McCain at the VFW Convention

Posted: August 19, 2008 in america, john mccain, lies, military, politics, republicans, veterans, war

Speaking at the 109th VWF Convention this week, Presidential candidate and serial distortionist Senator John McCain proved once again that when it comes to his own voting record he either a) can’t remember how he voted and when he voted, b) doesn’t think any of his votes are on record, c) doesn’t care, or d) doesn’t think we’re paying attention.  I think it’s a little of all of the above, personally.  After all, when your actual attendance record in the Senate is as abysmal as McAbsent’s is, remembering whether you turned out for a vote or played golf in Phoenix can be a little challenging.

Here’s the transcript of McCain’s speech at the VFW.  Here are some of the more (ahem) amusing points that practically beg to be torn apart.

During a lengthy segment he discussed the quality and availability of veterans’ health care in America.  Here’s what he said:

Through decades of struggle, free nations prevailed over tyranny in large measure because of the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States armed forces. And it will fall to the next commander in chief to make good on the obligation our government accepts every time any man or woman enters the military, and again when they receive their DD 214. Those we depend on as troops should know, when they become veterans, that they can depend on us. Honoring this obligation will require leadership. And I pledge to you that as president I will lead — from the front — to reform our VA system and make sure that veterans receive the respect and care they have earned.

The Walter Reed scandal was a disgrace unworthy of this nation — and I intend to make sure that nothing like it is ever repeated. There are other problems as well that have not received as much media attention. And my administration will do the hard and necessary work of fixing them, even when the press and the public are not watching.

Reform begins with appointing a Secretary of Veterans Affairs who is a leader of the highest caliber, and who listens to veterans and veterans’ service organizations. My VA secretary must be a forceful advocate for veterans and forthright advisor to me, so we can make the right choices about budgeting, health care, and other veterans’ benefit issues. He or she will also need to be a high-energy leader, too, because we’ll have a lot of work to do in improving service to veterans.

Veterans must be treated fairly and expeditiously as they seek compensation for disability or illness. We owe them compassion and hands-on care in their transition to civilian life. We owe them training, rehabilitation, and education. We owe their families, parents and caregivers our concern and support. Veterans should never be deprived of quality medical care and mental health care coverage for illness or injury incurred as a result of their service to our country.

As president, I will do all that is in my power to ensure that those who serve today, and those who have served in the past, have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world. And I will not accept a situation in which veterans are denied access to care on account of travel distances, backlogs of appointments, and years of pending disability evaluation and claims. We should no longer tolerate requiring veterans to make an appointment to stand in one line for a ticket to stand in another.

I’m not here to tell you that there is a cost that is too high to be paid in the care of our nation’s veterans. I will make sure that Congress funds the VA health care budget in a sufficient, timely, and predictable manner. But I will say that every increase in funding must be matched by increases in accountability, both at the VA and in Congress. And this requires an end to certain practices and abuses that serve neither our veterans, our country, nor the reputation of Congress itself.

Exactly because funding VA programs command bipartisan support, some in the Congress like to attach unrelated appropriations and earmarks to VA bills. The result is to mix vital national priorities with wasteful and often worthless political pork. Earmarks show up in bills of every kind, and not just VA bills. That’s how we end up budgeting hundreds of millions of dollars for bridges to nowhere, or lesser sums for Woodstock museums and the like. When that earmark for a million bucks to fund a Woodstock museum didn’t come through, I don’t imagine that many veterans had to change their vacation plans. And the principle here is simple: Public money should serve the public good. If it’s me sitting in the Oval Office, at the Resolute desk, those wasteful spending bills are going the way of all earmarks, straight back to the Congress with a veto.

When we make it clear to Congress that no earmark bill will be signed into law, that will save many billions of dollars that can be applied to essential priorities, and above all to the care of our veterans. But reform doesn’t end there. We must also modernize our disability system to make sure that eligible service members receive benefits quickly, based on clear, predictable, and fair standards. And we must address the problems of capacity and access within our VA health care system. While this will involve a wide range of initiatives, I believe there is a simple and direct reform we should make right away.

