McCain: I'm No Maverick

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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...The Arizona lawmaker, looking to thwart a primary challenge from a conservative Republican former congressman, played down his history of working with Democrats on issues like overhauling US immigration policy, curbing big money influence in politics, or fighting climate change.

"I never considered myself a maverick," Newsweek quoted him as saying. "I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities."...
http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/mccain-maverick-hayworth-arizona/2010/04/05/id/354832

I really used to like McCain. When he picked Palin for VP, he betrayed my confidence. Now he seems more like a joke. What is sad is that his base has moved so far to the right that he is forced to deny his long history of bipartisanship in order to save his career.
 

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  • #2
kyleb
Heh, to quote http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879#" [Broken]:
John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.

I had considered McCain one of more honorable politicians around, to the extent that I was hopping for him to win the 2000 Presidential race. However, I feel he started slowly loosing his way since then, went down hill quick after Bush was was reelected, and his taking on Palin for VP put him right out the window for me.
 
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  • #3
russ_watters
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You're misreading the situation, Ivan. Yes, he's downplaying it because he's not crossing party lines, but it isn't because his base moved to the right it is because the line between the parties moved to the left. We have an extreme left wing President and a democratic majority in both houses, pushing a very liberal adjendas. There is nothing even for a moderate republican to cross party lines on: it is just too big of a gap to cross. To the contrary: the democrats are so far left that you have democrats breaking ranks and making the much shorter trip across the line to the right.
 
  • #4
jgens
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We have an extreme left wing President and a democratic majority in both houses, pushing a very liberal adjendas.

While I won't argue the fact that both the President and Congress are pushing liberal agendas, on what basis do you make the claim that Obama is "an extreme left wing President"? During his roughly 1.5 year tenure in office, President Obama has agreed to send a 30,000 troop surge to Afghanistan, reconsidered nuclear power plants, opposed a single payer health care system, supported a cadillac tax instead of an income surtax on the wealthy, and permitted some off shore drilling.
 
  • #5
mheslep
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While I won't argue the fact that both the President and Congress are pushing liberal agendas, on what basis do you make the claim that Obama is "an extreme left wing President"? During his roughly 1.5 year tenure in office,

Not so fast. Some of these are, at least, questionable.
jgens said:
President Obama has agreed to send a 30,000 troop surge to Afghanistan,
Yes, and not just agreed, he executed. A substantial number are already there.

jgens said:
reconsidered nuclear power plants,
He's certainly talked it up. In his first SOTU speech he said he favored a "new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country". Yet, the only concrete action he's taken to-date via Chu is to kill the Yucca waste repository. In February of this year he did announce (no execution yet) loan guarantees authorized back in the Bush 2005 Energy Policy Act for http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR2010021601302.html" [Broken] which he controls. Otherwise, he's done absolutely nothing tangible to change the status of nuclear power, the consequence of which is that there are currently no new nuclear plants under construction in the US today, and thus there won't be any online before Obama was to leave even a 2nd term.

jgens said:
opposed a single payer health care system
Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE&feature=player_embedded" SP in 2003:
Obama '03 said:
I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, [...] A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan...
As President, he stopped promoting SP, but he still declines to argue directly against it; instead he threw his support behind the http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/05/obama_on_why_he_is_not_for_sin.html" [Broken], a close relative of SP that undoubtedly would become the thing itself in time, until the Public Option didn't exist as an 'option' any longer in Congress.

jgens said:
supported a cadillac tax instead of an income surtax on the wealthy,
Great idea, but I don't follow how support of any net tax increase is not left wing politics. In any case, the reality is there is no cadillac tax in place today, it is not scheduled to hit until http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/04/05/mass_communities_likely_to_feel_cost_of_employees_cadillac_plans/" [Broken] Obama backed down under union protests and pushed out into the future. Given that this ~super majority Congress failed to enact the cadillac tax today, the idea that some future 2018 Congress will go along is fantasy, and everyone knows it.

jgens said:
and permitted some off shore drilling.
As of today, Obama has permitted nothing new, so far he has only proposed to open some limited areas for offshore drilling.
 
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  • #6
jgens
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Great idea, but I don't follow how support of any net tax increase is not left wing politics.

