Monday, June 30, 2008

Coopt the Vote

Earlier this spring, John McCain voiced his opposition to a bi-partisan bill (introduced by Jim Webb) that sought to vastly expand educational assistance, and other benefits, for our veterans and active duty military personnel. Webb's bill represented a long overdue means for this country to share in the sacrifice, ever-so-slightly, and to begin repaying our military personnel for all they have endured, honorably and selflessly, over the past 6+ years. McCain, on the other hand, felt that Webb's bill went too far, and put forth an alternative bill with more modest benefits.

When the final bill was put to a vote last week, McCain was conspicuously absent (other than Kennedy, who missed the vote for health reasons, McCain was the only Senator not to vote). Only six senators voted "no" in fact (all of them Republicans FWIW). One might be tempted to say that McCain showed character on this issue - opposing a popular piece of legislation out of principle on the grounds that he disagreed with its substance. That temptation would lead one astray, however, as McCain shamelessly set about taking credit for the bill's passage at a recent campaign event:

I'm happy to tell you that we probably agreed to an increase in educational benefits for our veterans that not only gives them an increase in their educational benefits, but if they stay in for a certain period of time than they can transfer those educational benefits to their spouses and or children. That's a very important aspect I think of incentivizing people of staying in the military.

"We"? Stay classy John. And keep up the straight talk.

Suffice it to say, Obama voted in favor of the bill (and signed on early as a co-sponsor). Which makes this McCain cheap shot even cheaper:

Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.

Talk is cheap, and tuition is expensive. You earn that "right" by backing up your lofty rhetoric with actual votes. Otherwise, your advocacy is little more than a campaign expedient.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?