Saturday, November 8, 2008

Max Cleland's Chance for Revenge

Max Cleland’s Chance for Revenge

“Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats”

-Carrie Underwood

It’s certain now. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss did not get a majority for re-election.
If he wants to hold on to his Senate seat, he will have to defeat challenger Jim Martin in a run off election on December 2.

It will be a day for patriotic Americans to even the score. Chambliss does not deserve to sit in the United States Senate.

The Senate seat previously belonged to Max Cleland. Six years ago, Chambliss got in the gutter to steal it from him.

I’m stunned to see that John McCain is planning to campaign for Chambliss. Cleland ,
(ironically, like John McCain) is a bona fide American hero. His valor during the Vietnam war resulted in his becoming a triple amputee. After a life in public service, he was elected a United States Senator from Georgia.

In the Senate, Cleland served honorably and well. And in 2002, Max was the victim one of the most disgusting smear campaigns in American history.

When the country was recovering from the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center,
Saxby Chambliss ran a campaign that claimed that Max Cleland was somehow helping Osama Bin Laden. He based his convoluted “evidence” on some Senate procedural vote that wasn’t the slightest bit relevant.

In the 2002 climate of fear, Chambliss’s lies and distortion worked. Now it is 2008, it is time for Chambliss to face the music.

I want to hear Chambliss’s explanation now. What he did in 2002 doesn’t work six years later.

It is time for Chambliss to atone for his sins.

One of the biblical 10 commandants is not to bear false witness. Chambliss will have to answer to God someday but on December 2nd, he needs to answer to the people of Georgia.

I’m hoping the rest of the country pitches in to defeat Chambliss. I also hope that John McCain starts to act like the John McCain of 2000 instead of the one we saw this year and puts patriotism over party.

Having a Vietnam War hero like McCain campaign against the man who smeared Max Cleland is an outrage.

I don’t know much about the challenger Martin. I really don’t need to. I would vote for Larry the Cable Guy or Homer Simpson if they were running against Saxby Chambliss.

Chambliss got in the Senate with a dirty trick and he needs to go home.

Cleland’s loss was a low point in American politics. How you can question the patriotism of a man who left several body parts in Southeast Asia? Why did voters go for it?

It inspired candidates in other states to pick out phony charges and run negative ads. If you can get away with smearing Max Cleland’s patriotism, you could get away with anything.

2008 is the time to make it stop. Once and for all.

Cleland is a real hero, with real accomplishments, who dedicated his life to serving his country. He was brought down by a guy who smudged the truth.

Actually he wasn’t brought down, he just had to leave the Senate. It takes more than Saxby Chambliss to bring Max Cleland down. I met Cleland after his Senate career, when he was traveling the country, helping like minded candidates. It can't be easy for a triple amputee to be barnstorming the country. It would be simple for Max Cleland to sit home and let others lead the charge.

That is not Max Cleland’s style.

Chambliss cheated to get his Senate seat.

I want Chambliss, and every other politician, to think before the next time they cheat.

Don McNay is the founder of McNay Settlement Group in Richmond, Ky. He is the author of the Unbridled World of Ernie Fletcher. You can read his award winning column at or write to him at He is Treasurer of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Credit Cards in the world of taxpayer-owned banks

“meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

-The Who

The American people ponied up $700 billion to supposedly bail out some big banks on Wall Street. So far, we have not seen the banks what banks are supposed to do, lend people money. Instead they are doing the thing that Wall Street raiders do, take over other companies.

Bush and Paulsen encouraged bad behavior in their bailout bill. They gave big banks money and tax incentives to gobble up small banks. They made sure that their buddies on Wall Street were taken care of.

Most big banks didn’t need bad behavior encouragement. They’ve been able to do harmful things long before the government started subsiding them.

Some of the biggest abuses come in the way that banks have handed out credit cards. Now that I, like every other American taxpayer, indirectly owns part of the Wall Street banks, I want to talk to them about how they have been acting.

I want to do is to throw credit card companies off every college campus. Is it any wonder that the banks needed a $700 billion bailout? What kind of business gives huge lines of credit to students who don’t have jobs?

I always thought that you had to have a job to get credit. Not anymore. I have a college student in my household. He has minimal income, no assets and big student loans. However, the credit card companies love him. He gets ten times more mail than I do. All of them “pre approved” credit cards. All go straight in the trash.

Its bad for the college students to run up debt before they have jobs. Its bad for the nation to have a generation of college graduates paying off high interest credit cards instead of saving money to buy houses and cars.

Giving cards to college students couldn’t have been that great of a business or the banks wouldn’t have needed a bailout.

I saw an article in the New York Times that said that credit cards were the next problem area for the banks.


We’ve had years of students, people coming out of bankruptcy and people with no income getting tons of credit cards. Usually with interest rates and fees that would make a loan shark blush.
Since they are getting multi million dollars bonuses, executives at Wall Street banks should have figured out what most of us know. Broke people don’t pay loans back.

You can charge them all the interest and fees that you want. If they don’t have any money, they are not going to give any to you. Especially if you are an unsecured debtor like a credit card.

People will make an extra effort to hang on to secured debts, like their houses and cars. The credit cards will be last in line.

We are now in an economy where a lot of people who were barely hanging on will get closer to the edge. You see people losing their jobs or going from high paying jobs to minimum wages. You see people who counted on the value of their house or 401k plan being suddenly disappointed.

We see a lot of people worried about feeding their families and keeping a roof over their heads.

When it comes to feeding your family or paying your credit card, the family is going to win every time.

I hope the banks factored that reality in before the came up with the $700 billion figure. They might want to hang on to some of that taxpayer cash instead of using it to buy other banks.

As bad as people are projecting, it will get worse. Recent events will change how people feel about debt.

People who got stuck with high interest credit cards aren’t going to be in a hurry to pay them off. Even if they can.

Banks had two things going for them in collecting credit card debts. They could shame people by embarrassing them in front of their neighbors and they could threaten to hurt their credit scores.

Its going to be hard for a bank that was bailed out by taxpayers to shame anyone into anything. Since people with good credit can’t get loans, there is no incentive for someone with bad credit to even bother. They can default on their debt and make the banks come after them.

I’ve tried to collect from someone who was determined not to pay me. It was expensive, time consuming and I never did get all my money. Try multiplying that by a few million people. That is what the big banks are going to be dealing with.

From a moral standpoint, I want banks to clean up their act in the credit card department. Since many of the bankers work for me, and the rest of the American taxpayers, I’d like to protect my investment by making sure the credit card issuers get out of the stupidity game.

I can’t afford to give them another $700 billion.

Don McNay is the founder of McNay Settlement Group and the author of the book Son of a Son of A Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery. You can write to him at or read other things he has written at . McNay is a cotributor to the Huffington Post and Treasurer of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.