The Native Voice: Who is the real John McCain?
The following is an editorial from The Native Voice.

John McCain has been asking, "Who is Barack Obama?" Despite McCain's most vitriolic protests, most Americans, if asked, would quickly respond, "He is the Democratic candidate for President."

Yet, McCain fails to realize that his question begs the same question in return, "Who is the real John McCain?" He claims the titles, "Regulator-in-Chief," "Foe of the Washington Lobbyist," and "Earmark Fighter." But are these appropriate monikers for the McCain we have come to know over the past decades? A bit of research shows that in his campaign rhetoric, McCain has turned a blind eye on his own record on these issues.

Today, McCain claims that the answer to the current economic crisis is to increase regulation on Wall Street. His 26 year record in Washington belies that.

In lock step with the Republican party, McCain often said that he stands for "less government, less regulation." Earlier this year, he said that as President he would spur economic growth "by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital" on Wall Street. To him, that made sense because even as the economic crisis hit the stock market on September 15, McCain repeated his belief that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

On September 21, 2008, CBS Scott Pelley asked McCain, "In 1999, you were one of the Senators who helped pass the deregulation of Wall Street, do you regret that now?" McCain said, "No. I think deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy."

Before Senator Gramm called America a "nation of whiners" worried about a "mental recession," John McCain planned to name his as Secretary of Treasury. The Washington Post reports that Gramm's "aggressive efforts" as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee tore down the Roosevelt-era wall separating the commercial banks and largely unregulated investment banks. Gramm's law also prohibited regulation of Wall Street's most speculative product -- derivatives. McCain supported Gramm's efforts. In fact, in 2000 Gramm was Chairman of McCain's presidential campaign.

Senator McCain has often rushed before the media to tout lobbying reform, yet until March 2008, McCain thought it was a-okay to have his chief political advisor, Charlie Black, carry on his lobbying business for JP Morgan from inside McCain's Straight Talk Express bus.

During the last debate, McCain vented his outrage against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet until last month, Davis Montfort, the firm owned by McCain Campaign Chief of Staff Rick Davis, was on Fannie Mae's payroll until last month. Davis's firm received more than $2 million since 2000. Fannie Mae staff explained that part of the purpose of the contract was access to McCain.

McCain consistently touts his clean-up of a corrupt deal by Boeing to provide airplane supertankers. He fails to mention that his campaign finance chairman was lobbying to get the contract for Boeing's foreign competition, the European Aeronautic and Defense Space Co. (EADS). EADS' American staffers were quick to join the McCain campaign as financial donors after he opened the bid process on the Air Force supertanker to the European company.

Tapping Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his Vice President, McCain said, "She's exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second." Apparently, McCain did not check her record.

In her 2006 race for Governor, Palin tapped Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens (CBS dubbed him the "King of Pork") to endorse her in a key campaign commercial in the run-up to election day. She returned the favor by appearing at a joint news conference on energy policy with Stevens in July 2008, two months after the FBI raided Stevens home as part of an investigation into an oil company's gifts to the Senator.

While McCain was assailing "527" issue organizations, Palin was serving on Stevens' 527 board. Palin's biggest earmark request as mayor was for a $15 million rail connection from Wasilla to Steven's hometown Gridiron, Alaska. While McCain derided the Bridge to Nowhere, Palin was for the Bridge before she was against it. And while the earmark was ultimately removed, Palin kept the $223 million that would have been dedicated for the bridge and used it for other projects, including the Road to Nowhere (it stops just short of where the bridge was supposed to go).

While McCain derides a $3 million earmark for a DNA study of Montana Grizzly Bears, Palin was seeking a $3.2 million DNA study of Alaska harbor seals and the mating habits of crabs.

As Governor, Palin requested $450 million in earmarks for Alaska. While McCain assails Obama for seeking $860,000 per day in earmarks as a Senator from Illinois, McCain fails to note that Palin sought $980,000 per day in earmarks as Governor of Alaska – and Illinois has almost 20 times as many people as Alaska. Asked about the inconsistency, the McCain campaign explained that Palin's earmark request were "critical" and that the campaign was simply seeking full disclosure. They forgot to mention that Senator Obama already secured full disclosure on earmarks last year in Congress.

McCain's fellow Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl, admits that "The question of earmarks is more symbolic than significant in money terms, yet McCain continues to beat the drum on this issue that makes up less than 1% of the Federal budget. Meanwhile the stock market (including many pension plans and 401K retirement accounts) has lost more than $4 trillion in the past month, in large measure, thanks to the McCain--Gramm "bank deregulation reforms."

Perhaps that explains why McCain doesn't understand that his role as a member of the Keating Five is more relevant to the public during this financial crisis than his assault on Obama via William Ayers.

Before you believe the campaign rhetoric, check the facts. It's in the historical record that you will find "the real McCain."

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