Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

John McCain goes west

August 26, 2018

Just a little souvenir wisenheimery from the bad old days.

You’re going to see some relentless hagiography about John McCain from the national press for the better part of quite some time.

That’s the audience he played to, after all.

For a different perspective, check out Amy Silverman’s piece in the Phoenix New Times. Silverman, who covered McCain in the 1990s, calls him “one of the most fascinating politicians in history,” and a few other things, too.

I saw him mostly as a ruthless opportunist, a tireless self-promoter, focused on John McCain the Brand®. You could dig down into what seemed on the surface to be some statesmanly act and see the real McCain down there, smirking and rubbing his hands together. He recalled President Eisenhower’s secretary of defense, Charles Erwin Wilson, who famously told the Senate Committee on Armed Services: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist.”

Substitute “John McCain” for “General Motors” and you’ll see what I mean.

Like George W. Bush he achieved high office thanks in part to a famous name, unearned wealth and a pugnacious ignorance that some mistook for straight shooting. Unlike Dubya, McCain was a sure-enough tough guy. But both suffered from the delusion that their guts held all the answers they’d ever need.

Hammers in search of nails, they teamed up to bring us the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which continue to rack up bills and body counts. For an up-close-and-personal look at the latter, see Pulitzer-winner C.J. Chivers and his excellent book, “The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Remember “that old Beach Boys song? ‘Bomb Iran?'” You can be sure the Iranians do. As do more than a few American pilots who already had plenty on their plates, I imagine.

Here’s another lame joke that happily fell flat: For his last presidential bid, in 2008, McCain scraped the bottom of the Republican barrel and came up with running mate Caribou Barbie, in a stroke legitimizing the Tinfoil Beanie Brigade. Some think this is the shove that sent the Republic on its drunken stagger toward Il Douche, but we’ve always leaned in that direction and it was only a matter of time before we finally got there.

When you hear all the sermons about McCain’s selfless devotion to country, remember what he was willing to do to win the presidency. He would have sacrificed us all on the altar of his own ambition.

• Editor’s note: Charlie Pierce, who had a much closer look at McCain than I did, recalls a man he liked and admired, while adding that he “was destined, always, to disappoint me politically, but that was only because we didn’t agree on anything.”

A chile reception

December 16, 2013
Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Weird dreams this morning. I was working for a newspaper (!) again, so I guess it qualifies as a nightmare.

So I walk into the newsroom, late as usual, and a receptionist type hands me a note with a short clip attached, whispering in dire tones about some class of tragic typo.

I reply, “D’you have any idea how many people we have reading copy these days? I tried to get the city desk to read one fucking thing yesterday, but nooooooo. …”

Then, since John McCain is sitting in front of this person’s desk for some reason, perhaps awaiting an audience with the publisher, I whip a Three Stooges routine on him, poking him in the chest with one finger and then, when he glances down, flicking his nose.

Moving on, I notice that nobody is at their desks. They’re all in the big conference room, and the mood is not evocative of a holiday party.

“Uh oh,” I think to myself. And then I wake up.

I think maybe I overdid the red chile last night.