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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stem Cells and John McCain's First Wife

By Don C. Reed

When Bill Clinton fooled around, the Republicans fought with all their strength to impeach him. .

But when John McCain cheated on his crippled wife, the GOP nominated him for President.

Did you know about McCain’s first wife? A former swimsuit model, Carol McCain was tall, willowy, beautiful—until a terrible car accident.

Flung through the windshield of her car, Carol McCain lay on the frozen ground all night. Her pelvis was broken. Both legs and an arm were shattered, she had massive internal injuries— the doctors despaired for her life.

Fortunately for Carol , Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot took over her medical bills: paying for her six months in hospital-- and 23 operations, necessary just to keep her alive. So many bone fragments had to be removed from her body that she lost five inches in height.

Carol McCain was disabled for life.

So when John McCain came home from the war in Viet Nam , how did he stand by the woman he promised to love and cherish till death did them part?

He began cheating on her, systematically and casually, with a variety of women.

Finally the still married McCain chose Carol’s replacement, the movie-star-gorgeous Cindy, heiress to a fortune.

He divorced Carol, married the heiress one month later, and his new father-in-law gave him a job as an executive at his beer company—and John McCain was rich.

H. Ross Perot had this to say:

“McCain is the classic opportunist… always reaching for attention and glory. When he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money…”
—“The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind”, Sharon Churcher, Daily Mail UK , June 8, 2008 .

To this day, Carol remains loyal to McCain, who pays her medical bills.

Now some people feel that McCain, as a former prisoner of war, is not to be criticized. Democrats always acknowledge John McCain’s service, unlike the Rove-Republican attack machine and their Swift Boating tactics, continually smearing John Kerry’s heroism in the same war.

But to my way of thinking, the fact that John McCain was a prisoner of war does not mean we forget everything else about the man.

John McCain deserves to be judged on his actions, his record, his positions and choices, and how his decisions will affect all our lives.

First, let me state my personal bias: why John McCain’s essential abandonment of a disabled person affects me so deeply.

My son Roman Reed is disabled, a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down because of a college football accident.

Every day I try to do something to advance the cause of stem cell research, because I know it works.

I have seen it. On March 1, 2002 , I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which walked again, thanks to embryonic stem cells. That was in the Reeve-Irving Research Center , University of California at Irvine .

It has been so frustrating, these past eight years, having an anti-science President in the White House. The policies of George Bush policies are based on ideology and ultra-conservative religion, not the healing science our country so desperately needs.

But John McCain says he is different from Bush, that he supports embryonic stem cell research.

I don’t trust him.

Different from Bush? Not a whole lot. McCain co-signed Senator Sam Brownback’s bill to put scientists in jail for advanced stem cell research—he also chose Sarah Palin for his Vice President, and she is completely opposed.

With a new GOP platform calling for a complete ban on embryonic stem cell research, we could be worse off than we were under Bush.

McCain says one thing, and does another.

McCain says he supports the disabled—then votes against the Community Choice Act, which would have allowed disabled folks to be cared for in their own homes, instead of having to be institutionalized.

He likes to call himself a “maverick”, reminding us that he once dared to opposed President George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. However, (and with McCain there is always a however) when it came time to gain his party’s nomination, he tossed that courage out the window. Now he wants to make those tax cuts permanent: as the rich get richer, the middle class gets pushed down into the ranks of poverty, and the poor are increasingly on their own.

He promised to run a respectful campaign, saying that he won’t talk trash about his rival—he just hires Karl Rove’s friends to do it. And did you see his face when his second in command when his second in command went into her carefully planned speech of character assassination. He was giggling like a schoolgirl when Ms. Lipstick Pitbull trashtalked Obama.

Did you notice how he first said he did not know anything about economics, but suddenly discovers he has all the answers?

He says he believes in freedom, but his second in command wants to censor library books, and fired a librarian who stood up to her.

McCain says he hates war, but pushed hard to get us involved in Iraq from the very beginning. That war cost us our economy. America went from being rich to being in debt. That was started by George Bush, and continued by John McCain, who promises more.

Granted, Iraq is quieter now; if you kill enough people it will definitely calm things down; graveyards are not noisy places.

“Maverick” McCain says he is against government wastefulness and corruption—so where are his speeches on the mountains of money lost, stolen, or mis-spent in Iraq, entire fork-lift pallets of money unaccounted for?

He even abandoned his enthusiasm for President Bush—in his acceptance speech he never mentioned the name of that man he once so publicly embraced, putting his cheek on the President’s chest.

As a former prisoner of war, McCain deserves respect.

But when he mentions his war record, which he does at any possible excuse, we should remember there are other veterans, whose interests he routinely votes against.

Like the soldiers in VA hospitals, who were recently told by the Bush Administration, that they can no longer be helped to register to vote.

The same veterans whose care John McCain so frequently votes against. They also were soldiers. Their heroism also deserves recognition.

Many are disabled, like John McCain’s first wife. They must not be abandoned.

America needs a President who will not only look out for everyone, but also try to make things better: to heal the ill and injured.

John McCain is not that man.

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