Senator Small Change

I feel sorry for Bill and Sue Nebe of Farmington Hills, Michigan and Jake and Terry Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Why do I feel sorry for them–even though I’m not running for political office and,therefore, don’t have to list a litany of names to put a face on my heightened sensibilities ? Well, I feel sorry for them because John McCain has listed them as the faces of people who he’s fighting for.

The former couple, after all, lost all of their money in real estate. And John McCain knows something about real estate– what with having more houses than most Monopoly gamers and all. Still, he’s spoken out against government involvement in helping people who’ve lost their houses and constantly sided against homeowners in favor of lenders in the past.

Now, the Nebes must work a total of FOUR jobs to make ends meet. Still, don’t despair, Nebes! John McCain says that his party believes in “hard work and risk takers,” so you folks should be o.k. Of course, he was talking, here, about the top one-percent and why he believes they need their tax cuts. Hopefully, those FOUR jobs are pretty high end and will allow you to qualify. If not, I’m afraid there’s bad news. John McCain has continually voted against the minimum wage and equal pay for women, and since Sue Nebe has three of the FOUR jobs, well….That’s why you made my “sorry for” list.

As to Jake and Tony Wimmer, well…Jake works on a loading dock, coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. And Tony teaches. The good news is that John McCain is not on record as having any problem with Little League or with helping the disabled–though Governor Palin might find these predilections a little too close to community organizing to meet her comfort level. And the loading dock thing…well, I hope it has to do with imports since McCain once again last night declared his support of free trade–no matter how unfairly it’s weighted. As to you Tony, McCain is really behind you. Of course, you’d be better off if you taught in private schools such as the ones his kids attended or the ones he wants to offer vouchers for. If not, not a problem. He has said that he’ll look into providing funding for the “No Child Left Behind” program that he had a hand in creating and has voted against properly funding in the intervening years. But,hey, it could be worse. How? Well, you could be working FOUR jobs like the Nebes!

I won’t even go into the other case he mentioned. The young man who was killed in Iraq. Some of the worst minutes of my life in the last few years have been spent watching the silent roll call at the end of the Lehrer Report. Yet I watch because I feel it is my duty to watch. I’ve been asked to sacrifice nothing else for this war–the least I can do is to pay attention to the faces of some our country’s best kids as they flash before me and I’m left to wonder, as their families must, what might have been.

Yet, change is coming, he says. ” Change is coming!”

And if he’s referring to change of position, then there’s no disputing that McCain is,indeed, the change candidate. He wrote an immigration bill that he says he now couldn’t even vote for. He was against the tax cuts for the rich BEFORE he was for them. He denounced the Karl Rove school of dirty politics BEFORE he embraced it. He said last night that he would help create millions of new jobs in the field of alternative energy, and yet his record BEFORE last night was a perfect one when it came to energy legislation last session. He missed all eight votes dealing with the issue, even though his vote might have been the deciding one in several instances.

In fact (with a special nod to our new watchdog, Sarah Palin), John McCain was NOT PRESENT for 60 percent of the votes taken last session. So, when he talks about a “do-nothing Congress,” listen well–for he knows whereof he speaks.

And one final word, since we’re talking of voting records– and I can feel the word “maverick” in the offing. When I grew up, a maverick was a person who used his own head, blazed his own trail, sailed his own course. (Since you’re such a ‘feminist,’ Governor, you can insert feminine pronouns there, and it would be more than fine with me. Just leave out the references to lipstick.)

But CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY, tells us that McCain voted with the evil President Bush fully 95% of the time in 2007 and 100% of the time (every time he showed up) in 2008.

Not to mention, my good Governor, that he chose you as his running mate, I suspect, to please the “conservatives” (and I’m sorry, I can’t even use that word because of my respect for men like the late Senator Goldwater)…let’s say (in kindness) “social-conservatives” of his party. Not exactly a maverick move where I come from, young lady.

Deny that if you will. But, if so, in the words of the immortal Ricky Ricardo ” ‘splain me this.” Why would his acceptance speech be so much about reaching across the aisle, ending “partisan rancor”– why– if you were,indeed, his ideal choice? Do you really think that he’d have named someone from so far right a position if he’d all the while planned to offer himself as a peacemaker? If you answer yes, then you must certainly believe him to be a few spokes short of a wheel or a little less than “with it,” I fear. And maybe you’re right.

But right or wrong, this is not the John McCain who really was a hero and who really did used to be a kind of “maverick.”

And right or wrong this is not the change we have been looking for.

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