With friends like this...
The man who is widely regarded as the mastermind behind George W. Bush's overwhelmingly unpopular tenure endorsed John McCain Saturday. Praising McCain as the candidate who "understands the danger facing America," Dick Cheney declared McCain the "right leader" for the country, and said he is "delighted" to publicly announce his support of both McCain and his runningmate.
You have to feel a little sorry for Senator McCain. After all, he's gone to all the trouble of distancing himself from the reputation of the George W. Bush presidency, and was fortunate enough to have Bush himself agree not to draw any undue attention to the administration these last few months. And yet in the end, just two days before the election, McCain picks up the enthusiastic support of none other than Darth Cheney. It is an unfortunate turn of events for McCain: Cheney has polled even less favorably than Bush with the American public. But no matter how unfortunate the endorsement, it's really quite fitting. As much as McCain and Palin may want us to believe otherwise, their ticket is nothing more than an attempt to sell us four more years of Bush-Cheney style politics.
Like Bush, McCain has already made it clear that he's comfortable exaggerating security threats in an effort to keep Americans in a state of fear. And like Bush, McCain is tapping into that fear in hopes of justifying military offensives. McCain has already warned us that for the sake of our collective security not only must we stay in Iraq, but we may need a "surge" in Afghanistan, a presence in Pakistan, and perhaps an intervention in Russia, as well. McCain's approach to foreign policy seems to be to bomb first and ask questions later, which in retrospect we now realize is precisely the philosophy Bush used when we invaded Iraq.
Like Bush, McCain is happy to rely heavily on deficit spending to fund his initiatives. During his eight-year tenure, Bush added four trillion dollars to the federal debt. McCain has proposed adding nearly five trillion more -- a result of his clever approach to budgeting that involves not just outspending current revenues, but simultaneously increasing spending while decreasing revenues. This kind of fiscal mismanagement is precisely what has caused the dollar's value to decline forty percent in the last six years. Forty percent! Consumers wonder why prices keep going up? Well it's large measure due to the plummeting value of our currency.
Like Bush, McCain has selected a vice president who is not (to put it mildly) a team player. Sarah Palin has made it clear in these last couple of weeks that she's in this for herself. She doesn't see herself as subordinate to McCain. She's been openly criticizing him and his strategies, and now she's abandoned them altogether in favor of her own. She is, it seems, determined to accomplish whatever she wants, whenever she wants, however she wants. And if you lend any credence to the essays published in the Washington Post last year, this is exactly how Cheney operates, too. And to that end, Cheney effectively turned the Bush administration into a vehicle through which he could accomplish all his own personal objectives. I think now nearly all of us realize that what Cheney had in mind was not in America's best interests. And here we have Palin, already making it clear that she answers to no one, and already announcing that she's "grateful that the Constitution allows a bit more authority given to the Vice President." Now there's a comment that should raise our eyebrows. She's already trying to sort out just how much power she'll have. But you've got to give her credit -- at least she's honest.
Those are three ways in which McCain-Palin represent an extension of Bush-Cheney. And there are others. Now McCain has worked hard to play the maverick and distance himself from Bush. But the American people are a pretty smart bunch, and I think they've seen through the act. They've disapproved of Bush-Cheney administration for years, and now they're rejecting the extension of that administration that McCain-Palin represents. So I can understand if McCain was a little disappointed to hear Cheney's endorsement Saturday. But on the other hand, when you review what McCain is proposing and compare that to what we've seen these last four years, you can't help but echo Obama in saying, "Congratulations on the Cheney endorsement, McCain -- you've truly earned it."