Monday, February 25, 2008

McCain Wishing Castro Dead

A comment Sen. John McCain made during his visit to Indianapolis last Friday about the dying Cuban leader Fidel Castro hasn't received as much attention as perhaps it should. During his town hall meeting at Emmis Communications, limited to a small crowd, a few VIPs and a gaggle of reporters, McCain made what can only be called an outrageous statement, saying he hoped the ailing Castro died soon. Quoting McCain, Reuters writes:

"I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon," McCain told a town-hall style meeting of about 150 people, referring to communist theoretician Marx who died on March 14, 1883.

Castro, 81, announced on Tuesday he was stepping down as president and Commander-in-chief of Cuba's armed forces after 49 years in power. His brother Raul Castro is expected to be named Cuba's new head of state on Sunday.

"Apparently he is trying to groom his brother Raul," McCain said. "Raul is worse in many respects than Fidel was."

McCain's comment might play well with Florida's Cuban-American population, but it's not the kind of talk one would expect from a person who wants to be our Commander In Chief. And by the way, could he have used the term "by the way" any more times during that rambling speech? He's a totally uninspiring leader aside from being a poor public speaker. Not much to look forward to this fall on the Republican ticket.


Anonymous said...

Who cares if the guy is a good speaker or not? I mean, really, we've had people who were great speakers who weren't good leaders. We've had average to poor speakers who turned out to be excellent leaders (Truman comes to mind.)

For my money, of all the Democrats, I liked Joe Biden the best. Articulate. Smart. Funny. And more foreign policy experience than HRC and BO could ever dream to have.

As for McCain, yes, he's stilted. Not everyone is blessed with the gift of gab.

If it's so easy, why don't you run for office, Gary?

I'm not trying to have a confrontation here, but if you're complaining about the content of McCain's speech, that's one thing; if it's that he's not a great speaker, that's really immaterial.

Barack Obama is an *AWESOME* speaker, but has no specifics. Would you rather have that?


Gary R. Welsh said...

He's had many years of public speaking experience. I do expect better of him. And because of his experience, I don't expect him to make foolish statements which only increase the dislike many people elsewhere around the world have for our country, particularly given our past history of trying to assassinate Castro.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who claims that Obama has no specifics hasn't taken the time to educate him or herself on his positions. Folks need to take ownership of their roles as voters instead of depending on someone else to characterize a candidate for them.

Anonymous said...

Geeze, Gary. What's it take to inspire you? As someone too young to serve in Vietnam and too old for Iraq, I'm damned inspired by someone who spent five years being tortured in a prison camp for my freedom.

Gary R. Welsh said...

tjefferson, I spent a lot of hours volunteering for Bob Dole'e election back when he challenged H.W. Bush in 1988. I have nothing against war heroes, but McCain has showed bad judgment time and time again. Some people might like to forget he was never a part of the Keating Five but it can't be erased from his record.

Anonymous said...

I was in college during McCain's first run in 2000...he's inspired me ever since.

Apparently I'm not alone. I attended rallies during his '00 and '08 campaigns and saw a helluva lot of inspired people there...many young people and even crusty, old vets with tears in their eyes.

Sometimes you don't know what you're talking about.

Besides, Castro is a murderous dictator. I also hope he has a tete a tete with Marx soon...and Hitler too.

Anonymous said...

Intersting that McCain promotes American corporations making money off dealing with repressive communist governments like China and Vietnam yet calls out for a contract on Castro.
What would one expect from the Manchurian Candidate McCain.

Anonymous said...

Gary, Robert Bennett, the Democrat council for the Keating 5 investigation, tried to have McCain completely removed from the report because he concluded McCain was totally innocent. He couldn't get the Democrats to agree unless the Republicans would drop one of the Democrats from the report (John Glenn, if I recall correctly).

Anonymous said...

I watched a piece on the news this past weekend where they showed the youth of Cuba. They are angry and frustrated because they are tired of living in such a run down country. They know they could have so much better than what they have now, so it is time for change in Cuba and major change or Castro will see a revolution like he has never seen.

Anonymous said...

tjjefferson, I worked on CapHill in 1980, and your recollection of the Keating 5 fiasco bears no resemblance to reality. Not even close. Sen. Glenn was implicated; Sen. McCain was in up to his neck. It's the old bacon-and-eggs thing. McCain was the bacon.

The entire scandal began with an Arizona S&L, in McCain's back yard. The CEO went to prison for breaking S&L regulations and securities laws, as I recall--and the regulatory climate then was nowhere near what it is today. In fact, most of the banking regulations are stiffer today as a result of Keating and the subsequent Silverado debacle (which involved the Bushes...hmmmmm....)

On another front mentioned by Gary--I listened to Sen McCain's presentation at the "rally" last week in Indy. On Abdul's radio show this AM. It wasn't a rally. All but about 20 seats were reserved for corporate bigwigs and folks from Scott Jones's company, I believe--and McCain heaped praise on that company lavishly.

It was a themeless incoherent disatribe. He rambled from subject to subject without prompting. A scary performance from a potential leader of the free world. No fewer than five jabs about the weather. I'd attribute it to jetlag but that would be charitable.

I deeply admire his personal sacrifice for our nation when he was a young Naval officer.

