John McCain’s Web of contradictions

By: Sandford BorinsNow that the Democratic and Republican presumptive candidates (to use the New York Times' label) have been determined, this week and next I will take a close look at their Web sites.John McCain has recently revamped his home page with lots of bold blue and a header that shows three Old Glories with their silver stars, blue backgrounds, and gold tassel fringes as well as the candidate with his silver hair. As I started to drill down, I found that the site is full of contradictions.The upper left corner has the expected link for small donations to support the Straight Talk Express, McCain's bus tour. But MCain's schedule this week and next has him jetting to a series of “finance events,” luncheons and dinners where the basic ticket price is $1000.For the maximum permitted donation of $2300 you get a bit more, such as a gold lapel pin, photo op, or even a private reception before the meal. The toniest event, which was posted yesterday but gone today, is an invitation-only private finance dinner on June 26 in London at $25,000 per person, hosted by McCain supporter Henry Kissinger, and with dress code what the Brits call a lounge suit. By the way, his speech in Ottawa on Friday June 20 isn't listed.A second contradiction involves Web 2.0-style engagement with voters. There is a right-hand sidebar with the heading “Get Involved.” When I went into it, all it involves is adding family or friends to McCain's email list and suggested talking points McCain supporters could use for posting comments on major political blogs.Under the “Action” heading on the top bar, there are links to only three groups: Veterans, Women, and Lawyers (!) for McCain. The state contact information link describes the campaign as “beginning to develop our efforts in all 50 states.”The third big contradiction involves policy. On the one hand, McCain is trying to distance himself from Bush's most unpopular policies. The new TV ad about global warming on the centre of the homepage begins by telling us that McCain “stood up to the President on global warming five years ago.”There is a video entitled “It's Time for Action,” showing McCain telling black folk in New Orleans that “never again will a disaster of this nature [Hurricane Katrina] be handled in the terrible and disgraceful way that it was handled.”But all the rest of the policies on the site are standard conservative Republicanism. The centre-piece of the economic plan is tax cuts. Hang tough in Iraq and spend more on the military. Pay for it all by cutting waste and earmarked spending. Supreme Court appointments should be believers in judicial restraint like Roberts and Alito. Outlaw abortion and prohibit gay or *** marriage.Finally, have a look at his stance on the second amendment, i.e. the right to bear arms (which reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw defending the right to arm bears). McCain opposes any limitations on assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and ammunition, as well as the imposition of purchase waiting periods.Conclusion: this isn't even old wine in a new bottle, it's ancient vinegar in an amphora.

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