John McCain Speech and the End of the RNC

(I’ve marked out his key points with bullets, and added some facts about his record to each key point he made last night for your info)

The night began with Barracuda in the background, a nod to Palin’s nickname on the court in highschool. The only problem . . . Heart, the band who penned the song, never gave permission for it to be used. By morning, the McCain camp had been issued a cease and desist order. It is the second time the McCain camp has been told to cease and desist since the start of the election season. In fact, they are being sued for copyright infringement.

It did not get much better from there, as McCain attempted to craft himself as “the change president” a promise that has been at the base of Obama’s campaign from day one and that McCain has previously criticized. As you will see in the break down below, that is not the only campaign platform issue he took from the Democrats. Even his speech ending seemed like a watered down version of Clinton’s powerful invoking of Tubman. Sadly, I wish “borrowing” were the only thing about McCain that gave me pause.

What change was he promising?


  • another Obama platform cornerstone
  • claimed incorrectly that Obama has no record of such bipartisanship
  • McCain has a record of working across party lines


  • jobs through tax breaks – Bush tax breaks to consumers and corporations have not led to jobs, unemployment increased this year for the 6th year in a row according to CNN
  • to subsidize re-education for new job industries with low paying part time jobs for people unemployed for 7 months or more – no explanation of where these jobs would come from, who would be paying for them, or how insurance would be handled
  • provide jobs through access to new markets for our products – NAFTA, CAFTA, and other similar deals that open foreign markets to US goods have increased the number of jobs and companies shipped overseas and the number of displaced immigrants from those countries coming to the U.S. not increased jobs and decreased immigration


  • to put more emphasis on community college training programs
  • no college funding plan (Obama’s $4000/yr service won’t cover anybody in out of state or private school either but at least it is something)
  • no plan outlined for 4 year colleges, public or private
  • no plan to subsidize the quality of education offered at many ccs (Obama has spoken repeatedly about increasing the quality and training of educators as well as pay incentives funded through his new tax plan)
  • in 2007 AAUW gave McCain a 0 out of 100 rating on women’s education
  • in 2007 the NEA gave McCain a 0 out of 100 for supporting education and educational funding
  • in 2007 TOESL gave McCain a 0 out of 100 for supporting ESL students and ESL programs
  • in 2006 the National Assoc of College Admissions gave him a 0 out of 100 for supporting college students and college education


War and Veterans

  • to continue the war until “we win” – new stats released today said that this year’s suicide rate amongst soldiers was projected to be the highest in our nation’s history, capping last year’s record setting 115 suicides, according to MSNBC which said slightly over 60 suicides have already happened and 31 are under investigation; Republicans and Democrats agree that there were no WMDs in Iraq, there has been no success in find Osama Bin Laden, and if blogs, youth refugees interviewed on cable news and for documentaries, and statements by some world leaders are to be believed, the hatred, resentment, and fear of N. America has grown since the beginning of the wars not decreased. Just last month citizens tried to arrest Condi Rice for Human Rights Law violations in New Zealand.
  • to continue supporting troops
  • A recently returned officer from Iraq was arrested at the RNC during McCain’s speech for asking about McCain’s record with veterans on the convention floor
  • McCain’s rating from disabled veterans in 2006 20%
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans rated McCain’s support in 2006 a D
  • Vietnam Veterans rated McCain at 0% in 1998-1999


Union veterans were so concerned with McCain’s voting record they produced this flier:

He also spent a considerable amount of time on his own military record saying that he broke down after considerable torture in the camps (after his leg was mended) and only then cooperated with the Vietnamese. While no one can or should disparage the sacrifice McCain has made for his country, his own self-report in 1973 tells a different story. By his own report, McCain gave the VC vital information about his unit including # of aircraft flights, rescue ships, and the order of attacks. His total combat time was 20 hours. (see report here)


  • use existing N. American resources especially oil
  • claimed that Obama does want to use resources we don’t have – Obama wants wind (we have) solar (we have) clean coal (he has an investment plan to research clean usage, coal we have), nuclear (investment plan to research safe waste storage, nuclear we have)
  • claimed Obama voted for “corporate welfare for oil” – Palin taxed oil companies, McCain has supported corporate welfare for oil