True, but I think that you've missed my point (and likely because I wasn't particularly clear). For lack of better phrasing, a cadillac tax is generally considered a less liberal tax than an income surtax on the wealthy. If Obama were as extremely liberal as Russ seems to think, I would have guessed that he would support the income surtax on the wealthy over the cadillac tax. It's not really strong support that he's not a radical, but it does suggest to me that he's only moderately liberal.
 
  • #7
Ygggdrasil
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You're misreading the situation, Ivan. Yes, he's downplaying it because he's not crossing party lines, but it isn't because his base moved to the right it is because the line between the parties moved to the left. We have an extreme left wing President and a democratic majority in both houses, pushing a very liberal adjendas.

Since healthcare reform has been the focus of Obama's policy, let's focus on that for a bit. Obama's plan is very similar to a Republican healthcare plan in 1993 (see comparison here). The bill, proposed by 20 Republicans and 2 Democrats in the Senate, included a mandate for individuals to buy insurance, subsidies for the poor to by insurance and the requirement that insurers offer a standard benefits package and refrain from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions. The similarities between the 1993 bill and the current bill and the fact that these proposals are now anathema to Republicans suggest that it is the Republicans who have moved to the right, at least on this issue.

There is nothing even for a moderate republican to cross party lines on: it is just too big of a gap to cross.

On healthcare reform, you are correct the gap between Republicans and Democrats was too large. However, on other issues, moderate Republicans (and even not so moderate Republicans) are willing to sign onto Democratic plans. For example, 11 Republicans in the Senate supported Obama's "jobs bill." Furthermore, on the issues of energy and the environment, one of the domestic policy issues that Congress may tackle next, Republicans such as Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham seem willing to work with Democrats (see http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/11/senators-pitch-alternative-cap-trade-climate/, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/10/11/graham-backs-push-climate-change-legislation/, and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28friedman.html). Of course, only time will tell whether Democrats will chose to pursue more moderate, centrist proposals in this area, and whether some Republicans will support these proposals.

To the contrary: the democrats are so far left that you have democrats breaking ranks and making the much shorter trip across the line to the right.

One interpretation of this observation is that the Democratic party is adopting far left stances. Another interpretations is that the Democratic party has a very wide membership including liberals, moderates and conservatives. Whereas the Democrats have a group of conservative Blue Dog Democrats and acknowledge them as an important part of the party, the Republican party has proposed ideological "purity test" (an idea that was fortunately were shot down) and ostracized moderate members with the tag of RINO (Arlen Spector and Dede Scozzafava being two prominent cases). For the sake of the Republican party, I hope McCain and other more moderate members like him can maintain a strong moderate voice within the Republican party. Both parties, not just the Democrats, should be moving toward governing from the center. (Of course it is important to note that terms such as conservative, moderate, centrist, and liberal are all subjective and really more important for political name calling that anything else. Everyone, including myself, are likely to place policies with which one believes near the center of the political spectrum and classify those policies with which one disagrees at the extreme left/right.)
 
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  • #8
Gokul43201
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Not so fast.
I notice you haven't stated an opinion on Obama being an "extreme left wing President". Care to share?
 
  • #9
Gokul43201
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IMO, the partisanism has little to do with philosophical gaps and more to do with political gain (determined largely by emotional reactionism).

Example: McConnell and the 7 original Republican co-sponsors of the bill to set up the Conrad-Gregg fiscal policy commission voting against the bill after it had been strongly endorsed by Obama. Boo!
 
  • #10
Gokul43201
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Yet, the only concrete action he's taken to-date via Chu is to kill the Yucca waste repository.
For a year, everyone was complaining about him not setting up the blue-ribbon commission to look into waster disposal. Now that that's eventually happened, it's quickly forgotten?

In February of this year he did announce (no execution yet) loan guarantees authorized back in the Bush 2005 Energy Policy Act for http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR2010021601302.html" [Broken];
Mr "extreme left wing" Obama voted for the 2005 Energy Policy Act, while our "moderate Republican" John McCain voted against it.

however, the industry says that's nice but http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...0306052.html?KEYWORDS=nuclear+loan+guarantee" which he controls.
Is the absence of predictability of the NRC a fault of Obama's?

