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 October, 2008


 The Incredible Shrinking McCain

McCain’s Last Stand
By Al Owens

I sure can’t wait ‘til the next presidential debate. What’s that? There aren’t anymore?

Do you mean to tell me that after he’s appeared in two dozen debates, people (who’d probably never vote for him anyway) are still claiming, “We don’t know who Barack Obama really is?”

Personally, I don’t know who John McCain is, even though he was once my congressman when I lived in Arizona, he’s become an enigma to me.

He’s gone from a guy who championed some worthy causes, to a sneering, leering, mugging, ill-tempered, mean-spirited and angry (keep that word in mind) coot – within the span of this election cycle.

“I’m not President Bush,” he proudly scolded Barack Obama during Wednesday night’s debate. I could have told you that.

In fact, I will. John McCain isn’t George Bush.

My tip-off? More often than not he uses grammatically correct sentences.
Otherwise, I’ll say he sounds just like every disciple of Ronald Reagan (including Bush) who claim that all liberals want to do is reach into your wallet and give your hard earned money to people who don’t deserve it.
Unfortunately, that’s a tough sell when both Obama and McCain recently voted to put the better part of a trillion dollars in the hands of people most Americans believe don’t deserve it.

Oh, John McCain detests earmarks. Well, he voted for a $150 billion dollars worth of earmarks in that bailout bill.

For me, the low point of that debate (or perhaps high point if you’re a conservative) came when McCain was asked if he’d have a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees.

The ever anti-Bush McCain sounded exactly like the guy he claims he isn’t, when discussing his stand on abortion and the judges he’d nominate to the Supreme Court.

During a 2000 debate with Al Gore, Bush said, “Voters should assume that I have no litmus test on that issue or any other issue.”

During a debate with John Kerry in 2004, Bush said much the same thing, to the very same question, “No litmus test except for how they interpret the Constitution.”

McCain’s answers were nearly identical to Bush’s on Wednesday night. “I believe strongly that we should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications rather than any litmus test,” he told moderator Bob Schieffer.

I wouldn’t have fallen off my couch at the point, but McCain didn’t stop at merely doing an impression of George Bush better than anything I’d seen recently on Saturday Night Live.

Being that having a litmus test really means nominating people who share his disdain for any form of abortion – McCain/Bush Light strode heavily into minefield of his own making.

McCain’s “qualifications” argument seemed rather logical until he added that anybody who supports Roe vs. Wade is unqualified.

That means, while he claims he has no litmus test, he has a litmus test.

But McCain wasn’t finished being McCain/Bush. He tried to tackle Obama on the subject of the health exemption when a mother’s life is threatened by the birth of a child.

The issue of abortion is a bit too serious for air quotes. (The practice of mixing sarcasm with two sets of raised fingers to make a point you really don’t believe in the first place)

McCain’s sneer factor reached new levels when he air-quoted the word health. “That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, ‘health,’” he smugly proclaimed.

Well, that didn’t sound nice.

But then McCain seems content not appearing to be nice. He used the word “angry” (as in American’s are angry) five times during the debate. Then he tried to show us what anger looks like every time he gazed in Obama’s direction.

Obama seemed unfazed by McCain’s use of the word anger. Of course, he stayed away from the use of such characterizations of Americans, because when he’d used the similar description - “bitter” - he’d been compared to the anti-Christ by conservatives.

McCain isn’t afraid of such recriminations these days. Angry, may as well be his middle-name. He’s got nothing to lose – except the election.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net