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Reform. Prosperity. Peace. Bullshit.

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John McCain ends his new commercial with the following words: Reform. Prosperity. Peace.

Wow.

The images are a transparent play for the vote of environmentalists, and one has to give the guy (or at least his publicity team) credit for hitting the right buzzwords. But this is one of those cases in which the reality doesn’t match up with the language. While McCain did split with the White House over the reduction of carbon emissions, he’s been rightly criticized for missing important votes on alternative energies -- ironically, some of the very technologies (wind and solar, specifically) that are spotlighted in this new ad.

What all this has to do with reform, prosperity or peace is another matter completely. One could make an argument for this ad supporting the prosperity of the average American. (That is, if it was more than empty political language with virtually no basis in fact or true intent.) A cleaner world, better energy usage and production, all that is good stuff, and certainly would lead to some prosperity.

Peace is a bit more of a stretch, but if you accept that we’re involved in a war in the Middle East because of oil (something the Bush administration and the Republican Party as a whole has spent the majority of the last two terms arguing against), it makes a little more sense. Fix our energy policy so that we don’t need the oil under the feet of the Middle East, and we’d probably see a lot more peace. At least here in America, if not worldwide.

But reform? This is where the case falls apart. This isn’t reform so much as platitude. This is the environmental equivalent of Bush promising to bring integrity and Jesus Christ back to the White House. That is, it’s something that’s said in order to garner votes, represented as a goal of the future administration, sworn to uphold once elected -- and then promptly forgotten once his butt is securely in the Oval Office.

The claim to be the candidate of “reform” is the reframing of the call for “Change” with which Barack Obama has done so well. But just the use of the word itself doesn’t prove that its true; nor does one slight environmental difference with the Bush administration, especially given McCain’s record in so many other specific environmental issues.

Still, the guy looks pretty rugged in his ball cap and his jacket. You can see the wind whipping around him (the wind that he doesn’t seem to convincingly support as an alternative source of energy). He’s gazing out at our precious American landscape (that he seems willing to sacrifice if it means more domestic production of oil). He looks presidential, he really does. A lot like the one we’ve had for almost eight years. -- Teague Bohlen


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