Otherwise, he's done absolutely nothing tangible to change the status of nuclear power, the consequence of which is that there are currently no new nuclear plants under construction in the US today, and thus there won't be any online before Obama was to leave even a 2nd term.
And this is how much lower than the number of new licenses granted or plants built under say Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr, or Reagan?

In any case, the whole idea of funding nuclear plants is sort of silly to label as right wing philosophy, as a free market system would not accept nuclear power for decades into the future. Government overriding the will of the markets is supposed to be a left-wing idea, is it not? (which is to say that politics has only a little to do with the underlying philosophy and much more to do with short term control of emotional response)

Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE&feature=player_embedded" SP in 2003:
As President, he stopped promoting SP, but he still declines to argue directly against it; instead he threw his support behind the http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/05/obama_on_why_he_is_not_for_sin.html" [Broken], a close relative of SP that undoubtedly would become the thing itself in time, until the Public Option didn't exist as an 'option' any longer in Congress.
What he personally believes in is nowhere near as important as what he advocates for in the bills going through Congress. Despite his personal beliefs, he was right off the bat saying that Congress (meaning the Dems) ought to consider a bill which did not include a public option. Obama and Sebelius took plenty of flack from East and West coast Dems when they came out early with language that said it was okay to not have a public option.

As of today, Obama has permitted nothing new, so far he has only proposed to open some limited areas for offshore drilling.
Can we agree that you need to start with a proposal? And the proposal is to drill in areas that were restricted by a moratorium put in place by what can only have been the ultra-radical communist President: George H. W. Bush.
 
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  • #11
Ivan Seeking
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It is also noteworthy that he has only been in office a little over a year. He walked into the greatest financial crisis and job loss rate since the Great Depression - both of which have turned around. He has two wars on his plate. He tackled health care reform - 100 years overdue - and passed the biggest piece of legislation to pass in 40 years. He cut the the first significant arms deal with Russia in 20 years. He has been strong on foreign policy and anti-terrorism. In fact, the Dems now rank higher than Reps on the issue of foreign policy. To cherry pick issues and complain that Obama hasn't done anything is disingenuous at best.

The fact is that Obama has already done enough to secure his place in the history books as one of the great Presidents of all time.
 
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  • #12
turbo
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I really used to like McCain. When he picked Palin for VP, he betrayed my confidence. Now he seems more like a joke. What is sad is that his base has moved so far to the right that he is forced to deny his long history of bipartisanship in order to save his career.
Same here. The problem is endemic in the GOP. Conservatism is frowned upon there, and actual conservatives (and yes, there are conservatives in both parties, though far fewer than 30-40 years ago) are being edged out by a party apparatus that that rewards blindly pro-business neoconservatism. The GOP long ago gave up working for the common good. To the dismay of my father, I was a pretty loyal Republican for many years, until the party left me. I can't support the GOP or the Democratic Party anymore. They are both bought and paid for. All I can do is pick the lesser of two evils on election day, and hope that someday a strong independent party arises that distances itself from the DC partisanship and pay-to-play relationships with lobbies.
 
  • #13
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If Obama were as extremely liberal as Russ seems to think, I would have guessed that he would support the income surtax on the wealthy over the cadillac tax. It's not really strong support that he's not a radical, but it does suggest to me that he's only moderately liberal.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=8154699&page=1
"President Obama's endorsement of a health care surtax for the richest Americans has renewed criticism of the proposal, including from the man who once lorded over the nation's increasingly complicated tax code."

OK so this is an older article but just because he didn't get what he wanted doesn't mean he didn't support it.

Although (like the members of Congress who voted on it) I have not read the bill, it is my understanding that lots of taxes on the wealthy are on the way. These include eliminating the Bush tax cuts (I suppose some do not consider this a tax increase, but those paying it certainly do), raising the ceiling on self-employment tax and Medicare taxes, imposing new taxes on investment income, raising the estate tax, and so forth. These certainly seem like surtaxes on the wealthy to me. Oh, and they still get to pay the cadillac tax as well.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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Your link doesn't work.

