John McCain, a member of the House of Representatives in the mid-1980s, often held court at a table near the bar at Bullfeathers, a popular Capitol Hill watering hole, telling jokes and matching hangers-on drink by drink.
As a Capitol Hill chief of staff, I often drank at Bullfeathers and was invited to join the throng at McCain’s table one evening. A few minutes listening to the racism, bigotry and homophobia of the Arizona Congressman told me all I needed to know.
McCain loved to tell jokes about lesbians, blacks, Hispanics and the Vietnamese community that occupied a large section of Arlington County, Virginia, just south of the District of Columbia.
Of course, McCain didn’t use polite language in the jokes: He used names like "fags" or "queers" or "dykes" or "niggers" or "spics" or "wetbacks" or "gooks."
A typical McCain joke (overheard at Bullfeathers):
Two dykes are talking at a bar and one leaves. As she walks toward the door, the other watches her leave and says out loud: "God, I’ve love to eat her out."
Two men are standing near by and one turns to the other and says: "I’d like to do the same. Guess that makes me a dyke."
Or another (also overheard at Bullfeathers):
Question: Why does Mexican beer have two "X’s" on the label?
Answer: Because wetbacks always need a co-signer.
Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because Janet Reno is her father.
Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, ‘Where is that marvelous ape?’
When he ran for the Senate, I attended a gathering of GOP operatives at the National Republican Senatorial Committee where McCain outlined his campaign strategy:
I play to win. I do whatever it takes to win. If I have to fuck my opponent to win I’ll do it. If I have to destroy my opponent I won’t give it a second thought.
McCain’s so-called sense of humor has no limits when it comes to simple human decency. Shortly after former President Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer’s Disease, McCain told this joke at a GOP Fundraiser:
Do you know the best thing about having Alzheimer’s?
You get to hide your own Easter eggs.
Even his wife is not immune. Writes Cliff Schecter in his book, The Real John McCain:
Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, "You’re getting a little thin up there." McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.
This is the man the Republican Party thinks should be the next President of the United States. What else should we expect from a party that promotes racism, homophobia and discrimination against anyone with a different skin color, sexual orientation or ethnic origin?
So we shouldn’t be surprised that McCain’s campaign strategy seeks to raise racial fear about Barack Obama, the first African-American with a serious shot at the Presidency of the United States.
John McCain is a racist: Always has been, always will be. A retired Naval officer who says he served with McCain in the Navy says he treated black sailors with disrespect and scorn. McCain refuses to release his detailed military record and some sources say that record includes incidents that include issues with black sailors.
Such attitudes are part of his family history. As noted by a black poster in Talking Points Memo:
I can’t love America the same way John McCain does. When his daddy was Admiral, my daddy was mopping floors. And when his granddaddy was Admiral, all the Blacks in the entire Navy were mopping floors. But they still volunteered and went to war, even when their commanders didn’t think they were brave enough to fight. So who loves America more? The cook on the ship who couldn’t vote in 15 states, or the Admiral who dined on the meals he slaved over?
McCain’s collection of off-color jokes are riddled with racist words and sentiments. Advisors have toned down the raunchy rhetoric of his early years in Congress but close aides say his attitudes have not changed.
McCain opposed making the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King a national holiday. During his 2000 campaign for President, he told reporters on his "Straight Talk Express: "I hated the gooks (North Vietnamese). I will hate them as long as I live."
Katie Hong of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who reported the remark, wrote:
It is offensive because by using a racial epithet that has historically been used to demean all Asians to describe his captors, McCain failed to make a distinction between his torturers and an entire racial group.
It is alarming because a major candidate for president publicly used a racial epithet, refused to apologize for doing so and remains a legitimate contender.
For his 2000 campaign for President, McCain hired Richard Quinn, founder and editor in chief of Southern Heritage Magazine, to serve as his spokesman in South Carolina.
Quinn’s articles have called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist" and King a man "whose role in history was to lead his people into a perpetual dependence on the welfare state, a terrible bondage of body and soul." In another piece, Quinn said of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, "What better way to reject politics as usual than to elect a maverick like David Duke?" though he did condemn Duke’s bigotry.
Irwin A. Tank, author of Gook: John McCain’s Racism, notes a long and sordid history of racism from the presumptive GOP nominee, including:
- McCain’s use of the anti-Asian slur "gook" publicly for 27 years before dropping the use for his current Presidential run;
- McCain’s endorsement of George Wallace Jr., a frequent speaker at white supremacist events;
- His vote against establishing a holiday for Martin Luther King’s birthday and then another vote to rescind the holiday.
- In answering a question about divorced fathers and child support, McCain called the children "tar babies."
The list goes on and on.
What else do you expect from a racist, bigot and homophobe?
(Updated on Aug. 2 & 3, 2008, to include additional material and links)