McCain Caught by Media on Accusing Obama Of One Of His Faults

John McCain has gotten away with a lot thanks to a friendly news media. His untrue claims of flip-flopping by Obama have often been repeated by media with few reporters noting that it is actually McCain who has flip-flopped repeatedly for political expediency. Today there was a rare exception. CNN actually bothered to fact-check a claim from McCain. McCain criticized Obama for failing to be present for the vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on September 26, 2007. They checked the record and also found that McCain was not present for the same vote he criticized Obama for missing.

Just as McCain is in a poor position to accuse anyone of flip-flopping, he is in a particularly poor position to criticize anyone for being absent for votes. While all presidential candidates tend to miss many votes, McCain is setting the record. McCain has missed 61.8% of the votes cast, exceeding even the number missed by Tim Johnson following a cerebral hemorrhage. By comparison Obama has missed 43.5% of the votes.

Another difference is that while all politicians must miss votes while out campaigning, McCain has used this as a means to avoid taking a stand on the issues. Most candidates at least announce how they would vote on votes they have missed. The most recent example of McCain avoiding taking a stand was on the Medicare vote earlier this week. Not only was McCain the only Senator to miss this key vote, he failed to respond to questions as to where he stood.

I’ve particularly noticed this tendency from McCain as the Medicare vote was the second time McCain’s has used such tactics on matters which affect me personally. Here in Michigan (and I’m sure in other states) visas for temporary workers are significant for the summer tourist industry. Every summer I go to Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island once or twice, and seeing the Jamaicans we have known for years is a major part of the trip. (The hotel is best known to those outside of Michigan as the site of the movie Somewhere in Time.) I’m afraid that those who do not frequent such resorts would not understand the significance of the friendships which can develop over the years. These are people who have seen my daughter grow up from a baby, and she runs to visit some of them even before we are checked in. Last week two different ones called to wish my wife a happy birthday, knowing that many other years we have celebrated her birthday there. It was major news in Michigan when many of the employees could not return this year due to a lapse in the law which allowed them to return for the summer with H2B visas. One reason for this turned out to be that John McCain blocked the immigration legislation which contained the H2B exemptions as he did not to vote on an immigration bill which could become a political issue this year.

There are numerous other examples, but the Medicare and immigration bills were the two which I paid the most attention to. Undoubtedly many in the news media realize that avoiding taking a stand has become common for the supposedly straight talking John McCain. This time CNN even made a point of it when he tried to accuse Obama of what he is actually guilty of. Hopefully this is just the start of the media holding McCain responsible for his statements.

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