Rolling back the Bush tax cuts puts the rate at the same level as under that raging liberal, Reagan. However, because of the economy, far fewer people will be affected.
 
  • #15
mheslep
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Since healthcare reform has been the focus of Obama's policy, let's focus on that for a bit. Obama's plan is very similar to a Republican healthcare plan in 1993 (see comparison here). The bill, proposed by 20 Republicans and 2 Democrats in the Senate, included a mandate for individuals to buy insurance, subsidies for the poor to by insurance and the requirement that insurers offer a standard benefits package and refrain from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions. The similarities between the 1993 bill and the current bill and the fact that these proposals are now anathema to Republicans suggest that it is the Republicans who have moved to the right, at least on this issue.
Quickly jumping in - I think you mis-characterize the comparison. Of course there is some commonality. I think the differences - tort reform, tax equalization for individual plans and several others - make them entirely different creatures. Also Keiser's wrong about the exchange - in the present law the exchange will be a creature of and by the federal government and not the states, even if it is hosted by the states.
 
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  • #16
mheslep
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I notice you haven't stated an opinion on Obama being an "extreme left wing President". Care to share?
Based on his actions to-date, not his rhetoric - owning GM, individual mortgage bailouts, vast spending, pending tax increases, the recent announcement by Volcker of the need for a US VAT, and this health law - yes I increasingly think he is very left wing. To place this in context, I'll add that I believe this to be the case at the US level; when comparing Obama to politicians abroad I'd place him much closer to past US politicians than most EU pols for example.
 
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  • #17
mheslep
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Rhetoric, plans, and announcements are all fine. My objection to jgens tally of political left/right data points was the listing of rhetorical references for political positioning, against a record of concrete actions ( or lack of when despite the power to do so). Much of the President's rhetoric I agree with - "new generation of nuclear", "this is America, we don't denigrate wealth", "For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. [...] Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."
And, regarding his actions, I have the impression they would have been even farther to the left if he thought it at all politically feasible.



Nuclear ------------------
For a year, everyone was complaining about him not setting up the blue-ribbon commission to look into waster disposal. Now that that's eventually happened, it's quickly forgotten?
Rhetorical case in point. Would you agree that if all one wanted to do was stall, delay and slow walk the nuclear issue, that creating 'commissions' on the subject would be a fine way to do so? The waste subject has been studied for decades. We have a prize winning physicist as Sec E. who can deeply grasp the subject, yet we get more commissions.
Gokul43201 said:
Is the absence of predictability of the NRC a fault of Obama's?
Yes. He's the chief executive, the executive branch executes regulation. He appointed the NRC's Jaczko. For at least the regulation aspect, if not the legislation, he's responsible.
Gokul43201 said:
And this is how much lower than the number of new licenses granted or plants built under say Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr, or Reagan?
We didn't have 50 year old plants, episodes of $150/bbl oil, new and safer AP1000 reactors under the latter three; Reagan came in just after Three Mile Island. Bush at least got the ball rolling with the 2005 Energy law, and ran the NRC in such a way that convinced some ~17 nuclear operators that the NRC was favourable enough to new plants to warrant paying large sums for permit applications. Still I'm happy to grant the Bush could have, and should have, done more to streamline NRC regulation.
Gokul43201 said:
In any case, the whole idea of funding nuclear plants is sort of silly to label as right wing philosophy, as a free market system would not accept nuclear power for decades into the future. Government overriding the will of the markets is supposed to be a left-wing idea, is it not? (which is to say that politics has only a little to do with the underlying philosophy and much more to do with short term control of emotional response)
Obama proposed loans, not funding. I agree that subsidies of any kind are not the stuff of a free market, and in general should be avoided for several reasons (political corruption, distortions of other markets). Instead I'd like to see no subsidies and a more streamlined NRC that was amenable to small low cost reactor designs (they're not). The reality is that government a) creates much of the expense for nuclear via regulation and an open door for bogus law suits, and b) subsidises nuclear's competition, both renewables and fossil.



