Monday, June 16, 2008

Councilman McMahon Won't Answer Iraq War Questions

The last month or so has been quite unsettling since Vito Fossella announced his intentions to not run for re-election. For some reason, establishment Democrats took this to mean that only now is there ample opportunity to pick up the last Republican-held Congressional seat in New York City. That false alarm (because the district was ripe to turn before Vito's DWI/love child story came out) has produced an establishment candidate in the form of Staten Island Councilman Michael McMahon.

Now, progressive/liberal Democrats have already had a candidate that supports their issues by and large in Steve Harrison. He is adamantly against the war and all things George Bush. So why the establishment (NY's Congressional delegation, Staten Island's Dem County Cmte, etc) would pick McMahon without investigating issues and allowing for a primary is ridiculous. What is more ridiculous is that McMahon seems to agree with Bush on a few things, like Iraq.

From The Daily Gotham:

To focus then on some of the issues which are crucial, in my view, I asked Council Member McMahon some questions He replied in part and you can (and should) judge those answers for yourself.

Below, however, are three questions which Council Member McMahon didn't answer. Because I respect the abilities of those who prepared the answers, I am persuaded that the omissions are deliberate. Those omitted answers concern issues which members of the next Congress will actually face.

More war? Mr. McMahon did not state whether, were he a member of Congress, he would favor or oppose further Iraq war funding. Billions of dollars, needed at home, are funneled into Iraq-war-profiteers and into an immoral and evil war. Check it out in more detail here . If we're to believe Nobel-prize economist Joseph Stiglitz, the total tab will come to three trillion . Can Mr. McMahon say no to such squandering? He doesn't say.

Permanent bases? Mr. McMahon is silent on the issue of long-term Iraq occupation. Mr. McCain proposes that US troops remain for 100 years. Long term basing is crucial now as Mr. Bush & Mr. Cheney seek to force a Status of Forces Agreement" (SOFA) on the Iraqis and us. (For more on SOFA problems read smintheus's Kos post ) Would Mr. McMahon, were he in Congress oppose long-term basing of US forces in Iraq?

Detainee rights? Under the misleadership of John McCain, Congress tried to bar detainees labeled as "enemy combatants" by Mr. Bush from seeking court review of the lawfulness of their detention. By 5-4 the Supreme Court barred this end run around the Constitution. Mr. McCain proposes yet one more try to keep people from having their day in court. Will Mr. McMahon support justice or kangaroo courts? He doesn't say.

I expect non-answers from moderate Republicans running for this seat, not a Democratic politician and certainly not in this climate and this year. McMahon is more of a DLC product than anything resembling the man at the top of the ticket. The Democratic leadership supporting him is "playing it safe" and for the most part, that attitude has made us lose elections, not win them.