Thursday, October 30, 2008

McCain was against MLK Jr. holiday, but FOR busing

The McCain campaign had to bus in school kids from the surrounding area in order to pad an audience at an Ohio rally this morning:

A local school district official confirmed after the event that of the 6,000 people estimated by the fire marshal to be in attendance this morning, more than 4,000 were bused in from schools in the area. The entire 2,500-student Defiance School District was in attendance, the official said, in addition to at least three other schools from neighboring districts, one of which sent 14 buses.

So he's FOR busing, but behaved disgracefully in his stance toward the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

In 1983, he towed Ronald Reagan's line and voted against a Congressional bill to create a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. He later defended Arizona Republican Governor Evan Mecham's rescinding of the state holiday in honor of King created by his Democratic predecessor.

In the Senate, McCain, the self-described maverick, "took on his party" alright. In the 1983 Senate vote, he was among 18 Republicans who voted against the bill, while 37 of his Republican colleagues voted for it. The Senate bill passed by a 78-22 margin. Realizing that he had a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate, President Reagan reluctantly signed the bill into law.

In the withering heat of a national spotlight, the embarrassed McCain backpedaled on the issue in 1992, prodding his home state of Arizona to recognize a state holiday in spite of Gov. Mecham's protests. McCain finally supported a referendum creating a state holiday in King’s honor in Arizona, the second-to-last state in the Union to do so.

McCain offered an excuse in a speech he gave in Memphis April 4, 2008, the 40th anniversary of King's assassination.

He said:

“I voted in my…first year in Congress against it and then I began to learn and I studied and people talked to me."

"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," said McCain. "I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support for a state holiday in Arizona."

McCain had said earlier that week that he had not understood the issue. Asked what he later learned, he said, “I learned that this individual was a transcendent figure in American history. He deserved to be honored… I had not really been involved in the issue. I just had not had a lot of experience with the issue.” The Wall Street Journal article reported "that McCain grew testy when asked what he did not understand. He noted that his adopted state of Arizona does not have a large African-American population."

What's astounding to me is that McCain had a 10-year-learning curve on the issue, while of his clueless running mate Sarah Palin he consistently brags: She's "a quick study."

Wow, Sarah Palin can "learn" more about foreign policy in two months than he can learn in a decade about the greatest figure in the American civil rights movement.

1 comment:

Sungold said...

You'd never get cats to go along with such a daffy busing scheme; they'd all yowl and refuse to board the bus. Which is why I'm pretty sure Obama would win 99.9% of the feline vote - that, and the scary twitching thing McCain's face does when he's annoyed. All of which goes to prove, once again, that cats are smarter than humans.