Thursday, May 20, 2004

John McCain Doesn't Know About Sacrifice

As I have said on this site before, John McCain is a man of integrity and political honesty. He is one of a dying breed in the increasingly extreme conservative Republican Party who is willing to put common sense and pragmatism ahead of ideological and political concerns. Furthermore, he is actually a true conservative, philosophically speaking, who believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a reluctance to tinker with the Constitution for the sake of political campaigns.

McCain's honesty and integrity is apparently ruffling some feathers in his own party. Especially McCain's suggestion that the wealthiest Americans should sacrifice a portion of the windfall provided by Bush's tax cuts in order to fund the war effort and trim the historically, and perilously, out of control budget deficits.

The response yesterday from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), was a vicious attack on McCain's credentials as a Republican and also the suggestion that McCain does not understand "sacrifice." Just a reminder to Hastert and his fellow Republicans, John McCain spent years being abused and tortured in a POW camp in Vietnam after his fighter jet was shot down. McCain actually refused early release from this prison's hell because it was gained because of his connections, and he refused to take advantage of his connections while his fellow soldiers would have to remain in the POW camp. My guess is, and it is just a guess, John McCain knows more about sacrifice than Dennis Hastert.

As reported on CNN:

The exchange started when a reporter asked: "Can I combine a two issues, Iraq and taxes? I heard a speech from John McCain the other day..."

Hastert: "Who?"

Reporter: "John McCain."

Hastert: "Where's he from?"

Reporter: "He's a Republican from Arizona."

Hastert: "A Republican?"

Amid nervous laughter, the reporter continued with his question: "Anyway, his observation was never before when we've been at war have we been worrying about cutting taxes and his question was, 'Where's the sacrifice?' "

Hastert: "If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And, at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong."

McCain responded with a sensible argument:

"'The Speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops," McCain said.

"All we are called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility. Apparently those days are long gone for some in our party.'"

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