Friday, July 25, 2008

John McCain's press envy

I don't have enough command of the English language to describe the reaction of the McCain campaign to press coverage of Barack Obama's recent trip abroad to Europe and the Middle East. Unhappy with what he described as the "breathless coverage" of his fellow sitting senator and Democratic opponent in the November presidential election, John McCain had this to say:

"With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Senator Obama now addressing his speeches to 'the people of the world,' I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are, too."

"This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say that I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Sen. Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

The first comment is just standard political rhetoric. The second comment . . . I don't know . . . sort of ventures into Hillary territory . . . "los[ing] a war in order to win a political campaign" is right up there with "a Christian . . . as far as I know," "white working-class voters" and the RFK comment. There is one key difference, though. Hillary Clinton is much smarter than John McCain, and knew exactly what she was saying. McCain isn't that smart, doesn't think well or quickly on his feet, and has trouble summoning the words to describe his thoughts and feelings on any one of a number of topics. So to accuse his opponent of traitorous behavior is, on the one hand, simply a reflection of McCain's most visible weaknesses: his steeped-in-conventionalism approach to politics and policy that lacks any originality, buttressed by a staggering inability to speak fluently about the "serious" issues that he claims he understands so well. If this is the approach McCain plans on taking into the general election campaign, he should quit now. I don't think he has much of a chance in November anyway. Going down a road of resentment isn't going to help him with voters on the bubble.

How, though, to describe John McCain whining about the "fawning" press coverage of Barack Obama? As I said, my vocabulary ain't that good. Here are a few suggestions:

a) surrealism
b) irony
c) WTF?
d) Dude!?!

If there is any one politician of national reputation that has enjoyed almost complete immunity from the petty press coverage that follows most other candidates competing nationally, it is John McCain. How else do you explain how a career right-wing congressman and now senator has enjoyed a reputation as a "moderate" or "maverick" politician? Take a look at McCain's record and you'll find nothing moderate or maverick about him. On just one topic, "the surge," McCain has benefited from the corporate news media's indifference to investigative journalism or, at minimum, any willingness to state categorically the failure of the U.S. invasion of Iraq to achieve anything meaningful in that nation. McCain's support for the surge reinforces what opponents have long known: that the"need to keep a large fighting force in Iraq demonstrate the fragility of the country's current political regime. How getting violence down to 2004 levels, which McCain said was "unacceptable," is a sign of success is something I don't quite understand.

When John McCain starts to complain that his opponent is getting kid-gloves treatment from the press, you know the world has turned upside down.

1 comment:

DREverybody said...

I don't care what the kids today say, the B's I got from you were way better than A's from a lot of professors because I knew I had earned them.