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March 22, 2008



What is becoming abundantly clear (at least, studying the images “with the sound off”) is that McCain not only lacks any idea how to present himself professionally to the public, but that he seems characterologically unable to lend himself to this kind of management. 

Comparing Dubya to McCain in terms of basic raw material, there may not be much difference in terms of underlying meagerness of vision, patience and depth.  The major difference, however, is that Bush — as Rove’s construction — was a near-perfect study in terms of staying in role and following his (mostly written out)  lines. 

I raise the issue not as a political problem for McCain.  In fact, nothing would satisfy me more than to see his campaign go down in flames before he really gets out of the gate.  Why the presentation of incompetence is particularly noteworthy, however, has to do with the way the traditional press seems so intent on catching him before he hits the ground, by either ignoring these demonstrations of incompetence or dispelling them as insignificant. 

Maybe the press is so hopeful about having a competitive race to cover (especially since the getting has been so good up till now), that they (however unwittingly) are willing to do what it takes — and believe me, it’s going to take a lot — to save McCain from taking himself out.

Of course, isolating the (bone-headed) pictures from the (mediating) words is the simplest way of bringing the wobbling, warbling McCain into greater relief.  My advise, as a result — focusing, this time, on Joe the Babysitter’s on-air correction of Mac’s incredible Iran-al Qaeda gaffe — is: just look.

Campaign denies McCain’s Iran/al Qaeda ‘gaffe.’ (includes video – Think Progress)

Our Man In New Hampshire #3: McCain/Lieberman ‘08 (Chin’s photo-essay does a particularly good job illuminating Lieberman as a “crutch,” although the press continues to ignore it.  In retrospect, I think the final shot is also particularly interesting — BNN)

(image: Nader Daoud/AP.  Amman, Jordan, March 18, 2008)

  • Doctor Biobrain

    I’m of the opinion that McCain’s dependence on the media is really going to hurt him, because he’s just so used to being taken care of that he lacks the self-preservation instincts most politicians have. He’s just going to keep bullcharging ahead and saying whatever pops into his head (which usually will involve him telling his audience what they want to hear) and even the media won’t be able to protect him much longer. And just as the Bushies wrongly imagined that their spin machine was invincible and ended up breaking it, McCain will soon learn that the media isn’t all-powerful when it comes to protecting him; particularly not with a liberal blogosphere which has more political expertise and fact-checking skillz than the media that coddles him.
    Even now, the media is finding itself having to write stories about things that hurt McCain, even if the stories are designed to make the controvesies go away. But as Republicans have known for years, all that’s necessary is to have the media write about controversies. And the more they want to talk about why McCain’s critics are wrong, the more people will hear what those critics say. And with McCain’s shoot from the hip tendencies, there will be a LOT of controversies for people to hear. Eventually, I suspect that the media’s herdlike tendencies might take over and they might even start dumping him.

  • Gasho

    The picture at hand: McCain is being steadied by the arm, with Judas whispering foreign policy cliff notes in his ear – while holding the shadow of the microphone in his hands.
    The image: Two old men taking a senior citizen tour of the middle east. Two old hawks who can’t keep their prey straight any longer, too old to be fighting, and not old enough to know it’s time to leave the fighting to others.
    Will Joe Lieberman sleep quietly in his old age – having betrayed the Democrats – and played his cards for the war machine – and now seeing that the time for war may be fading, will he put his peace button on and wear his sad clown face at the pearly gates?
    McCain is at the end of his career. He’s feeble, but won’t give up the fight. He had just enough strength to wobble to the top of the Republican heap – but seems barely able to stand up there and weather the winds. The real pressure is yet to come, but he’s looking more tired and vulnerable than ever. His tough talk on security is going to be hard to push when he couldn’t hold a security job at the local Walmart.

  • margaret

    There is something refreshing about a bull in a china shop…even though I have no use for McCain. There is a level of sincerity about his bumbling.

  • Cactus

    OMG, these two are really old!
    McCain is the nominee, not because of anything he DID, but because the rest of the republican field was so terrible. Lieberman is about to find out he hitched his star to a red sun.

  • David

    BAG, it’s to bad that nothing would satisfy you more than to see “his campaign go down in flames before he really gets out of the gate.” In your Utopia is the mere election of a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress going to magically solve complicated issues like Iraq, climate change, or overconsumption. When Bill Clinton pulled out of Somalia did the humanitarian crisis end? Do remind us how Bill Clinton took concrete steps to end America’s self-destructive addiction to oil. Some of the best and most enduring legislation that the government has produced has been when we’ve had divided government or a dominant party that does not seek to destroy the opposition.
    I remember when your blog used to raise the level of political discourse through a clever combination of incisive humor and pointed commentary. Now you’re resorted to the same Rovian “winner take all” tactics that we’ve rightly denounced for the past seven years. What happened?
    I would have thought a positive outcome in Iraq or a comprehensive solution to global warming would have been a higher priority than destroying the most progressive Republican candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

  • black dog barking

    David, the BAG expressing a personal aside about the McCain campaign is hardly Rovian. No offense but being the “most progressive Republican candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower” says that Sen McCain is more progressive than Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, and GW Bush. So is everyone I know. Throw in the Republican candidates that were never president, Goldwater and Bob Dole, and I’m not convinced the statement is even true.
    Looking at the image I see Sen McCain getting support from Sen Lieberman of the Connecticut for Lieberman party. There I see Karl Rove.

  • Puka

    Caption: “Dang, Joe, how come I keep f**king up!?”
    As for “most progressive Republican candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower” – isn’t linking the concepts “progressive” and “Republican” in the same sentence just all kinds of oxymoronic? Maybe in Teddy Roosevelt’s day, but now, a hundred years later? Please.

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