August 21, 2008

John McCain: Safe As Houses - minor update

Hatched by Dafydd

So John S. McCain is "rich" and "out of touch" because he didn't know offhand how many residences he and his wife own. Right? Well, perceptions sometimes overrule reality; but for this post, let's talk about the reality.

Cindy McCain inherited a vast fortune, today worth possibly as much as $100 million, from her beer-distributing father, James Hensley; Hensley & Co. is one of the largest distributers for Anheuser-Busch. When you have what Friend Lee's grandfather calls "a lotta hell money," you would be a fool to manage it yourself. You have a veritable army of accountants, probably at several different firms, each specializing in a different aspect of money management.

Anybody who has ever had a 401K or IRA account and chosen to let professionals manage it -- which includes a great many middle-income Americans who are not by any stretch of the imagination "rich" -- understands McCain's dilemma... do all those people really know, offhand, exactly what stocks, bonds, commodities, or real properties in which their accounts are invested?

Cindy McCain probably knows; Politico should have asked her. But the question they asked McCain wrongly implies that McCain has so many residences in which he lives that he doesn't know how many... kind of like Saddam Hussein and his palaces.

In fact, the McCains own eight properties; but five of them are investment properties, some of which their kids (and one elderly aunt) are allowed to occupy in the meantime. John and Cindy McCain don't live in those properties themselves.

McCain knows exactly how many houses they have for personally living in; two: a condo in Phoenix, Arizona, and a house in Arlington, VA (used when the Senate is in session). (The Obamas also own at least two properties, one in Illinois and one near D.C.) They also have a ranch in Sedona, AZ, that McCain uses for Senate-related business, and which Cindy sometimes uses for entertaining business clients. The other five properties -- two condos in Phoenix, two in Coronado, CA, and one in La Jolla, CA -- are for long-term investment and for their kids, with one condo for Cindy McCain's aunt.

McCain made the mistake of trying to answer the question honestly and completely when Politico asked; he didn't know how many properties his wife had for investment purposes, and he said so:

Q: How many houses do you and Mrs. McCain have?

A: I think -- I'll have my staff get to you. It's condominiums where -- I'll have them get to you.

It's a classic "gotcha" question: Politico didn't ask, "how many houses do you and Mrs. McCain have as your own personal residences;" so rather than give the dishonest answer of "two," he was honest and included the condos they own as investments. That was a figure he wouldn't know (Cindy has bought several recently)... and likely neither would Sens. John Kerry (D-MA, 95%), Ted Kennedy (D-MA, 85%), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, 90%), Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 93%), or any other very rich person who had investment portfolios managed by accountants, know exactly how many real-estate investments they have.

(Had McCain answered only as to his personal residences, the headline would have been, "McCain Lies About Number of Houses He Owns!")

Is McCain very rich today? Absolutely yes; he married an heiress. But Barack H. Obama is at least quite rich himself, earning millions of dollars a year on royalties that are, to a large extent, driven by his presidential candidacy. And unlike Obama, McCain has never argued that wealth is a sin that should be punished by confiscatory taxation.

How about the other question: Is McCain "out of touch" with concerns of the typical voter? That question, coming from somebody with the background of Obama, is laughable. Let's take a look at a few side-by-side comparisons:

Birth and childhood

  • First, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to parents who both went on to earn advanced degrees -- his father as Harvard economist, his mother as a PhD anthoropologist.
  • John McCain was an Army brat who moved numerous times during his childhood, as his father was deployed to various military bases (McCain was born at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station's base hospital, in the Panama Canal Zone, during one of those deployments). One of his grandfathers was an admiral; the other was a bootlegger and illegal gambling-den owner.
  • McCain was shunted to one military base school after another, and was also home-schooled by his stay-at-home mother. For his junior-high years, McCain attended a religious school, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA; then his father was transferred again, and McCain naturally followed. All in all, McCain attended 20 different schools... at most of which he got in disciplinary trouble for fighting and talking back.
  • Obama's family moved to Indonesia for a number of years; then at age 10, Obama moved back to Hawaii (joined by his mother the next year), where he enrolled in an elite, new-leftist, private prep school, Punahou School, for his junior-high and high school education.

Higher education

  • Obama went for two years to Occidental College, then shifted to ultra-liberal Columbia University in New York City for his bachelor's degree -- in political science and international relations, of course.

    After graduation, he worked for a few years as a "community organizer" in Chicago (he has never adequately explained what that meant); then he attended Harvard Law School... where he was selected as editor of the Harvard Law Review without ever having written (or submitted) an article to that legal journal. [Actually, one anonymous "note," said to be written by Obama, has been found; it doesn't appear to amount to much. See Power Line for details.]

