The foreign media is catching on to the fact that there is a distinct difference in the American public from a few years ago. Once, it was easy to understand why the American people allowed the most outrageous statements to circulate unchallenged, not the least evidence of which was an outrageous claim made by Frank Gaffney, Jr. of The Washington Times concerning a bogus Abraham Lincoln "quote" supporting the current-day concept of the Unitary Executive and used by Republican Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) during this week's Iraq debate.
FactCheck.org spokesman Brooks Jackson found that this "quote" came from an article written by conservative author J. Michael Waller in an article for Insight Magazine, and the Washington Post has printed an article exposing that fact. And, in a wonderful sign that the media is again fulfilling its role as the informant of the voters instead of acting as our propagandizer, so has CBS.
This would lead one to wonder just how blind and ignorant the stereotypical Republican voter is – or was – until one reads this article in The Nation about the Republican voters of District 11, John McCain's home district, threatening to leave the party because of McCain's recent comments.
This assertion is attributed to Rob Haney, the Republican state committeeman in Arizona's District 11, whose characterization of John McCain borders on the slanderous. "The guy has no core, his only principle is winning the presidency. He likes to call his campaign the 'straight talk express.' Well, down here we call it the 'forked tongue express.'"
District 11 voters hold extremely conservative views, and they feel that McCain is taking positions that are far too liberal for them to continue to support him. They don't like how he supports restricting "free speech" in the form of campaign finance reform, and they doubt his loyalty to their Second Amendment right to own assault weapons. In addition, his opposition to a Constitutional Amendment opposing gay marriage upsets them greatly.
But nothing has riled the Right in District 11 more than McCain's opposition to Arizona Proposition 200, a state ballot measure restricting public services for undocumented immigrants which passed with support from nearly 70 percent of GOP voters.
Would you trust such a guy who misreads his public so badly with the codes to America's nuclear arsenal? Haney hopes not!
Haney was himself the target of a McCain reprisal over a resolution in District 11 to censure McCain for "dereliction of his duties and responsibilities as a representative of the citizens of Arizona." The resolution passed overwhelmingly in District 11, and was introduced before the GOP committee of Maricopa County, once home to Barry Goldwater. Acceptance of Haney's resolution was nearly unanimous. Haney says, "McCain and the party establishment came down on me hard. They said, 'You're going to destroy his chances in the presidential campaign.'"
Haney hopes the general public sees McCain's "penchant for angry reprisals" before he can win the powers of the presidency. "This [reprisal] just shows that McCain is mentally unstable and out of control and vindictive," Haney told me. "If he is determined to go through that much trouble to attack a district committee chairman, what does that say about his ability to handle real political problems?"
Like McCain's complicity as one of the Keating Five in the massive Lincoln Savings fraud? That had to have adversely affected many residents of District 11!
While I do not support any of the cited positions of Rob Haney or the Republican voters of Arizona District 11, I support their grass-roots efforts to reclaim the control of the political process which rightfully belongs to We, the People of the United States of America. Whatever the decisions to be made, our Constitution defines that the People were to make those decisions through their elected representatives. Nowhere in that statement is there any qualification that once said representative has been elected s/he no longer has to listen to the Will of the People.
Our nation is doomed if the people of America do not become engaged in our political processes, and by engagement I don't mean a passive and accepting position as a member of a party. The Father of Our Country warned us against the dangers of such "factions", and the attitude of McCain and the rest of the modern-day corporo-political establishment toward the citizen-voter exemplifies the personification of those dangers being realized.
Our Constitution is broad enough to encompass the very conservative views of Arizona as well as the very liberal views of Malibu, and it also provides a process by which our differences could be expressed, and agreement on an issue reached, through debate and compromise. It may well be that it's the worst of all possible political methods except for all the others, but it has mostly worked for this nation since 1789.
Let's keep it alive.