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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, September 05, 2008

McCain's speech

Complaining about the public schools and the teachers? Ouch. Demanding drilling? Awful. Saying "Fight with me! Fight with me!" seemed ill-timed after 5 years of a disastrous war.

I genuinely believe McCain is wrong-headed politically; but I also believe that he wants to do things right and believes in bipartisanship. History has passed him by and swallowed him up. He's finally become his party's nominee near the end of his life, at a time when cosmic justice is raining down hard on the Republicans, and he's facing a historically significant and phenomenally talented opponent to boot.

Positively Shakespearean how McCain's ambitions have been continually thwarted by the evils and failings of George W. Bush. Bush used Rovian tactics to dismantle McCain in 2000; and now McCain is having to run in opposition to his own party's record because of Bush's incompetence.

High taxes and government spending are no longer the major problems Americans face: instead, it's the climate crisis, the energy crisis, the cost of living, competition overseas, constitutional law, and restoring our moral authority. The idea that McCain is "stuck in the past" isn't just empty rhetoric...it's a fact. The man doesn't seem to have real solutions to the country's problems now.


isaac butler said...

Hey Matt,

I think you give McCain way more credit here than he deserves. McCain has only intermittently been running against his party, much of the time, he's been deploying the Rove playbook against Barack Obama and even has gone so far as to hire the very people who derailed his campaign in South Carolina by insinuating that he was crazy and had fathered an illegitimate black child. Thats the part of it that is rich in dramatic ironies for me-- how McCain's ambition outstripped his decency in the past four years, how a Faustian bargain for power has ruined his soul.

Also, I would assert that higher taxes and government spending have not been a major problem Americans have faced within our lifetimes. Taxes are very low in this country compared with other Western industrialized nations. What the Government chooses to spend the money on (i.e. war) is definitely a problem, of course. ALthough, rereading your final paragraph, you might mean that the American people no longer consider those the main problems regardless of whether or not they were actual problems.

Freeman said...

I think there's such a thing as an argument that says that people felt that major budget deficits and high taxes were issues in, say, McCain's lifetime. But that's a very long life. It's not a probably anymore, whether or not you think it was ever a problem is another story.

I think it's a danger to give McCain LESS credit than he deserves. I totally agree with everything you're saying, I just think there's still something left of a decent man in there that's lost a very big fight. That, to me, is pretty sad. He's collapsed his principles in order to get ahead and that's gross. But he's a far cry from a person who is essentially without principles. I think McCain has, in his life, displayed some real desire for good legislation.

It's possible to acknowledge that and not give the man a pass on what he's done wrong.

Joe said...

McCain is a good man, but he still has a fighter pilot's mentality. He's quick to decide and quick to act. He's not the kind of person we want in charge of the nuclear codes.

Joe said...

And, for sure, neither is Sarah Palin.

Scott Walters said...

The idea that taxes are high is such a joke. I think back in amazement to Roosevelt, who proposed a 100% tax over a certain annual income. I don't remember what the amount was, but it wasn't that high. So let's say we used McCain's $5M is rich idea: anything over, say, $10M has a 100% tax rate. Can you imagine how much money that would raise? Now, Roosevelt couldn't get that through -- I think he had to settle for 90%. 90%! Now, our rich people kvetch because of a, what, 33% rate that, through deductions, is far lower? If you want to talk about whiners, RICH people are whiners!

Anonymous said...

He had the nerve to call the choice of schools the civil rights issue of this century. I'm sorry but he should at least acknowledge Gay Americans.
I think the fact that that his running mate favors a constitutional ban (in addition to the marriage thing) to make sure same sex couples don't have any sort of partner benefits if they work for the government.

They are trying so hard to marginalize us. They don't speak of us and they don't want us to have any voice in the government.

This isn't just degrading anymore, it's getting outright dangerous. Personally I'm beginning to fear for my future.

Dan F

Dan Freeman said...

Hey my first non-anonymous post!

Like I was saying I think the fact that Palin is so radically right wing is a serious threat to the stability of our Nation. What if McCain die in office? The man will be over 80 if he gets elected and has two terms.

It is always a mistake to underestimate these people. Palin is seriously dangerous and if she get a hold of the reins minority rights in this country are officially screwed.

Kerry said...

I think McCain has never really "gotten it." Yes, yes, he was a POW. (Or so I've heard -- he's so modest about that chapter of his life!) But other than that, most of his life, like George Bush's, has been spent in a cocoon of privilege. He got into the Naval Academy as a legacy. He dumped the wife for a younger, hotter, richer, blonder model. His one stint in the private sector was a short-term cushy job with his felonious father-in-law (just like Bush got his jobs through the Daddy and Friends Network). He's never had to worry about private health insurance. He's probably never had to balance a freaking checkbook in his life. I think that's where you hit him (and a lot of other GOPers): they talk about how awful government is, but so many of them are determined to spend their lives in government jobs, using government health care, and collecting the kinds of government pensions that most Americans will never see. And yet the Obamas, who actually DID have to pay off student loans just a few years ago, are somehow the "elite." It is laughable. And sad.

And McCain's attempts at "reform," such as the campaign-finance stuff, only came after he got spanked in the Keating Five scandal, so the cynic in me would suggest that it was a fig leaf, rather than an actual change of heart.

I don't think he's an evil person -- not like Cheney. I think he's just so self-absorbed that he literally can't understand anyone whose life isn't remotely like his. I think that describes most of the GOP, sadly enough. They've gone completely away from the old virtues of Main Street good-government, fiscal conservatism into the rabbit hole of fundamentalism and free-market fetishism married to neo-con pipe dreams of global domination.

The rich irony here is he accuses Obama of overweening narcissism, but Obama, by most peer accounts stretching back to his Harvard Law Review days, is the guy who listens to all sides and then synthesizes a position or strategy. That position may not always be one that I agree with, and it may not always be coming from a place of ideological purity, but neither is it rooted in "I'm always right because I say I am."

A Bitter, Bitter Man :) said...

Hi I just came across your site and wondered if you wouldn't mind linking to my blog, "Bitter White Folks for Obama" - I'm trying to get the working-class, rural, white, Protestant "Appalachian" demographic (and their descendants and diaspora, of which I am one) behind him as much as I am able by sounding off from my own vantage point. From what I've been reading about Obama's "Appalachian Problem", this is going to be an absolutely crucial task for the next two months as it may be them who decide where things go (many of those battleground areas, for instance in eastern Ohio are primarily Appalachian migrants to the North). My biggest obstacle so far is that my blog is not yet showing up in Google even after almost a week of existence because not enough other sites are linked to it yet, although I've already gotten over 400 hits even without that - so would you mind linking to it so that I can start making more of an impact? I'd really appreciate it! I'll link ya
back. Jason.