Single Payer/Public Option ----------------
Gokul43201 said:
What he personally believes in is nowhere near as important as what he advocates for in the bills going through Congress.
Agreed. The claim was Obama didn't support single payer. There was no single payer bill in Congress to support, but he's surely spoken out in favor, and gives us an indication of where he'd like to go in the future. That, in conjunction with the Mini-Me single payer plan called public option, goes in my left wing column.
Gokul43201 said:
Despite his personal beliefs, he was right off the bat saying that Congress (meaning the Dems) ought to consider a bill which did not include a public option. Obama and Sebelius took plenty of flack from East and West coast Dems when they came out early with language that said it was okay to not have a public option.
Right off the bat is not my http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/05/obama_on_why_he_is_not_for_sin.html" [Broken] of events:
Obama said:
If you don't have health care or you're highly unsatisfied with your health care, then let's give you choices, let's give you options, including a public plan that you could enroll in and sign up for. That's been my proposal. (Applause.)



Offshore Drilling ------------------------
Gokul43201 said:
Can we agree that you need to start with a proposal?
Of course. My point is I don't give any right or left wing credit for this, yet.
And the proposal is to drill in areas that were restricted by a moratorium put in place by what can only have been the ultra-radical communist President: George H. W. Bush.
I'm not familiar with the context of that ban, but HWB does not define conservatism for me. As WFB said of the son, "he may be conservative, but he is not a conservative."
 
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  • #18
DavidSnider
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You're misreading the situation, Ivan. Yes, he's downplaying it because he's not crossing party lines, but it isn't because his base moved to the right it is because the line between the parties moved to the left. We have an extreme left wing President and a democratic majority in both houses, pushing a very liberal adjendas. There is nothing even for a moderate republican to cross party lines on: it is just too big of a gap to cross. To the contrary: the democrats are so far left that you have democrats breaking ranks and making the much shorter trip across the line to the right.

http://news.harrisinteractive.com/p...sp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=37050&Category=1777

Nearly a quarter of republicans think Obama "may be the antichrist" and you think it's the left that has become more radicalized?
 
  • #19
jgens
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http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=8154699&page=1
"President Obama's endorsement of a health care surtax for the richest Americans has renewed criticism of the proposal, including from the man who once lorded over the nation's increasingly complicated tax code."

OK so this is an older article but just because he didn't get what he wanted doesn't mean he didn't support it.

After both the House and Senate passed their respective health care bills, Obama and his administration threw thier support behind the Cadillac tax over the income surtax on the wealthy. And at a time when both options were still on the table.
 
  • #20
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Getting back to the OP
Sarah Palin was in AZ last week stumping with McCain. Guess what she said???

"If you want conservative solutions and common sense leadership ... to fight for what this state and country needs, I'm asking you to vote for John McCain," Palin told several thousand people packed into a fairground in Tucson, Arizona.

"Let's send the Maverick back to the Senate," she added, in her first appearance at the stump with McCain since he lost the November 2008 presidential election to Democrat Barack Obama and Palin lost her bid to be vice president to Joe Biden.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62P57W20100326

McCain can't keep that woman quiet. Oh and check out her black leather jacket.
 
  • #21
Gokul43201
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Based on his actions to-date, not his rhetoric - owning GM, individual mortgage bailouts, vast spending, pending tax increases, the recent announcement by Volcker of the need for a US VAT, and this health law - yes I increasingly think he is very left wing. To place this in context, I'll add that I believe this to be the case at the US level; when comparing Obama to politicians abroad I'd place him much closer to past US politicians than most EU pols for example.
Comparisons with EU pols are naturally not important here. By calling him "extreme left wing" one means Obama is far to the left of the middle of the Dem party (or if you wish, significantly to the left of average among recent Dem Presidents like Clinton, Carter, LBJ & JFK).
 
  • #22
mheslep
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Comparisons with EU pols are naturally not important here.
Ok, if you like.

By calling him "extreme left wing" one means Obama is far to the left of the middle of the Dem party (or if you wish, significantly to the left of average among recent Dem Presidents like Clinton, Carter, LBJ & JFK).
Lumping JFK in with that group politically is stretching the definition a bit. Also the Dem party has moved its politics to the left over time.

