it’s going to be a season of ‘blonde’ jokes…

Posted on Thursday 21 February 2008

… back after a sabbatical.

I have mixed responses to the New York Times article about John McCain. When Clinton’s daliances [both before and during his Presidency] were constantly in the news, I found it annoying. One doesn’t have to look at Bill Clinton very long to know he’s a terminal flirt – boyish good looks persisting into his late life, exhuberant charm, jazz saxaphone… None of us had any trouble believing the stories. But I was furious with his attempts to lie about his relationship with Monica Lowensky. It was the lying, not the sex that got to me. It’s interesting to me that with all of his scandals, I never questioned his integrity as a President. I still feel that way. Clinton was just something of a Rocker – an odd choice for a President, but it was okay with me. Yet his lying got to me. I wanted him to step down when it happened and give the reins to Al Gore. I still wish he’d done that. It’s a paradox to me that I feel that way. I think the truth is that I was embarassed that he was so vulnerable. I don’t like it that I reacted like a parishoner who just found out that the Preacher was making hanky-panky with the Church Secretary, but that’s how I felt.

I was recently in a discussion with some friends about Pastors who get involved with the Choir Director or an Elder’s wife. Some vamoose in the night [like Ted Haggard]. Some apologize and resign. Some apologize and plead to be given a second chance. And some even bring it off. I don’t know what I think about all of that. It does seem like a betrayal of trust, since Pastors generally take a position of moral leadership in their communities. It’s always disillusioning to the Congregation, particularly the kids who don’t know what to make of it. I was in professions [Physician, Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis] where the biggest sin was to become involved with a patient. The reason is solid as a rock. It isn’t about some kind of moral code about sex. It’s because becoming personally involved with a patient is always exploitation – taking advantage of one’s position in another person’s life for personal gain, even when the seducer is the patient. It’s a paradigm for "looking for love in all the wrong places."

I’m a bit put off that we’re in that phase of the presidential campaigns where the dirt starts flying. I’m not really opposed to the kind of microscope we use to evaluate Presidential hopefuls. It’s the price they pay for wanting to hold that office. It ‘humanizes’ them, letting us see if they’ve got the necessary humility quotient to fill such a grandiose office and survive showing us all of their warts. But it’s not very interesting. Somehow, Bush and Cheney made it through this part of the process with flying colors. Their warts weren’t in the sexual arena. Their flaws were more ominous, and well hidden prior to the election.

But my other reaction reading this McCain story is consistent with a lot of other things about him that have bothered me all along. I would actually welcome a Republican Candidate of integrity. I doubt I’d vote for such a person, but I’d be glad to have one running. It would make the election about competence, policy, and ideology rather than personality. It’s strange to be a lifelong Liberal Democratic voter longing for an honorable Republucan Candidate. But I think that’s just an idealistic Abraham Lincoln fantasy of mine [as a kid, I "liked Ike." ].The Republican Party has either become or has always been the Party of business capitalists, the Party focused on political power, the Party of Lobbyists and money – nothing much bigger than the Party of the wealthy. They stay in power by finding ways to get the non-rich to vote for them – fear of non-Wasps, fear of non-Christians, fear of Liberals, fear of Communism, fear of Socialism, fear of Russians, fear of Arabs, fear of women, fear of homosexuals, fear of … So these stories about McCain are no big surprise. He’s a Republican. He works for Lobbyists, taking their favors. And that’s the way he’s acted. He comes out strong for his principles and reform, but when it’s all said and done – he’s right there in the middle of the problem riding around in corporate jets, interceding for crooked businessmen, backing down on his reform campaigns.

It’s not his penchant for blondes that bothers me. The shameful story of his first marriage to Carol Shepp and his rampant infidelity is part of standard McCain lore. What bothers me is that this other woman works for a company that McCain has been actively helping out, even after his infamous Keating affair. Whether McCain and Vicki Iseman were romantically involved or "just friends" as he says, the problem stays the same. Vicki Iseman is no hunting buddy. She’s a Lobbyist in the business of influencing Congressmen. Even though McCain espouses some laudable principles, his actions are those of just another Republican – channeling the interests of the wealthy businessmen – taking their favors. There’s a big difference between keeping our businesses healthy to keep our economy on track, and being vulnerable to Lobbyists – whether they’re throwing money around or just plain pretty. John McCain is clearly an easy and willing mark. It’s a shame. He seemed to have it in him to be something more than that…
    February 22, 2008 | 8:27 AM

    I think it was Newsweek and Time magazines that had detailed information about McCain at the Naval Academy and in other places as a young adult that said he was not a very nice person. He was not admired by his classmates for his honor or humility. I do believe his having a grandfather and father who were Admirals ( if memory serves me) didn’t help him tame his wildness or his arrogance.

    February 22, 2008 | 8:41 AM

    I have just checked web sites that I trust . I didn’t want to write something before I checked it out but I had heard that Senator McCain was one of 25 senators who had voted to impeach President Clinton in 1999. That would mean that while he was involved with the lobbyist in some way, he was voting to impeach Clinton. That is why it matters to me. He is a hypocrite. I don’t like to call anyone a bad name but in this instance we are talking about a candidate for president. Lincoln he and Bush are not.

    February 23, 2008 | 8:34 AM

    If you get a chance check out a website McCain supports the surge and is telling everybody that it is a success. This independent reporter, Dahr Jamail was on c-span last night on Booknotes talking about his book “Beyond the Green Zone”. On his site he talks about the surge like you’ve never heard it before. I hope Obama gets to read his book because it gives you all the reasons why the surge is not winning the war.

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