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Friday, April 4, 2008

Martin luther King, John McCain and The Hate McCain Cannot Hide

AAPP: There was no "Heart or Soul" in John McCain's recent speech on Martin Luther King, Jr. It really was not John McCain's words. John McCain words and deeds were truly spoken when he voted against Martin Luther King's Birthday becoming a national holiday.

Here is the real record of John McCain:

John McCain has said he championed establishing a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and that he is "very proud" of his record. But the truth is, McCain has a long record of opposing the holiday.

In fact, in 1983 McCain did something not even Dick Cheney did: he voted in Congress against a federal holiday in honor of Dr. King, which President Reagan later signed into law. In 1987, McCain supported Arizona Governor Evan Mecham's action to rescind an executive order establishing a state holiday in Martin Luther King's honor.

Even in 1989, when McCain finally came around and supported a state holiday, he said he was "still opposed to another federal holiday." As recently as 2000, McCain reportedly said he "resented it when people outside of Arizona got involved" in the issue. [FOXNews.com, 4/3/08; ABC News, 4/3/08; Huffington Post, 4/1/08; Wall Street Journal, 4/3/08; AP, 2/29/00]

McCain apparently thinks a stop in Memphis can gloss over that part of his bio, but -- as one reporter noted -- McCain's "views on race in the 1980s do not stand up to the sunlight of America a quarter-century later." [ABC News, 4/3/08]

1983: McCain Votes Against Federal MLK Day. In 1983 McCain voted against establishing a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. "Most Republicans in the House voted for the holiday (89 voted for the holiday, 77 opposed), though all three Arizona House Republicans were opposed. Reps. Dick Cheney, R-Wyoming, and Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, voted for the holiday. (Cheney had voted against it in 1978.)" [ABC News, 4/3/08]

1987: McCain Opposes Arizona MLK Holiday. In Arizona, Democratic governor Bruce Babbitt issued an executive order to establish an MLK holiday. Yet "[i]n January 1987, the first act of Arizona's new governor, Republican Evan Mecham, was to rescind the executive order by his predecessor to create an MLK holiday. Arizona's stance became a national controversy. McCain backed the decision at the time." [ABC News, 4/3/08]

1989: McCain Still Opposes Federal Holiday. Even though he now supported establishing a state holiday for Martin Luther King, he said he "said he was 'still opposed to another federal holiday.'" [Huffington Post, 4/1/08]

2000: McCain Said He Had Opposed Instituting MLK Day On A National Level. In 2000, it was reported that "McCain has said he supported implementing the holiday on a state level but resented it when people outside of Arizona got involved." [Associated Press, 2/29/2000]

After casting himself as a "Maverick" in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced. On the campaign trail McCain has callously abandoned many of his previously held positions, even contradicted himself, in a blatant attempt to remake himself into a candidate Republicans can accept in 2008. So just who is the real John McCain? The Democratic National Committee will present a daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth.

CNN: Got it Wrong Again, the fact of the matter is John McCain was jeered and booed, not approved. One person yelled "we all make mistakes" probably a McCain campaign worker. The people who were shaking his hand were also probably McCain Campaign Workers.

Now get this, as reported by Atlantic.com John McCain's remarks to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference here on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King were written by his campaign's newest hire, Matthew Scully, the former White House speechwriter and essayist.

"It's just a lovely piece of writing," said Mark Salter, McCain's senior strategist and principle speechwriter. "Just right out of the box, he really gets John in his first speech."

McCain's words are mostly about Dr. King. But then there is this paragraph of contrition:

Sometimes the most radical thing is to be confronted with our own standards -- to be asked simply that we live up to the principles we profess. Even in this most idealistic of nations, we do not always take kindly to being reminded of what more we can do, or how much better we can be, or who else can be included in the promise of America. We can be slow as well to give greatness its due, a mistake I made myself long ago when I voted against a federal holiday in memory of Dr. King. I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support for a state holiday in Arizona. We can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing, and Dr. King understood this about his fellow Americans. But he knew as well that in the long term, confidence in the reasonability and good heart of America is always well placed. And always, that was his method in word and action -- to remind us of who we are and what we believe. His arguments were unanswerable and they were familiar, the case always resting on the writings of the Founders, the teachings of the prophets, and the Word of the Lord.

The invitation from the SCLC was extended last week, and the campaign eagerly accepted. They are just as eager to want to rebut the conventional wisdom that McCain has no chance of wresting more than a tenth of the black vote away from Barack Obama; maybe the results will be futile in November, but there will be plenty of campaign trips to places that Republicans don't normally campaign. (There is also, as always, the subtle messages that are sent to race-conscious moderate whites.)

McCain sees King's life of one of service to America.; Coincidentally, the name of McCain's biographical tour is "Service to America."

Here is how McCain ends his speech:

And yet for all of this, forty years and a world away, we look up to that balcony, we remember that night, and we are still left with a feeling of loss. Here was a young man who composed one of literature's finest testimonies to the yearning for equality and justice under law -- writing on the margins of a newspaper, in the confinement of a prison cell. Here was a preacher who endured beatings, survived bombings, suffered knifings, abuse, and ridicule, and still placed his trust in the Prince of Peace. Here was a husband and father who will stand to children in every generation as a model of Christian manhood, but never got to raise his own sons and daughters, or to share in the gift of years with his good wife.

All of this was lost on the fourth of April, 1968, and there are no consolations to balance the scale. What remains, however, is the example and witness of The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and that is forever.

AAPP: One speech cannot erase hatred towards Martin Luther King or his dream of equality. Great job Matthew Scully you tried. What are your thoughts?

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