Regarding the points originally ticked off by jgen as evidence that Obama is not so far left: I'm increasingly convinced after some recent Machiavellian statements by R. Emanuel that the recent drilling and nuclear pronouncements are crap, just political game playing to hold down the Congressional wipe out come November. After November all these recent statements can all be quietly rescinded or thinned out to nothingness.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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Your list of grievances against Obama are more the result circumstance than philosophy. To not acknowledge this is indefensible. The most obvious problem with the far-left accusations is this: Did Obama nationalize the banks when he had the chance and was urged to do so by many leading economists? No. In fact, in many cases, we turned a tidy profit by acting as the lender of last resort.

As for the auto industry, who voted yea?

10 Republicans in all, including Luger and Dole. Also in the list, Webb, Inouye, and Lieberman. With those names on the list, I fail to see how one can claim this as a far-left ideological maneuver.
http://www.chuckypita.com/auto-bailout-bill-senate-list-and-roll-call-vote-for-who-voted-yes-and-who-voted-no/ [Broken]

It was a decision based on risk assesment: We could not afford to allow the auto industry and the supporting industries to fail during the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There is no justification to judge the actions taken in partisan or ideological terms. The response to the crisis was an engineered solution as required by the nature of the crisis. As with the bailout of the banking system, it would have been irresponsible and disastrous to act less boldly.

The conservative principle of deregulation, taken too far, left us with no options. There was the strong potential for a complete economic collapse that could last a decade or more. Many millions more jobs were at stake. To ignore the reality of this due to some fanciful ideology is ridiculous. Ideology is appropriate as a compass; not as an instruction manual based on a litmus test.
 
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  • #24
mheslep
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As for the auto industry, who voted yea?

10 Republicans in all, including Luger and Dole. Also in the list, Webb, Inouye, and Lieberman. With those names on the list, I fail to see how one can claim this as a far-left ideological maneuver.
http://www.chuckypita.com/auto-bailout-bill-senate-list-and-roll-call-vote-for-who-voted-yes-and-who-voted-no/ [Broken]
You've confused events. There was no vote on the government takeover of GM. The above refers to government loans, made foolishly as it turns out, in December of 2008. The Obama administration acted unilaterally after the the GM bankruptcy in on June 1, 2009 to grab GM.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124385428627671889.html

As for the rest, if nationalizing companies is not a left-wing action then there are no left wing actions. The 'we had to do it to save this, that, and the other thing' defense goes much further back than Obama.

BTW, the fact that Webb or whoever voted for the original bailout means nothing to me. I mentioned earlier that I respect those men as Americans even though I disagree with, that was the point of the thread. That doesn't mean their politics are not left wing or even not foolish sometimes.
 
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  • #25
Gokul43201
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Nuclear ------------------
Rhetorical case in point. Would you agree that if all one wanted to do was stall, delay and slow walk the nuclear issue, that creating 'commissions' on the subject would be a fine way to do so? The waste subject has been studied for decades. We have a prize winning physicist as Sec E. who can deeply grasp the subject, yet we get more commissions.
It's really hard to please you guys! Damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

I'm sure this will be made to fit into the shenanigans framework as well, but anyways ... from a 2005 hearing, when Obama sat in the Committee on Environment and Public Works: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/1962764...Congressional-Report-109th-Congress-2005-2006

Obama said:
STATEMENT OF HON. BARACK OBAMA, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.

As electricity demand throughout the Nation increases in the coming decades, we will be challenged in how best to meet these consumption demands without sacrificing the environment. That means creating jobs, protecting water and air quality, establishing energy independence, and using all of our energy resources fully and wisely.

I strongly support greater energy conservation and greater Federal investment in renewable technologies such as wind and solar, which ought to receive greater attention in our national energy policy than they likely will this year.

However, as Congress considers policies to address air quality and the deleterious effects of carbon emissions on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable—and realistic—for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration. Illinois has 11 nuclear power plants—the most of any State in the country—and nuclear power provides more than half of Illinois’ electricity needs.

But keeping nuclear power on the table—and indeed planning for the construction of new plants—is only possible if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is vigilant in its mission. We need better long-term strategies for storing and securing nuclear waste and for ensuring the safe operation of nuclear power plants. How we develop these strategies is a major priority for me.

I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses, and I thank the Chair for holding this hearing.
Words of a truly extreme left wing nut!
 
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