Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
John McCain had the audacity to go before the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) this week and to once again try to steal credit for the 21st Century G.I. Bill, which McCain had vigorously opposed, even submitting his own proposal to undermine the chances of success for the main bill. McCain Steals Credit For GI Bill By Heralding His Own Proposal That VFW Called ‘Very Partisan’ McCain told the audience of veterans that he “sought a better bill” and declared the final passage of the GI bill “the result” of his efforts:
“As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I’m proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country.”
Zimbio Pilot at the Carpetbagger Report breaks it down for us McCAIN TAKES CREDIT FOR VETERANS BILL HE FOUGHT AGAINST – John McCain – Zimbio
First, McCain not only opposed the GI Bill expansion, he actively fought against it. Indeed, he bragged that his opposition to the bill was evidence of his character. McCain not only opposed the bill, he did so for all the wrong reasons. He even went so far as to say the GI Bill expansion would literally “hurt the military.”
And yet, he’s gone from characterizing himself as a supporter to arguing that he personally made the bill even better.
Second, McCain’s argument flatly contradicts what the VFW knows to be true.
VFW’s deputy director for legislative affairs Eric Hilleman: The Graham-Burr-McCain plan is “very partisan and is seen as a way to convolute the GI bill, or to slow the Webb-Hagel proposal down.”
VFW National Commander George Lisicki: “People are leaving after their first enlistment because they are tired of being shot at, and their families are tired of the frequent deployments… Whether they stay in four years or 20, we owe this newest, greatest generation the gift of education.”
In context, McCain was admittedly in a tough spot. The VFW championed the Webb/Hagel bill and made it one of the group’s top legislative priorities of this Congress, while McCain fought against the VFW every step of the way. McCain couldn’t exactly be honest, and address the organization today with an explanation on why he tried to deny veterans better educational benefits.
So, McCain chose Door #2 — he lied to them, and hoped the veterans in the audience wouldn’t know the difference. The result is a situation in which McCain adds insult to injury — he fought against better benefits for veterans, then he misled veterans about his own efforts.
It’s pretty much the opposite of “support the troops.”
And the good folks at Think Progress McCain Steals Credit For GI Bill By Heralding His Own Proposal That VFW Called ‘Very Partisan’ add these additional comments:
It is audacious for McCain to go before the VFW and claim credit for a bill he nearly destroyed, considering the VFW was one of the bill’s strongest backers. It first endorsed the proposal in June 2007, and continued to press for the bill this year, rejecting McCain’s supposed concerns about military retention and stridently criticizing his alternative proposal.
In fact, the VFW will award Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), the original sponsor of the GI Bill, a gold medal and citation of merit for his leadership on the measure. Lisicki praised Webb as the “champion” veterans needed:
The VFW had been pushing for a new GI Bill for 10 years. We had called, written, testified, and met with every (congressional) member and staffer. We were greeted with sympathetic ears, but what we needed was a champion in the corner of America’s newest ‘Greatest Generation.’ We needed someone who could reason and negotiate across party lines like a gentleman, yet push through obstacles with bulldog tenacity. That someone was Jim Webb.
McCain also promoted his radical veterans health plan, which the VFW actively opposes.
McCain always claims to have a "perfect" voting record on veterans issues. He has made the exact same claim before — and it is just as false today as it was then. As ThinkProgress documented Flummoxed By Vietnam Vet, McCain Falsely Claims He ‘Received Every Award From Every Vets Organization’, McCain’s so-called “perfect” record has been roundly criticized by prominent veterans groups: He received a grade of D from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a 20 percent vote rating from the Disabled Veterans of America; Vietnam Veterans of America noted McCain had “voted against us” in 15 “key votes.”
As for the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars — with whom McCain claims to have a “perfect voting record” — both groups vigorously supported Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) GI Bill that McCain tirelessly opposed.
And for the record: the bill passed the Senate 92 to 6. John McCain failed to even show up to vote for the bill for which he now seeks to claim credit. Barack Obama voted with the majority.