Friday, January 11, 2008

Reflections on the Debate (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)- No. 3

No one running for the Repub nomination for president is a friend of the hard-working, American middle and working class, but one exchange at the 1/10/08 debate reflected an interesting difference in attitude. The question from GOP TV's Chris Wallace was:

Governor Romney, do you believe that we're headed for a recession? And given your record in Massachusetts, which had the third lowest job growth of any state during the years you were governor, why should voters trust you over these other gentlemen to handle a slowdown?

In an otherwise standard response, Romney remarked "and I know that there are some people who think, as Senator McCain did, he said, you know, some jobs have left Michigan that are never coming back. I disagree. I'm going to fight for every single job, Michigan, South Carolina, every state in this country." John McCain shot back in part:

One of the reasons why I won in New Hampshire is because I went there and told them the truth. And sometimes you have to tell people things they don't want to hear, along with things that they do want to hear. There are jobs -- let's have a little straight talk -- there are some jobs that aren't coming back to Michi-gan. There are some jobs that won't come back here to South Carolina."a.

This is the kind of "straight talk" the media loves from John McCain. This is not surprising, given that their jobs are not the ones which are being obliterated by outsourcing, "free trade," corporate tax breaks, and the like. I don't know whether Romney is sincere here, but he is correct, and "the truth"- as Senator McCain sees it- is the truth only if politicians stand idly by. This contempt for the American industrial worker, however, is not surprising. This is the same John McCain who made his attitude clear in a question-and-answer session on April 6, 2006 before the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department. From

McCain responded by saying immigrants were taking jobs nobody else wanted. He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona.
Shouts of protest rose from the crowd, with some accepting McCain’s job offer.
“I’ll take it!” one man shouted.
McCain insisted none of them would do such menial labor for a complete season. “You can’t do it, my friends.”
Some in the crowd said they didn’t appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic.

We've all seen it, from people, men and women in all professions. Men working on a roof, the 90-degree sun beating down on the black shingles; truck drivers rolling down the highway (sometimes illegally) for hours on end because their pay depends on it; ; waittresses, sometimes single or divorced mothers, on their feet all day taking orders at the minimum wage, enduring aggravation and exhausion because only with tips from unappreciative customers can they pay for the food, shelter, or clothing for their children. These are only a few examples; you know dozens more. And we know also that the Great McCain has not one bit of interest in the American worker and the jobs tens of millions work hard at every day.

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