  • McCain attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, where he took two letters in wrestling and played junior varsity football and tennis. He also got in trouble for fighting, earning two nicknames -- "Punk" and "McNasty."

    He had mediocre grades, but he got into Annapolis on the basis of an entrance exam. He managed to graduate, despite frequently getting in trouble for rebeliousness, being a maverick, and fighting (do we detect a pattern here?) But despite the many Naval Academy traditions he violated, he never violated any tradition related to honor, courage, or duty; he was just a frequent jackass.

Military service

  • John McCain served honorably in the United States Navy for 27 years, rising to the rank of Captain (the Navy equivalent of Colonel in the other branches). During that time, he was awarded 15 medals and decorations from the United States Navy and two from the Republic of Vietnam. The former include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Legion of Merit with Combat-V and one gold star, and of course a Purple Heart for wounds that nearly killed him when he was shot down, shot, beaten, and bayoneted in the belly.

    He was held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years, during which he was tortured, beaten, starved, and confined in appallingly unhygienic conditions.

    Upon return, he attended the U.S. Naval War College; later he commanded the largest aviation squadron (50 A-7 Corsairs) in the Navy, RAG VA-174 "Hellrazors." He got his final promotion to Captain, then was assigned to head the Senate Liaison Office within the Navy.





On beyond college and service

  • After getting his J.D. at the ripe, old age of 31, Barack Obama was hired by the University of Chicago, where they paid him to write his voluminous memoirs. After several years writing, he and Michelle jetted off to Bali for a number of months for some peace and quiet.

    The memoirs of Obama's adventurous life were eventually published as Dreams From My Father. For twelve years, before and after writing Dreams, he was also a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

    While being paid as a full-time lecturer, he also served in the Illinois State Senate, was briefly employed by a law firm, and sat on seven boards of directors for various left-wing foundations, funds, and committees. Then he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

    Certainly nobody could call such a curriculum vitae "elitist!"

  • After leaving the Navy, McCain served two terms as a U.S. Representative from Arizona, then was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he is now serving in his fourth term. As you can clearly see, John McCain grew up and lived his life almost exactly like the little guy with the top hat and spats in the Monopoly game.

Now that I think about it, I believe John S. McCain is more "elite" than Barack H. Obama, at least in one respect: McCain has the eliteness of merit, talent, duty, sacrifice, military service, and above all, honor... while Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.

Yeah. A fight between these two gentlemen over who is more in touch with ordinary people? Bring it on.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 21, 2008, at the time of 7:08 PM

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The following hissed in response by: boffo

I know I should stop being shocked by the Obama campaign's stupidity, but I simply can't believe they're dumb enough to actually run commercials attacking McCain for owning multiple houses. Who does he think Americans are going to side with? The guy who bought his houses with the help of his hot beer-distributor wife, or the guy who bought his house with the help of his convicted felon corrupt political boss?

My online buddy Ernunnos suggests that McCain should run a commercial saying,

"Yup, I have 7 houses. How did I do it? I married a brilliant business woman who sells things people want. Things like beer. My opponent has only 1 house. How did he do it? Through a shady deal with a convicted criminal. I guess he had to. His wife only gets a raise when he gets elected and writes earmarks for her employers."

"I'm John McCain, and I approved this message. Yippy-kai-yay, motherf-----"

The above hissed in response by: boffo [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 21, 2008 9:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Actually, McCain's most recent ads are coming pretty danged close to that. (Except for the Bruce Willis thing.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 21, 2008 9:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

I htink on balance, this line of attck from the Obamanation is out of desperation- by this week, it was clear their raod to coronation was getting bumpy, if not downright in the ditch.
He wasted July's money, only to fall behind.
He blew the Saddleback softball tournament and has been on the nasty defensive since.
Pretending that not knowing how many properties one owns is important, and shrieking thatin the echo chmaber he and the MSM occupy, is the only tactic he has.
Anything other than actually talk about what his policies are, or what his track record has been, and who his insider supporters really are.
So the only song they have is to toot off on the house issue.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2008 8:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: KimNota

Not just the Obama campaign, but his extended campaign better known as the Main Stream Media is making a big deal out of this. Also, I'm tired of hearing the McCain thinks you're not rich until you make 5 million dollars. He said it as a joke and even commented that that joke would be used against him. No one has pointed this out.

The above hissed in response by: KimNota [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2008 9:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 08/22/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2008 11:22 AM

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