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WHO IS JOHN MCCAIN? HINT: NOT A MODERATE, INCASE YOU WERE WONDERING…

gfeldts Icon Posted by Gloria Feldt

June 30th, 2008

Jake Tapper, ABC News Senior National Correspondent, in his blog “Political Punch” June 27 post “McCain Gambles with Awkward Joke” started a bit of a blog-o-flap among some feminists who though the senator’s remark about wife beating grossly inappropriate and perhaps insensitive to domestic abuse. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was asked by columnist Jon Ralston why he didn’t choose Gov. Jim Gibbons to chair his Nevada campaign…
Maybe it’s the governor’s approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president? Asked Ralston in a question McCain clearly found loaded.
Said McCain, chuckling, “And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago.”
Some have found the subject of McCain’s joke — wife-beating — inappropriate.
To be clear, McCain was alluding to the fictitious leading question “When did you stop beating your wife, senator?” It’s a bit of distasteful DC yuckery so commonly quoted it’s hackneyed.
But considering the subject McCain was discussing at the time, to allude to that joke was, well, …..awkward!
Gov. Gibbons last month filed for divorce from his wife Dawn citing incompatiblity…

There are several issues here and I’ll take a moment to sort them out:

1. McCain’s retrograde record on women is bad enough in itself to warrant a full frontal expose by as many feminist bloggers and MSM journalists as possible. He has a 100% anti-choice voting record, not just on abortion but also on family planning funding, access to emergency contraception, medically accurate sex education, gag rules, and the gamut. He has said he opposes the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay act even though he wasn’t there to vote against it and that he wants to see Roe v Wade overturned which confirms that he’s in the same league with those who want women to be barefoot and pregnant. He intends to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

2. The derivation of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” phrase which is an old saw that is used to illustrate an argument you can’t win, but which I would suggest was an exceedingly poor choice of words for McCain because even aside from its sexist tinge…

3. There have been rumors for many years in AZ (where I lived for 18 years and had the misfortune of trying to work with McCain on behalf of Planned Parenthood since his first race for Congress in 1982) that he abused Cindy, verbally and physically. From my personal experience with the man and his explosive, often out of control temper, I suspect there is fire behind the smoke; however, I doubt we will ever know. Because he was Barry Goldwater’s successor, he has always been protected by the Republican establishment in AZ, including the press.

4. In a recent related log on the fire, Clayton “relax and enjoy it” Williams was slated to give a fundraiser for McCain recently. That comment, in which Williams was advising what to do in case of rape or bad weather, propelled Ann Richards to her unlikely victory over Williams for Texas governor in 1990. McCain cancelled the event when the flap was highlighted by the media, but only then. Clearly, he had no compunction about Claytie’s support until it became a political liability. And indeed, he kept the money that had been raised. The Williams-Richards episode is recent enough and legendary enough that there’s no way McCain and his staff could not have known about it.

5. Journalists should be careful about repeating allegations, and to guard against connecting dots that do not relate to one another. Still, you know that McCain and the Republicans will be throwing much worse at Obama without one moments’ concern about whether they are being accurate or not, and that in a political campaign it is in fact the little things like flippant use of sexist comments that define the candidates’ character.

There’s plenty to define McCain’s character as well as his voting record as anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-civil rights expansions in general, let alone a water carrier for the Bush administration’s retrograde policies on the war without gambling too much on issues that might be subject to challenge though. He’s clearly not the moderate or maverick most of the press believes he is, and we need to out that often enough that it seeps into public awareness. More research would be very helpful, but no question about it, John McCain is harmful to women’s health, rights, and equality.

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