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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great John McCain Profile from Arizona

The Phoenix New Times News (no, I've never heard of them either) has a wonderful profile on John McCain entitled 'Postmodern John McCain: the presidential candidate some Arizonans know- and loath' It seems Sen. McCain is not as popular in his home state as his campaign would leave us to believe. The story gives us a glimpse of the '80s John McCain, the Senator who got himself inextricably involved in the savings and loans scandal (think mortgage crisis for the '80s) by becoming close, personal friends with Charlie Keating. I don't want to rehash the whole episode, which this articles does well, but there is an anecdote that should be told.

In the late '80s, Arizona was suffering through an Illinois-like rash of political corruption. The Republican governor at the time, Evan Mecham, was impeached and the long-serving Democratic secretary of state, Rose Mofford, stepped up to serve out the rest of his term. A week into her tenure, Rose made a trip to Washington where she would make a perfuntory appearance before the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on Appropriations on the topic of the Central Arizona Project (the '60s era water project which allows for humans to live in Arizona). Rose had not been briefed extensively on the project.

At the hearing, Republican Senator James McClure fired a series of complex questions at Rose which left her staff scrambling to find the answers. That same day, Pat Murphy, publisher of the Arizona Republic, arrived at the Senate with his wife to take McCain out to lunch. Murphy tells the rest of the story to the News writer via email:

"During lunch, McCain said, almost with mischievous glee, that he had slipped some highly technical questions to [James McClure] to ask Mofford — questions she wouldn't be prepared to answer or expected to answer.

"Flabbergasted, I asked McCain why would he want to sabotage Mofford's testimony, when in fact the CAP was the nonpartisan pet of Republicans and Democrats — such as far-left Udall and far-right Goldwater — since its inception.

"His reply, as near as I remember, was, 'I'll embarrass a Democrat any time I get the chance.'

Whatever my disappointment with Obama's centrist poses the last couple of months, my belief that he will steer us away from the vehemently personal Washington partisanship of the last generation has not wavered. I am sick of watching the unending conflict over the cultural gulf which exists between conservative and liberal boomers. Vietnam and the civil rights marches ended thirty-five years ago, people. Get over it! Stop licking wounds incurred when Nixon resigned and educate yourself on the fairly progressive country you happen to represent.

McCain represents our country's past. Let's make that distant past history. Finally.

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