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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Vet's Vetting

At his Town Hall meeting in Denver, John McCain was confronted by a veteran over the conflict between McCain's constant statements that he's been endorsed by every major Veteran's Organization, received their highest awards, yada yada, and the reality of his voting record over the last five years. The vet questioning the Senator begged to differ with McCain's take on himself.

In addition to showing that McCain walks a fine line with his temper (something we all know, but I forget....is that on the list of approved things we're allowed to discuss about McCain?), it also reveals him for the liar he is. Have a look:

Well, I wanted to poke around The Google a little bit, to see what I could round up, but thankfully, Veterans for Common Sense had already done the legwork for me. The following is chock full of links to the actual senate roll call votes (which, as the VfCS note, have themselves links to all of the underlying bills and amendments), and I've bolded the specific votes the vet at the town hall was referring to. But the sum total points to a less than perfect record overall:

In mid 2007, Senator Reid noted that McCain missed 10 of the past 14 votes on Iraq. However, here is a summary of a dozen votes (two that he missed and ten that he voted against) with respect to Iraq, funding for veterans or for troops, including equipment and armor. I have also included other snippets related to the time period when the vote occurred.

September 2007: McCain voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments. At the time, nearly 65% of people polled in a CNN poll indicted that "things are going either moderately badly or very badly in Iraq.

July 2007: McCain voted against a plan to drawdown troop levels in Iraq. At the time, an ABC poll found that 63% thought the invasion was not worth it, and a CBS News poll found that 72% of respondents wanted troops out within 2 years.

March 2007: McCain was too busy to vote on a bill that would require the start of a drawdown in troop levels within 120 days with a goal of withdrawing nearly all combat troops within one year. Around this time, an NBC News poll found that 55% of respondents indicated that the US goal of achieving victory in Iraq is not possible. This number has not moved significantly since then.

February 2007: For such a strong supporter of the escalation, McCain didn’t even bother to show up and vote against a resolution condemning it. However, at the time a CNN poll found that only 16% of respondents wanted to send more troops to Iraq (that number has since declined to around 10%), while 60% said that some or all should be withdrawn. This number has since gone up to around 70%.

June 2006: McCain voted against a resolution that Bush start withdrawing troops but with no timeline to do so.

May 2006: McCain voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care facilities.

April 2006: McCain was one of only 13 Senators to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.

March 2006: McCain voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

March 2004: McCain once again voted for abusive tax loopholes over veterans when he voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans' medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating abusive tax loopholes. Jeez, McCain really loves those tax loopholes for corporations, since he voted for them over our veterans' needs.

October 2003: McCain voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for United States forces in Iraq and to reduce the amount provided for reconstruction in Iraq by $322,000,000.

April 2003: McCain urged other Senate members to table a vote (which never passed) to provide more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment in Iraq related to a shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, and tactical vests.

August 2001: McCain voted against increasing the amount available for medical care for veterans by $650,000,000. To his credit, he also voted against the 2001 Bush tax cuts, which he now supports making permanent, despite the dire financial condition this country is in, and despite the fact that he indicated in 2001 that these tax cuts unfairly benefited the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

It sure would be some kind of good for an enterprising reporter or two (McCain's base, don't y'know) to ask about these specific votes and how they seem to be in direct conflict with the McCain myth.

Or is the plan to simply let John McCain peddle whatever sort of BS he wants as long as it's prefaced with "Nobody respects and admires the veterans more than I do, my friend?"

If so, I didn't get the memo.

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