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John McCain: “Some of my best friends are black”

August 23, 2008

a commentary by TNTalk! writer, Leon Walker…

Last Saturday, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain were interviewed by evangelical Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. As nearly as I could discern, Saddleback is a predominantly conservative evangelical audience, as would be expected, given the setting. It was also an audience that appeared to be almost exclusively “white” as presented by the television coverage. This is not a problem for me as two of my best friends are White. We have been through a few of life’s storms together and they will tell you so. Apparently that is not “actually” the case between Senator McCain and Senator John Lewis.

playing the imaginary friend card

playing the imaginary friend card

In truth I was very surprised at Senator McCain’s performance during the interview. He did far better under that format than I would have imagined. It was lost on me to some degree when he responded to a question by Pastor Warren regarding whom Senator McCain might consult when he felt he need the counsel of a trusted and respected confidant. Senator McCain responded by mentioning Senator John Lewis. A Democrat and senior United States Senator who is black as well as a historic figure in the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. I thought to myself, “well that’s a nice thing to say”, but I didn’t see the statement coming.

The following Monday, I became aware that Senator Lewis issued a statement which indicated that he did not see McCain’s statement coming either. Senator Lewis made it clear that he and McCain are collegues in the senate only. I don’t have the exact words, but it was also clear from Senator Lewis’ statement that they are not friends, confidants or counselors of any sort. Further, his feeling compelled to issue such a statement in response suggests that he prefers to keep the relationship as it is.

Senator McCain has already become rather notorious for making a slip of the tongue quite regularly. In this case, what can be offered as an explanation? Is Senator Lewis actually Senator McCain’s imaginary friend like a black version of “Harvey” the giant rabbit? Was the Senator making an effort to pander for black votes? Maybe he noticed so few blacks in the audience that he thought he would say something nice about a black person. What McCain apparently does not understand is that blacks are supporting Senator Obama overwhelmingly. McCain’s years of opposition to an MLK holiday in McCain’s state of Arizona will probably not be forgiven by blacks, in spite of his apology this year, in the remaining course of his lifetime. Or most importantly, does McCain still not understand the whole concept that the media breathes in and dissects every syllable that he utters publically.

There have been numerous examples of Senator McCain either dropping sync in mid thought or making inaccurate and false statements. Some of McCain’s statements are excellent examples of poor judgment or a twisted sense of humor like his horrific “bomb bomb Iran jingle.” Consider his snickering tacit approval when the “B” word was directed at Senator Clinton. Consider the repeated Sunni – Shiite confusion. What about the recent lie concerning which names of team players were given to his captors in Vietnam. What of his association with and reliance upon Phil Gramm as his economic advisor along with McCain’s own admission that he knows little about the economy? This utterance was followed by a later admission that he does not know how to access the internet or how to use “the google”.

Without evidence and out of nowhere he recently made the statement “I know how to win wars” when discussing the war in Iraq, as if he had previously done so. Then there was the “drill here and drill now” tantrum at the Biker Ralley a few weeks back capped off with McCain offering to “pimp out” Cindy to the wet tee shirt and Miss Buffalo Chip beauty contest. Just over a week ago he made the presumptuous public statement following the Russian invasion of The Republic of Georgia: “I speak for all American when I say we are all Georgians today”. I was thinking: What do you mean “we” kimosabe? We have poor people here in America that could also use every penny, every crumb of food and every drop of water that we sent in foreign assistance. John McCain has no right or authority to speak for all Americans. Believe me, the examples that I have provided here are only a very few in a long list of verbal missteps and gaffes during this campaign. This “crazy grampa” image that some are chuckling about is real. This is the man who would be President. Is this man really presidential material?

I like my foreign assistance with olives.

I like my foreign assistance with olives.

Senator McCain is about to turn seventy-two years old. He has been in the U.S. Senate on the public dole for more than one third of his lifetime, to-date, having accomplished nothing particularly noteworthy. His performance and leadership should be directly measured by the condition of this nation now, and over the past eight years as a minimum. John McCain has been on political consignment for the past 26 years. If you want an example of what not to do as a career Washington legislator, he is a great one. As evidenced by this campaign, he will say most anything, no matter how transparent, translucent, no matter how outrageous. McCain is the lazy political ditch digger who has been going through the motions for a very long time because that’s all he knows how to do.

What about experience? John McCain does not have 26 years of experience in the U. S. Senate. He has 1 year of experience 26 times. He has now become a confused and doddering old man, clinging to self absorption in this quest for the presidency. He is oblivious or unwilling to consider that at present, he is an embarassment to the vision and examples of the founding fathers, including their very model of legislative leadership. The cornerstone of that model is service, sacrifice and committment rather than privilege, power and profit.

Americans can cast their votes in November as they please. I am fond of saying that voting is one of the marvelous privileges of American citizenship. I hope Republicans will take stock of things and recognize that the past eight years are clear evidence that you had better be careful what you ask for or vote for.

imaginary friend?

imaginary friend?

McCain, the man, is not very smart. The record shows this, and given his performance to-date, I can only envision with sadness a President McCain “three short years” from now. While the “Cheneys” of his administration continue to rape the nation, McCain will be resting comfortably on the sofa in the oval office, wearing his tattered ballcap and Gucci slippers as he eats bird seed and mutters angrily to himself about ragheads and commies…

…Remembering of course that he once had a black friend. That is, McCain has a black friend as far as he knows.

L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker

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