There's more than meets the eye in the "America First" slogan of John McCain. McCain has tried to use this patriotic sounding slogan to paint himself as more interested in the welfare of the American people than he is in his own political ambitions. But those of us who know better see that the opposite is true and that John McCain puts himself and his party first.
John McCain is a fitting symbol and presidential candidate for the tired, crooked, burned-out, old Republican party that desperately seeks in this year of 2008 to shrug off its reputation for scandals, the likes of which haven't been seen since the days of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.
McCain is a well-worn political hack and ward heeler wearing the sheep's clothing of 'maverick' behind which he has hidden for years, even while he has actually been an integral part of the ruling Republican Establishment. His votes in Congress and his entanglement with all manner of corrupt influence peddlers has made it necessary for him to use his 'war hero' and 'maverick' deceptions to counter the Democrats' offer of real solutions for national problems.
When one looks behind the slogan "America First" it is more than the usual patriot baiting of 'liberals'. The first time I saw McCain's campaign use the slogan "America First," and heard chants of "USA, USA, USA" at the Republican convention, I immediately resented it for the fact that it was another attempt of the arrogant Republicans to arrogate to themselves the mantle of exclusivist patriotism. Their partisan assumption that only they own the qualities of "morality" and "patriotism" is full of faux-self-adulation, mixed with the insolent, judgmental insinuation that the Democrats do not put America first, and are"America-haters." Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see through the GOP's fraudulent con job on the American public: anyone except roughly fifty percent of the American public..
. The Republican Party is is a lot like an old, worn-out Harlot. The old Harlot is run by authoritarian oligarchs who are unable and unwilling to offer any real change from their policies set by rich-old-white-men who are poised yet again to succeed in supplanting the desire for real reform among the electorate with another election season of GOP gimmicks. And they'll do it by playing to the public's stupidity, ingrained in the popular culture over years of corporate-gimmickry on television, and that cultivated infantilism has them trained the American people, at least a good part of the American people to think in shallow minded terms and prefer image over substance. The public is used to commercials that lie to them and promise overpriced products that don't usually fulfill the promises made on those television commercials. Yet people buy the products anyway and willingly let themselves be ripped off.
Since there are no issues on which GOP candidates can safely run this year, since their Party is the Party of George W. Bush, the McCain campaign is ready to try and win election with admittedly updated and upgraded, but tried-and-successful Rovian dirty-tricks ...dirty tricks using aggressive deception, blame shifting, slanderous-lies and reframing of the public debate with the help of repetition from the mainstream media, to refit that debate to the Republican agenda.
The whole Republican election year strategy is designed to undermine the public's temptation to trust the Democrats offer of a much more authentic hope for reform in this time of economic desperation. So, in this new presidential election cycle the GOP is set to betray America again with the old Harlot's "deny-attack-lie-and smear" campaign against the Democratic candidates. The GOP handlers are assured that they can peel off the dumbest segments of Americans who believe everything the Mainstream Media tells them without questioning it, and they appear to be correct in their assumption.
EGOP election-year slogans play to the publics' fears about national security and 'experience' in the current presidential candidates, and those fears will lead the less educated, more gullible segment of the voting public to view Republican promises as 'looking good'. Of course we know those promises will evaporate after the election is over.
"America First" has been re-invented into a code phrase that serves as a synonym for John McCain's banking on his 'war hero' status and his faux reformism to hide behind the mantle of pseudo-patriotism, when in fact he is an ambitious and doctrinaire neocon. He knows people will snap up the lie that Republicans are all about fixing the mess that they themselves made of the USA because the public 'knows John McCain' and people have seen him over the years and are comfortable with his 'maverick' image. Never mind that John McCain's Senate votes helped make the current mess..
Then into the mix comes Sarah Palin, McCain's Vice Presidential pick.. This woman looks like she is a Mary-Kay salesperson with her retro hairdo and $375 rimless glasses and her coyly sassy "Marion the Librarian" mannerisms. She appears to mix fake innocence with a real politician's instincts and an adept quickness for making use of situational dishonesty when on the spot, as needed. She has an actress's sense of how to play to the crowd while feigning sincerity. She is deeply ignorant of just about everything outside of her little world in Alaska, but like many Americans, she is self-assured in her ignorance and a quick study under the tutoring of McCain's speech writers. She even reminds one a little of George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential election, in that, in spite of her ignorance, she exaggerates her expertise anyway, as are most neocons do.
But if you look at the Palin phenomenon from a psychological point of view: it is all about the right-wing American masses' love of the phony 'rugged individualist' narrative (mythology) which drips with fake-populist-but-authoritarian tribalism and a disdain for intellectual rationalism. Intellect and progressivism are viewed with suspicion by neocons as an attribute of the East Coast effete-and-not-quite-American-Elite. That is one reason they dislike Barack Obama. He has the effrontery to be both black and intellectual and that doesn't play well with the bigoted, dumbed-down 'real' Americans. Democrats tend to represent for the right wing in America, the 'pointy headed' liberal intellectual which good, red-blooded-American neocons don't like that one little bit..
This 20 month-in-office-Alaska-governor has been suddenly and slyly billed as the "alternative to Hillary" and her candidacy is supposed to be seen as equalling the innovation of Barack Obama's being the first African American presidential candidate..She fits in with the hard right's extremist, religious zealotry and her freshness on the scene plus her wholesome image of mom and chief executive rolled into one makes her the perfect foil for McCain with his need to pander to the red-meat-right.
For the independent-right-leaning swing voters, Republicans will cover up her extremism with the phony maverick label of John McCain. But now she and McCain intend to co-opt Barack Obama's message of reform. He is the tried-and-true war hero and grandfatherly figure, and she's the all-American-anti-Democrat-frontier- feminist mom. Sarah Palin, is the innovative half of the Republican party's 'reform' lie. While McCain plays the maverick, she is brought in to appeal to the conservative-minded not so smart working class and female voters who probably liked Hillary Clinton and now they like the idea of a Mary Kay Sales Person type who conjures up the American myth of the rugged, Davy Crocket in a dress, hunting woman who is billed by the media as a 'straight shooter'. Since Hillary did not make it onto Obama's ticket, Palin appears to be the fallback choice, regardless of the fact that they may be a little uncomfortable with about her neocon ideology.
Her selection siphoned off the anger of the paranoid, judgmental reactionaries of the Rush-Limbaugh and Ann-Coulter toward John McCain, who, at times in his past career, voted against the position of the extreme right on key issues, though rarely, but he did it, and the right wing base was furious over McCain's stance on illegal immigration and campaign finance reform among other things. So Sarah Palin defused the Neanderthals anger at McCain as well as provide a foil for Republican pseudo-populist imagery. And judging from the way the mainstream media are selling Sarah Palin for all she's worth it seems to be working. McCain is now ahead of Barack Obama in the polls.
The obvious goal in bringing her in was to cobble together another coalition like Bush had in 2004 of the ignorant, the gullible, the dishonest and the stupid. To do this John McCain must pander to and retain the loyalty of both segments of his likely voter base: ie, the right-of-center electorate. He must appeal to and fool the politically moderate 'swing voter' and he must also pretend he is a brother under the skin to the foam-at-the-mouth-reactionary right wingers of his party. He has to pretend to be all things to all sectors of the public likely to consider voting for him.
Up until recently, when the Republicans attacked at their convention the mainstream media, the press was going along with Republican s spinning and lying. They still re cooperating but now there is a little retaliation coming to the fore since the attacks on 'media bias toward Ohama' motif at the Convention. Right-slanted polls and coverage still dominate the mainstream media.