Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Erratic Maverick Wanders the Range

October 20, 2008
Terre Tribune Star

Readers' Forum: Oct. 21, 2008

Do we want reason, or an erratic ‘maverick’?

mav·er·ick n. 1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.American Heritage Dictionary

It’s easy to figure out whose brand self-styled “maverick” John McCain carries. He’s supported Bush administration legislation to the tune of 90 percent with his Senate votes. The brand on this maverick is clear and deep. It reads “McBush.”

Does a career as a wandering, lowing calf shuffling about the stalls of power on the D.C. range for a long 26 years qualify McBush as a dissenting independent? All his lost looping about is just so much erratic behavior. The McBush record, recent and past, bears this out.

Is McBush against the lobbyist outlaws riding the Beltway frontier? Not really. He voted for lobbying reform, but he has a small herd of formerly high paid lobbyists on his campaign staff. Among them are John Green and Wayne Berman. They both lobbied for Fannie Mae, the unregulated and failed mortgage giant.

At age 72, with more than one of his houses down the street from Arizona retirement homes, it’s not independent to support a “patients’ bill of rights” legislation. But just don’t ask the maverick-erratic McBush if he thinks health care in this country of the aging, the infirm and the uninsured is a right. He squirms and kicks like a heifer in heat when he hears this.

In desperation, McBush’s campaign tries to lasso ’60s radical, Bill Ayers, and tie him around Barak Obama’s neck. Obama was 8 years old when Ayers went off the range of political normality. McBush embraced current radicals of the cloth, Jerry Falwell and Pastor John Hagee, during the recent primary season. He needed their stamp of approval. Falwell blamed 9/11 on gays and John Hagee called the Roman Catholic Church “the great whore.” What part of their brand is still on this maverick?

On the human and economic disaster that is the Iraq war, McBush has ranged widely. First he jumped on the brainless Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld chuck wagon to start a needless war. Then McBush, maverick-style, ran off in all directions at once on how this impossibly costly war was being fought. Now he’s happy to set up camp for “50 to 100 years” in Iraq’s bloody desert pasture. But don’t ask him whether or not this endless war should have been started in the first place. That question is beyond the barbwire fence of his campaign “victory” sloganeering. Not up for “straight talk” discussion.

How did McBush go about making his first significant decision as the potential president of the United States? McBush chose his vice presidential running mate in the blink of an eye and the nod of his head. If McBush is elected, Sarah Palin is a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world. Too much locoweed in this maverick’s diet? Or was this a calculated and cynical political move by McBush that ignored the nation’s well-being?

Obama and McBush both wave the banner of “change.” Shouldn’t change be based on carefully reasoned decision-making in the White House? Or should we trust to the leadership of a self-styled erratic maverick stumbling along the trail?

Vote on Nov. 4, 2008.

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