Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gail Collins on John McCain on Ledbetter

Gail Collins strikes me as a combination of Judi Dench and Tony Soprano. She comes across as this nice, sweet old lady, who is just the nicest neighbor you could possibly have, probably a perfect grandmother. Her columns are almost gentle, soothing odes to current events. And then, while she's smiling and pouring some tea, she quietly slips in a shiv and just devastates someone. Today her target is John McCain, as it probably will be, off and on, for several months. Specifically, it's his position on the Lilly Ledbetter legislation that failed to pass the Senate. Ledbetter is the woman who worked at Goodyear for 20 years, and discovered very late that she was being paid less than the men she worked with, even less than those with less seniority. She sued and won, but her case was turned down by the Supreme Court, 5-4. This legislation was designed to correct that. The Democrats failed to beat the Republicans. The Dems got 56 votes, but that wasn't enough to defeat a GOP filibuster. John McCain would have voted against it, but he was otherwise engaged:
John McCain — this is the guy, you may remember, who’s going to be the Republican presidential nominee — has been visiting the poor lately. Appalachia, New Orleans, Rust Belt factory towns. This is a good thing, and we applaud his efforts to show compassion and interest in people for whom his actual policies are of no use whatsoever.

I honestly think John McCain, unlike George Bush, wants to do good things for people less fortunate than himself. I just don't think he has any idea how, other than what every other Republican believes. And I think he sees national security as much more important. Collins is a little harsher:

McCain’s vote wouldn’t have made any difference. But his reaction does suggest that on his list of presidential priorities, the problems of working women come in somewhere behind the rising price of after-dinner mints.

McCain is going to end up looking like Scrooge in this campaign. But he's the one who decided to run for president in the shadow of George W. Bush.

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