My administration will create a Veterans’ Care Access Card to be used by veterans with illness or injury incurred during their military service, and by those with lower incomes. This card will provide those without timely access to VA facilities the option of using high-quality health-care providers near their homes. For many veterans, the closest VA facility isn’t close enough. And many of their local providers are already familiar with the most common needs of veterans. Often, all that prevents them from receiving local care is a system for sharing medical records among VA, DOD, and civilian hospitals and doctors. My reform will improve care, reduce risks, and broaden access all at the same time.

This card is not intended to either replace the VA or privatize veterans’ health care, as some have wrongly charged. I believe the VA should always be there to provide top-quality care for our veterans. And I believe that the VA should continue to provide broad-spectrum health care to eligible veterans, in addition to specialized care in areas such as spinal injuries, prosthetics, and blindness — services in which the VA sets the standard in medical care.

Lovely words, aren’t they?  Unfortunately, his record doesn’t match what he said.  Here’s the true measure of McCain’s support for veterans:

May 2006:  McCain voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care facilities.

April 2006:  McCain was one of only 13 Senators to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.

March 2006:  McCain voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

March 2004:  McCain once again voted for abusive tax loopholes over veterans when he voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans’ medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating abusive tax loopholes.

August 2001:  McCain voted against increasing the amount available for medical care for veterans by $650,000,000.

As you can see, McCain has some serious “fence mending” to do when it comes to his fellow warriors.  Like, actually showing them some support once in a while.  As the old saying goes, nothing is too good for our veterans – and that’s exactly what they’ll get.

In the same segment, he mentioned the “Wounded Warriors Act”, which he said he co-authored.  I took the liberty of looking up the actual bill to find out who introduced it and who the co-sponsors were.  The results were, to say the least, not at all surprising (emphasis mine):

Title: A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to improve the management of medical care, personnel actions, and quality of life issues for members of the Armed Forces who are receiving medical care in an outpatient status, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Pryor, Mark L. [AR] (introduced 5/3/2007)      Cosponsors (2)
Related Bills: H.R.1538
Latest Major Action: 5/3/2007 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

COSPONSORS(2), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:     (Sort: by date)

Where’s Senator McCain?  Not on the list, I see.  Hmm.  Maybe he looked at it once and offered a spelling correction on page ten.  Maybe.

Of course, if I were him, I wouldn’t be crowing about my military voting record, especially when it comes to Wounded Warriors.  He’s done so much to create so many new disabled veterans in the past eight years, after all.  Here’s how he voted when it came time to support the troops:

September 2007: McCain voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments.

October 2003:  McCain voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for United States forces in Iraq and to reduce the amount provided for reconstruction in Iraq by $322,000,000.

April 2003:  McCain urged other Senate members to table a vote (which never passed) to provide more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment in Iraq related to a shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, and tactical vests.

This is the same John McCain who in this week’s speech said that his opponent thinks “veterans concerns are just one more issue to be spun or worked to advantage.”  This was in reference to his recent lack of support for the Webb GI Bill, which his opponent voted for.  Instead, he co-sponsored a watered-down Bill that wouldn’t have addressed the problems nearly as well.  I say again, he either doesn’t know, doesn’t think we know, or just simply doesn’t care that we know what his real record is.  It’s clear from a careful examination of his actual record that it is McCain who treats the needs of troops and veterans as a political football, to be used to personal and political advantage and to be spun, distorted or simply lied about in order to score easy points.

McCain has been running one of the lowest, most despicable presidential campaigns in American history.  This recent speech to the VFW, with all its lies, distortions and blatant hypocrisy, only further underscores his lack of fitness to hold that high office.  He knows nothing about what Veterans and the troops need, and cares less.

  1. Sinvex says:

    You’re an idiot and your facts are one sided. If I had the time to look up all these “facts” I would show you what he proposed and voted on instead of the bills that you’re whining about. HOW DARE HE vote against 1.5bil for health care and propose a bill for 3bil instead etc… but i guess ignorance is bliss?

  2. Afrit007 says:

    Go ahead. Back up your innuendo with fact. If you can.

  3. pixelsfortroops says:

    I know I’m supporting the troops ..

    I am donating 50% of my gross income to the Wounded Warrior Project!

    If my site sells out, I will be making a $1,215,000 dollar donation!!!

    You know you want to advertise something and buy some pixels!


    Thank you,