Health care

  • said his plan would ensure N. American people without big government – he wants to give $7000 to taxpayers to buy their own health care and let companies out of required coverage for employees. Average cost of health care for N. American family $12,000 and up
  • said Obama’s plan would put a “government bureaucrat” between consumers and doctors – managed care has consistently been criticized by doctors and patients alike for relegating care provision to cost analysis putting a private “bureaucrat” in between N. Americans and their doctors. Obama’s plan is to subsidize existing plans to lower premiums and offer buy in to the existing government health care plan enjoyed by Congress for the uninsured


No Big Government

  • claimed both he and Palin had records of stopping lobbyists and inflated spending – Palin’s record has been discussed in previous posts, she has worked with lobbyists and asked for national government money for inflated programs regularly in her two years
  • rebuild the trust of the American people that the current administration had squandered – McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time which means he helped squander that trust
  • “transparency and accountability” – prior to his speech McCain demanded that people stop asking about the Palin vetting process and the current investigation against her by the state of Alaska for ethical violations while in office; the RNC authorizes police to use what Amy Goodman calls “pre-emptive policing” of independent journalists meaning they arrested journalists before the convention even started, also arrested others during the convention for covering action outside of the stadium


Joe Biden Claimed McCain did not mention energy, education, employment, the environment or the middle class in his speech. (He initially said this comment about Palin’s speech which did not cover any of the issues, but the day after McCain’s speech Biden made the same comment saying the “Republicans did not mention” instead of “Palin did not mention.”.) As you can see many of these things were in fact mentioned by McCain before the end of the RNC. Here are some voting record issues on the things McCain did not mention:


Supporting Families

McCain also did not mention women’s issues during his speech except to say that he was against judges who legislate from the bench. You can see some of his women’s health voting under the health heading above. He also skipped a vote on the equal pay bill. He also voted against adding women to the list of protected groups on the federal hate crimes bill.


He also did not mention gay rights. But here is a list of information that should further concern one about the Log Cabin endorsement considering that McCain has not only reversed his position on the one pro-equality vote he made but also has a whole list of unequal policies he’d like to support in the White House.

Gay Rights

  • According to the defense of marriage coalition in California, McCain sent them a personal email supporting their attempt to amend the California constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • voted NO against the employment anti-discrimination act which would have expanded existing discrimination categories in the workplace to include GLBTQI people.
  • voted NO to including GLBTQI people under the federal hate crimes bill.
  • voted YES to prevent DOMA change to the constitution in 2006.
  • Opposes gay adoption (he said so clearly, then his campaign people took it back, then he said he supported “traditional family” adoption on George Stephanopalis show see transcript here)

One of the most interesting parts of McCain’s speech for me was when two women from Code Pink managed to interrupt John McCain’s flow by simply holding up a pink banner and shouting war was wrong. The camera panned to them just as the sign was ripped from one woman’s hand but not before someone grabbed the other woman by credentials around her neck. Twice, I watched as someone in the crowd yanked at the credentials hard enough to choke her for putting up a sign. She was pulled down two steps at another point despite raising her hands in passive resistance. Both women were aggressively removed from the RNC despite both attacking no one and not fighting back against their captors.


They were not alone in their protests within the RNC either. Another protester, male, held up his arms with peace signs, while still another held up a sign that said “You can’t win an occupation” on one side and “McCain votes against vets” on the other.

All of these protesters were drowned out with chants of “USA, USA” which made me wonder how many other times these chants had been about silencing opposition when the media did not pan to the protesters to let us know what was going on?

(In fairness it should be noted that protesters were arrested at the DNC as well, though none managed to disrupt speeches or were aggressively interfered with by members of the audience to the point of possibly causing physical harm and or death. And if this is what is meant by Republicans protect their own while Democrats falter, as some are claiming today, then I think we should all question what “protection” means.)

In the end, McCain’s speech was a mix of “borrowed” material, half-truths about his own record and that of his opponent, a resurrection of the 2004 campaign while deftly avoiding reference to the Bush administration, and promises to be a better Republican than the last. I am not sure how someone who wants to continue some of the most detrimental policies of the current administration (economic, foreign, and environmental) can say they are going to do things differently or make this country any better than it has been for the last 8 years.

Sadly, to me the Republicans and Independents energized by the RNC and his speech were much like the people on the floor that night: steadily chanting “USA, USA” to drown out the voices of dissent and the facts that they bring. You can chant and you can sing, but the truth cannot be locked up for long.

you can read his entire speech here

ratings came from non-partisan research group Project Vote Smart



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