But that is scant reason to elect him to anything, much less the presidency. Abdul promised to post the speech on his website today. If it's there, and if you hear it, see if you don't agree. It was simply awful.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:07

Your proximity to Capitol Hill in 1980 doesn't change the facts. Robert Bennett was the independent counsel employed by the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the scandal. He is a Democrat. He recommended, after his investigation, that McCain and Sen. John Glenn be dropped from the investigation. The Republicans and Democrats couldn't come up with a deal, so both McCain and Glenn remained. But, McCain received the mildest rebuke from the Senate Ethics Committee.

If you don't believe me, check out this article from the Arizona Republic:

You're just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

Let me recommend another article that refutes your version of the Keating 5 affair, Anon. 9:07. This is from Slate:

From the article:
The Senate Ethics Committee probe of the Keating Five began in November 1990, and committee Special Counsel Robert Bennett recommended that McCain and Glenn be dropped from the investigation. They were not. McCain believes Democrats on the committee blocked Bennett's recommendation because he was the lone Keating Five Republican.
In February 1991, the Senate Ethics Committee found McCain and Glenn to be the least blameworthy of the five senators. (McCain and Glenn attended the meetings but did nothing else to influence the regulators.) McCain was guilty of nothing more than "poor judgment," the committee said, and declared his actions were not "improper nor attended with gross negligence." McCain considered the committee's judgment to be "full exoneration," and he contributed $112,000 (the amount raised for him by Keating) to the U.S. Treasury.

Anonymous said...

Final comment: I intend to vote for Obama. He is the best choice for a fractured, wounded body politic and the logical choice to clean up the disaster that W has visited upon us. But John McCain is an honorable man and if he wins, our country will be in good hands. If Hillary Clinton is the Dem nominee, I'll enthusiastically vote for McCain. An Obama/McCain contest would be the best Presidential election choice in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Again, tjj--try to pay attention:

The entire Keating 5 scandal began in McCain's back yard.

He introduced the later-jailed banker to most,if not all, of the senators involved.

Mr. Bennett was outside counsel to the investigations committee, which, technically, in legal terms, returned a no-bill against Glenn and McCain.

But everyone who was familiar with the case, would tell you, McCain was in up to his neck. It is entirely possible he was naive about Keating's ultimat goals, but it is a fact:

The scandal began, and ended, through his campaign committee. And his committee resisted Senate subpeonas until they were threatened with a contempt citation.

Back then, the FEC was relatively toothless. It took the Contempt threat to get McCain's treasurer to ante up the information sought. As soon as it was, the case unfolded like a cheap accordian.

And make no mistake: McCain's distribe here last week was the sound of an aged, rambling fool.
Abdul PodCasted it--listen for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Fidel Castro is only slightly older than John McCain....I would be more careful if I were McCain.

Anonymous said...

I'm not necessarily an "age-ist." For most jobs, age is not relevant to me.

But I keep thinking about my dad,wh is only one year older than Sen. McCain. My dad is in excellent physical health and always has been. But he is not physiclal y up to the rigors of the presidency.

Few people are.

The last time we elected someone in this age range, Reagan napped often, and McFarlane/North et al
hijacked the Constitution and our federal laws during one of those naps.

And we ran up the second-largest deficit in history, contrary to the sitting president's stated budgetary conservatism.

Second only to W's deficits, by the way, but I digress....

The presidency no longer allows sleep-walking. And the very definition of sleep-walking is McCain's speech here last week. It was chilling.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan had the right idea. He led a trade mission to Cuba with much criticism. If we opened up trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba, we might be surprised at how much we could improve life in Cuba instead of just trying to wall them off.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:17 wrote:

"But everyone who was familiar with the case, would tell you, McCain was in up to his neck."

"Everyone"? Try to pay attention, Anon. 6:17. The counsel hired by the Democrats to investigate the issue, the person who knew THE MOST about this entire affair, said McCain was entirely innocent. He recently reiterated that in an interview on CNN.

You have an agenda, but your agenda doesn't change the facts. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Why does America have to wait for Castro to die to normalize relations with Cuba. 1962 was so long ago that most Americans don't even remember the missile crisis that had the world on the edge of
a nuclear war. That is history.
And, this repressive embargo should become history with it. It has done nothing to unseat Fidel and has served only to make life rough on the Cuban people.
If this isn't time? When?

Anonymous said...

Cuba is the third rail of Florida electoral politics. Any national politician who wishes to carry the vote-rich SE region, must pander to the anti-Castro forces who are huddled there.

And we all know how important Florida has been in recent national elections.

That pandering attitude is the only thing that can explain some Floridian political decisions. Iliana Ros Lethien, a Congresswoman from SE Fla., hasn't uttered an intellegent phrase in two decades, but she's cemented into the House because she's Cuban-born.

To steal and adapt a famous Joe Biden line: all her sentences are a subject, a verb, and Castro. (Stealing a Joe Biden quixotic)

Slowly this sentiment is melting away. Younger Cubans, and many under-30 Cuban-Americans, desparately want normalized travel and trade relations.

For God's sake, we trade with China, and their despot-lined halls of power are more ruthless than an aging Cuban president or his wacky brother.

Our foreign policy toward Cuba has not reflected reality for at least 25 years. When Barack Obama says he wants to talk with foreign enemies as well as friends, I have to ask: why not? It can't hurt. Our current world prominence is reduced to shambles because of George W. Bush.

Again, we "talk" and trade our asses off with China. How about some consistency with foreign dictators?

But then, the Castro family doesn't own one-fifth of our national debt like China does. One-fifth and growing. Ugh.