23 October 2008

McCain Attacks GOP; GOP Attacks McCain

In this morning's Washington Times, Senator McCain gave an interview to intensify the distance between himself and President Bush. Unfortunately, he painted the Bush years as a disaster in which all Republican politicians were complicit.

Sen. John McCain on Wednesday blasted President Bush for building a mountain of debt for future generations, failing to pay for expanding Medicare and abusing executive powers, leveling his strongest criticism to date of an administration whose unpopularity may be dragging the Republican Party to the brink of a massive electoral defeat.

"We just let things get completely out of hand," he said of his own party's rule in the past eight years.

[. . . .]

The Republican also targeted his own party, saying they got drunk with power and lacked the resolve of President Reagan.

"I think, frankly, the problem was, with a Republican Congress, that the president was told by the speaker and majority leaders and others, 'Don't veto these bills, we need this pork, we need this excess spending, we need to grow these bureaucracies.' They all sponsor certain ones. And he didn't do what Ronald Reagan used to and say, 'No'; say, 'No. We're not going to do this." (WA Times)

The problem here is that Senator McCain supported President Bush's policies. It's become a cliche, but, according to records, he did vote with the President the vast majority of the time:
According to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly, McCain has voted for bills favored by President Bush 90 percent of the time. The nonpartisan publication, which has analyzed voting by members of Congress since 1953, said the report took into account all legislation that Bush had taken a clear position on. It spans from the beginning of Bush's term to Congress's recess in August [2008]. (CNN)
And then there's Senator McCain's proud announcement of his history of supporting the president with his votes. Did he really vote for projects hoping that President Bush would veto them?

As you might expect, the GOP aren't going to let McCain's statements slip by. Case in point: this Politico exclusive came in response:
The Republican establishment is beginning to express long-suppressed exasperation with the McCain pirate ship. In an early-morning phone call to Playbook, one of the most senior Republican strategists in the land warns the McCain campaign after reading the WashTimes interview: “Lashing out at past Republican Congresses instead of Pelosi and Reid, and echoing your opponent's attacks on you instead of attacking your opponent, and spending 150,000 hard dollars on designer clothes when congressional Republicans are struggling for money, and when your senior campaign staff are blaming each other for the loss in The New York Times [Magazine] 10 days before the election, you’re not doing much to energize your supporters. The fact is, when you’re the party standard-bearer, you have an obligation to fight to the finish. I think they can still win. But if they don’t think that, they need to look at how Bob Dole finished out his campaign in 1996 and not try to take down as many Republicans with them as they can. Instead of campaigning in Electoral College states, Dole was campaigning in places he knew he didn’t have a chance to beat Clinton, but where he could energize key House and Senate races. I think you’ll find these sentiments shared by MANY of my fellow Republican strategists.”
If Senator McCain does win, will he be able to unite his own party (much less the nation)?

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