Bad News (and Badder) for McCain

The airwaves were positively dripping with the "news" that Sen. John McCain could not remember the number of houses and his wife Cindy own. The correct answer is seven. Mrs. McCain is the heiress of a beer distribution company and is known to be fabulously wealthy. Her 2006 tax returns showed that she earned more than $6 million on her investments which would put her net worth in the $75-125 million range. None of which tells us much about John McCain aptitude for the presidency but that did not prevent the Obama campaign from having an ad up on the subject within hours.

McCain has a couple of problems here and his wealth is not one of them. The first problem is that he has successfully spent much of the summer convincing the nation that Obama, who owns only one home, is an elitist. It is true that Obama went to Columbia and Harvard, but why is that a bad thing? There is a reason that doctors display their diplomas on the walls of their offices: Who wants to hire someone who is not well educated to undertake an important task?


The second problem is that McCain said as recently as Wednesday that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and most Americans do not perceive that strength. The brouhaha over the houses is especially difficult for McCain because of the role of the housing market and the subprime mortgage crisis in bringing about the more general economic downturn.

The third problem for McCain, and the most important in this regard, is that he has backed away from his earlier commitment to economic policies that were more favorable to the middle class and embraced George Bush-style social Darwinism. More tax breaks for the wealthy. No real effort to achieve affordable health care. Unlike FDR and JFK, two fabulously rich patricians, today’s GOP has no sense of noblesse oblige when it comes to the tax code. Middle class and poor folk loved FDR and did not begrudge them his riches because he identified with their challenges and helped them get jobs. Conversely, McCain seems entirely out of touch with the struggles of most Americans.

The big news yesterday, and the more important news for the next president, did not come from the real estate records in La Jolla but from Iraq. Agreement has been reached between the Iraqi and U.S. governments on a troop withdrawal by 2011. This is life-threatening to the McCain campaign. Their different plans for Iraq were one of the principal differences between the two presidential candidates, and McCain seemed more confident in defending his side of that quarrel than Obama did his. With that debate now moot, the major difference between the two is their approach to the economy and the man with seven houses seems ill-suited to win that debate.

