James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for July 9th, 2008

Medicare & the missing McCain

Posted by James McPherson on July 9, 2008

Despite battling brain cancer, Ted Kennedy showed up (to a standing ovation) in the Senate today to help pass a veto-proof Medicare bill. The bill blocked a 10-percent pay cut for doctors, whom many Republicans apparently think are overpaid when they accept Medicare. Kennedy was escorted into the chamber by Barack Obama, who also voted for the bill.

And John McCain, whose Web site boasts that when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid he would “reform” the payment system to cut costs, because, “Medicaid and Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement”? He was the only senator to miss the vote entirely, traveling to Ohio and California to campaign just in case those folks didn’t know he was running for president. As Washington Post blogger Ben Pershing points out, “Yesterday marked the two-month anniversary of the last time McCain cast a Senate vote, on April 8. The Medicare vote marked the 76th consecutive tally McCain has missed.”

McCain also has called for some seniors to pay more for their Medicare benefits, while trying to cobble together a health care plan that would actually cover someone who cost sick or hurt while costing taxpayers nothing. That may not be a bad idea, especially for those who marry as well as McCain did.

McCain refused to comment on another health issue–why he apparently thinks it’s OK for the government to pay for Viagra but not birth control (duh… guess which he needs?), saying, “I don’t know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don’t recall the vote, I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate.” Just none lately.

Pershing also notes that McCain criticized Obama for an alleged flipflog on terrorism (in which Obama voted exactly like McCain probably would have), while also skipping that vote. What is it that politicians tell the electorate all the time? If you don’t vote, don’t complain?

Next day update: Blogger “Jordan Says” has nice comment with YouTube video of McCain’s reaction when asked the Viagra question.

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