John McCain's Imagined Presidency

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The Prophesies of John McCain: Ambition Makes Fools of Us All
by Jack Random
While on the campaign trail in Ohio, candidate John McCain allowed his followers a glance in the looking glass through the prism of his ambition, boldly predicting victory and a functioning democracy in Iraq, stabilization in Afghanistan, the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden, the disarming of Iran and North Korea, dominance of the world’s democracies over China and Russia, an open and non-political White House, an end to signing statements, more “accessible” health care, improved public education, a secure border, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and several years of “robust economic growth.”  

Smiling as if the words themselves were a fait accompli, McCain declared “there has still not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.”  

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“The Iraq War has been won.”
 
 - John McCain, Address in Ohio 16 May 2008
 
There is something bizarre about an audience applauding the accomplishments of an imagined future.  Were they applauding his skill as an orator, his gift of prophecy, his youthful imagination or a confidence so supreme it borders on arrogance?  

While we’re considering whether his sweeping vision of the year 2013 was in fact a divination or a conjuring act, let us consider his past record of forecasting domestic, political and foreign policy outcomes.  

As co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act (his only substantial legislative accomplishment in over a quarter century in Washington), the Arizona senator predicted that legislation would take the money out of politics.  He did not predict that the same Supreme Court Justices he now lavishes with praise would rip the guts out of an already watered down piece of legislation.  

In 2000, after losing in the primaries, McCain predicted on the floor of the Republican National Convention that George W. Bush would unite the nation and lead us on the road to prosperity at home and prominence in international affairs.  

In December 2001, scarcely two months after the war in Afghanistan was launched, McCain and nine other members of congress urged the president to move swiftly on to Iraq, implying his supreme confidence that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were already defeated.  

In 2003, as the nation was being hurled into war with Iraq, McCain repeatedly predicted a quick and easy victory.  He predicted there would be no clashes between the Sunni and the Shia.  He predicted we would never engage in house-to-house urban warfare in Baghdad. He did not call for an occupying army of a hundred thousand troops (he did not believe it would be necessary) and he was confident that we would be “welcomed as liberators.”  

Pointedly, McCain did not predict that the Sunnis would dominate any elected Iraqi government and Iran would effectively double its sphere of influence.

Concerning McCain’s prophecy that Osama bin Laden would finally be captured or killed, it was not the first time the Senator’s looking glass failed.  In October of 2001 McCain told NBC’s Tim Russert that bin Laden would be dead by Halloween.  

In short, John McCain’s record as a visionary is as profoundly flawed as his reputation as a straight talker.  

My vision of John McCain’s first term is that it will never be allowed to happen.  After eight sorrowful years of George W. Bush, the American people have awakened to the false promises of a failed ideology.  If some unforeseeable and cruel twist of fate (like a terrorist attack) led to that outcome, the forecast would be bleak.  The war would expand and escalate.  Already obscene military expenditures would triple and triple again, building a debt that will outlast us all, stealing any chance of health care reform, alternative energy programs, social security and Medicare solvency, mass transit or emergency services.  Military conscription would be reinstated – at first a temporary measure and then a permanent institution.  

All considerations of greenhouse gases and global climate change would be put on the back burner as we opened the floodgates to the dirtiest sources of energy on the planet:  coal and oil shale.  Nuclear plants without controls or regulation would supplant solar, wind and other clean, safe renewable energies.  There would be a terrorist attack.  

The world and the nation would see a stunning and crushing increase in ever-larger natural catastrophes that the president would dismiss as “acts of god.”  

With the president unengaged and stubbornly bound to failed ideology, he would continue to steer the ship of state straight ahead as jobs continue to migrate overseas, as wages continue to decline, as foreclosures and bankruptcies continue to mount and the economy falls over a cliff.  

I see a Great Depression and the decline of the American nation.  

That is my vision of a John McCain presidency but I am not a prophet.  

Neither is John McCain.  In his own words at the Republican National Convention in the fateful year of 2000 when the losing candidate stole the White House:  

“America's greatness is a quest without end, the object beyond the horizon. And it is an inescapable and bittersweet irony of life, that the older we are the more distant the horizon becomes. I will not see what is over America's horizon…and I am haunted by the vision of what will be.”

Jazz.


“John McCain is Betting Big on Iraq,” by Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times. March 23, 2008.

Meet the Press, October 21, 2001.

Think Progress, August 22, 2006.

“I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.”" [CNN, 9/24/02]

“We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” [CNN, 9/29/02]


 â€œThe point is that…we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

“It was easy. We were greeted as liberators.” [Meet the Press in January 2007.]

“There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC, 4/23/03]
 


JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS).  THE CHRONICLES HAVE BEEN POSTED ON NUMEROUS CITES OF THE WORLDWIDE WEB, INCLUDING THE ALBION MONITOR, BELLACIAO, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH, THE DAILY SCARE, DISSIDENT VOICE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS AND PACIFIC FREE PRESS.  SEE WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM
 

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