Michael Sean Winters


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
10 years 2 months ago
It seems that the Ten Commandments were a little too specific, allowing individuals to focus on one or the other Commandment to the point of diminishing the equal importance of the rest. Jesus simplified them down to Two Great Commandments: Love the Lord your God and love others as yourselves. While simplifying the directions, Jesus also magnified their scope by including God and his entire family in our call to be shephards and stewards of our Father's creation. "From conception to natural death" is a challenging rallying cry and is true to our Brother's words and example and to our Father's will. Yes, we are all called to end voluntary and/or forced abortions. Laws will not make this happen. We must make sure that not only women but men as well have access to information about their bodies, including the spiritual and mental aspects. We must also provide access to pre-natal, natal and post-natal care, and continued assistance and support, again for both parents. But we cannot stop there. We must also provide formation, again for the physical, mental and spiritual (or moral) aspects of our sisters and brothers. The same emphasis we place on abortion should be equalled by our attention to issues of capital punishment, war (whether "just" or unjust), isolationism, racism, clouded patriotism, economic injustice, intolerance and triumphalism, to name just a few. Our guildeline should be not under what circumstances is a violation of a Commandment not a sin, but rather what situation absolves us from Jesus' command and example: Love one another as I have loved you.
10 years 2 months ago
Aside from his dedication to abortion without restrictions, and his voting against a bill to prohibit infacticide of the victims of botched abortions - (I have listened to his stumbling attempts to wriggle out of this,and they are mendacious.) - Obama is a rather likeable fellow, without a shred of experience that would qualify for him to be Chief Executive of the US and Commander in Chief. Granted that both Clinton and Bush II were almost as unqualified, there is no reason to repeat the mistake. Obama is qualified to be a talk show host, or possibly a preacher, but President? No thank you.
10 years 2 months ago
Aside from his dedication to abortion without restrictions, and his voting against a bill to prohibit infacticide of the victims of botched abortions - (I have listened to his stumbling attempts to wriggle out of this,and they are mendacious.) - Obama is a rather likeable fellow, without a shred of experience that would qualify for him to be Chief Executive of the US and Commander in Chief. Granted that both Clinton and Bush II were almost as unqualified, there is no reason to repeat the mistake. Obama is qualified to be a talk show host, or possibly a preacher, but President? No thank you.
10 years 2 months ago
I am a registered Democrat but have voted for the "person" in past elections, both Republicans and Democrats. The challenge this year is that. in my opinion, neither candidate is what our country needs at this time in History. I keep shifting from Obama to McCain and, I suppose, like many Catholic Americans are very confused. On one hand, I can live with a candidate who, except on late term abortions, says: "I am personally opposed to abortion, but believe in the individual woman right to chose".... But I recently saw a CNN spot where an Illinois nurse accused Obama for voting down a law that would provide emergency assitance to aborted babies who survive, even if for just a few minutes. THIS WAS VERY DISTURBING!. On the other hand, recent Russian activities, in Georgia, and and their opposition to the Missile Defense Program in Poland has me extremely worried andn have significant doubts about who the best Commander-in-chief can be. I am very concerned adn even afraid that MCCain might lead us into WW III, but can Obma effectivley protect us? Jorge Andino Miami, Florida
10 years 2 months ago
Obama's attacks on McCain over his wife's houses makes his own acquisition of a million dollar home fair game. He bought that house for $300,000 under the asking price. His buddy, Tony Resko, convicted of fraud and corruption in low income housing, bought the adjacent lot from the same owner for the asking price. He later sold a part of the lot to Obama. Let's quit the mud slinging and get down to issues.
10 years 2 months ago
I am a Democrat and I intend to vote for the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. He isn't perfect, but from an intellectual perspective he is no slouch. He was the president of Law Review at Harvard. Experience maybe important, but judgment in these troubled times helps. For my money John McCain is a decent fellow, but he is too old, too sick and too dumb. Besides his inability to remember how many houses he owns, he graduated 5th from the bottom of an Annapolis Class of close to 900. He was in fact, an affirmative action legacy being the son and grandson of famous Admirals. He would have never qualified for the Naval Academy without his name. By the he crashed five planes and in the words of Jack Kennedy, when they asked him how he earned his Navy Cross, he said, "They sunk my boat." Well McCain became famous for being shot down. With regards to FDR, he was a patrician but no where fabulously wealthy. He spent 2/3 of his wealth, $201,000, acquiring and establishing Warm Springs as the preeminent polio treatment center in the world. His total assets would be worth between $3-5 million today. Of course that doesn't put him in the league of such heavy hitters as McCain, Guiliani, Romney and the Clintons. McCain made a good career choice when he dumped his first wife while she was recovering from a car accident and ran off with a young beer baroness. He, Gingrich and Rudy have a lot in common regarding family values. Mrs. McCain found out that campaigning was difficult in Arizona so she bought a plane for them. But Obama is an elitist. As to FDR, he gave back 15% of his $75K presidential income because the country was suffering through tough times. For sure FDR did not live an extravagant life while President. On the other hand, if big John McCain is elected, he will continue the tax giveaways made famous by George Bush II. RJ Garfunkel Tarrytown, NY
10 years 1 month ago
Its a shame you are talking about homes and money, just shows what the Catholic Church has been saying that America is turning or has turned to Relativism, Pluralism , Multiculturism, and Individualism. We as Catholics MUST DEFEND LIFE. Houses , Money and Everything else does not equate to ONE Life!! God have Mercy on us All
10 years 2 months ago
Identifying Obama as an elitist has less to do with Columbia and Harvard than with his attitudes which are expressed in a variety of ways. For instance, in Iowa during the early days of the campaign, Obama spoke to a group of farmers trying to show he was just one of them. He mentioned how he was worried about their fair share as well as prices. The example he used was his and his wife'c concerns about the price of Arugala compared to what they must be getting! It was reported that one farmer turned to another and asked ''What's arugala and since when do we grow it?'' But, of course, Democrats have been posing as populists for ages, so despite the rhetoric about hope and change, nothing's really new with Obama. He will continue to hammer the coporations, the multi-nationals and anyone else he can while failing to acknowledge the huge amounts of money he's gotten from the financiers who hold those same corporations' notes and investments. The housing crisis will result in a new class of those subsidized by the government, namely the banks and institutions that caused it. So if you want change, vote for Obama, but please note that the only change you're going to get is what is left in your pockets after he and his congress fleece you! Remember as well that it may be the case that direct hostilities will cease in Iraq, but there are plenty of nations ready to try to take us on: Iran, North Korea, Russia, just to name a few and the elitist Obama who knows nothing about the rank and file who get called upon to protect us will be in a position to make decisions that won't be as benign as his ''arugala exchange'' but deadly.


The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018