama’s connections with Ayers (since they came long after Ayers’ radical days). While I have nothing but contempt for Ayers, he is not running for president. And apparently there is no connection at all between the two these days. Yes and we know that Obama has had some involvement with some sleazy character named Tony Rezko, a land developer and slum lord who has been convicted of fraud and bribery of public officials. And we know Obama got some type of a sweetheart deal on land adjacent to his home through Rezko. Sounds like Chicago style politics to me.

But there has been months upon months of campaigning with nothing substantial (distasteful maybe) coming out of any of this. Some people are already voting and the official election day is less than a month off. It’s a little late to worry about any of this trash. As far as we know, either McCain or Obama is going to be the new president, no matter what anyone thinks about Ayers and Rezco and Keating.

I would think most folks want to know what each man proposes to do about the fact we are likely for the first time in my 59 years actually headed for the second Great Depression. We’ve had plenty of recessions and downturns, but this one is beginning to look ugly. The frightening thing is even the experts seem to be saying they don’t know exactly what can or should be done.

What we need from the candidates is some specifics and not platitudes or silly things like: “the Democrats just want to tax and spend,” or “The Republicans got us into this mess” (even if it’s partly true). How do we get out of this mess? Just tell us Mr. Candidate, and if we buy your ideas we just might vote for you.

But as I keep saying in this blog, the Democrats will probably emphasize bottom up measures (helping workers and their families and in so doing get folks buying things and thus stimulate consumer spending and getting the economy going). And the Republicans will concentrate on doing things to help big business, under the mantra of cutting taxes (but whose taxes?). Both candidates supported the bailout (I call the Wall Street extortion).

I would hope too that there are questions about the wars and I would hope those questions pin the candidates down (war, pin down, an inadvertent play on words). I really have not seen much difference in their war policies, even though McCain insists that he wants to win (whatever that is) and his opposition wants to “surrender.” Obama has pushed for a timetable (but not an immediate pullout) in Iraq and more or an emphasis on Afghanistan (and McCain now calls for the latter). I don’t see an anti-war or “surrender” candidate there.

McCain has been getting a lot meaner in his tone (I’m not sure how that plays at a town hall meeting).

It now seems that McCain showed reckless judgment when he chose Sarah Palin to be vice president (an office that has the same demand for qualifications as the presidency). So far she has put on one hell of an act, and I have said she definitely has Reagan tendencies that way, but when you examine what exactly she has said and how she has said it (hardly as elegant as Reagan) you see that so far she has only proven that she is qualified to be a head cheerleader, mayor of a small town (probably better suited to be head of the chamber of commerce), governor of Alaska (only because, well she is). Leader of the free world? No.

That pretty well only leaves Obama. He does not have a long record. But he is a U.S. senator, and we pretty much know his life story. It’s been written about and there have been documentaries on TV. And we know he is a thinking man and capable of putting sentences together (that would be refreshing). And he seems willing to listen to others and consider their ideas (that would really be refreshing).

While I can hardly say I have an open mind going into this debate. I certainly will listen. I don’t know which man will win yet and I want to get an indication of what we are in for.

Obama and Ayers, McCain and Keating…

October 5, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

John McCain’s pit bull with lipstick Sarah Palin is going around accusing Barack Obama of consorting with terrorists because it is known that he has had some connection with admitted late 60s, early 70s radical bomb thrower William “Bill” Ayers, a member of the Weatherman terrorist organization, who is now a college professor at the University of Illinois, at Chicago, and a neighbor of Obama.

(I don’t know if McCain is talking about the alleged Obama-Ayers connection yet, but I would not be surprised if it comes up in Tuesday night’s debate.)

Of course when Ayers was throwing his bombs, Obama was just a kid. Ayers although charged later had his charges dropped after a court ruled that there was prosecutorial misconduct. Ayers donated $200 to an Obama state election campaign in Illinois. And Obama and Ayers have had mutual connections with more than one non-profit organization. Whether there ever has been any personal relationship between the two or whether they actually worked together on any projects, other than attended the same meetings, is unclear.

Certainly it would not seem like Ayers is one that anyone running for president should have kept company with. But in politics one brushes up with a lot of less than savory characters. I think Palin is implying that Obama and Ayers have conspired in some plot to destroy the American way of life.

Although considered by many, not all, to be a respectable part of the community in Chicago nowadays, Ayers is reportedly unrepentant about his radical past. He was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “I don’t regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

It is important to note that people, including policemen and security guards, and some of the terrorists themselves, were killed in Weatherman bombings and an armored car heist.

Just as Obama has publicly distanced himself from the Rev. Wright, I think he should make a public statement about Ayers.

I would have a hard time voting for someone who has had a direct connection with such a person as Ayers, unless he was ignorant of the man’s past and could show he had reason to be ignorant of it and that of course any dealings he has had were not illegal or subversive. And he should publicly denounce Ayers.  Ayers’ reported admission to bombings is I suppose not actual proof that he really was involved or at least involved in bombings that resulted in death. But the public has to wonder why a seemingly admitted killer can go free and even be a college professor at a public institution.

While I think it is a little late in the game to be coming up with this kind of attack, I do think the McCain camp has a legitimate issue.

But, John McCain’s connection with Charles Keating of the Savings and Loan Scandal of the 1980s is much more clear. Keating bilked 21,000 investors, most of them elderly, out of their savings, totaling $285 million. McCain accepted political contributions from Keating and went to bat for him before regulators (McCain’s line is that he just introduced him as a constituent, sure, and just your presence there meant nothing senator). Keating was eventually convicted of fraud and racketeering.

Two wrongs do not make a right. But since we’re talking about connections Sarah….