Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Prematurely Presidential McCain

Below is the new web ad the McCain campaign has released. It's entitled 'Tolerance' and it pleads with us to be...er...tolerant. Of each other. Nay, it urges us to go beyond mere toleration of those who differ with us on the great questions of the day. It is our moral duty to respect each other no matter how profoundly we may disagree.

Right across the political spectrum from Arianna Huffington to Rush Limbaugh we are all sincerely dedicated to the betterment of America, just coming at the issues involved from diverse perspectives. Vigorous, principled but always civilised debate between rational men and women of unquestionable good will must be the order of the day.

Here endeth the civics lesson! Niceness guru Dr. Forni will be chuffed.

What a load of twaddle and what a dreary, dreadful ad. The horse manure piling up here is so fresh if you look closely you can see the steam still rising. It is so much pious nonsense. Tone and attitude in an election are determined only by the cut and thrust of the campaign itself, the pivotal events both staged and sudden, the ebb and flow of support, the attacks and responses, the inevitable October surprise and not by anodyne aspirations that each of our moms will bake equally swell apple pies.

The imperatives inherent in a candidate's overall strategy and the varying tactical approaches that grow from it, some of them premeditated, many made up on the fly, are - or should be - paramount. If gentlemanly discourse works, fine, if not, well so be it. This is as it should be, indeed as it always was. Democracy by its nature is a rollicking robust rambunctious affair and the intensity of the passions aroused are directly related to the importance of what is at stake.

In Presidential electoral politics, apart from George Washington's unopposed elevations, there were no 'good old days' when opposing pairs of bewigged grandees or top-hatted dandies promenaded about the public square exchanging philosophical pleasantries with each other while dispassionate and judicious citizens gravely made their choice between a Republican Kant and a Democratic Hegel!

In every election from John Adam's first triumph to John Kerry's defeat the contending parties all ended up, in Johnny Cash's immortal words, "kickin' n' gougin' in the blood and the mud and the beer". McCain, an irascible and contrary critter, knows this of course and is temperamentally well suited to it. Click the menu button on the clip below and view some of the torpedos his campaign launched broadside against Mitt Romney's Presidential yacht that ended up being all sail and no rudder.

These ads are pugnacious, merciless and bloody. And rightly so. Romney is such a phony he should have gatecrashed the Dems' debates and given those triplets of tendentiousness, Edwards, Clinton and Obama, a real run for their money. Did McCain take the high road when confronted with Mitt's puerile posturing on a par with John Kerry's 'reporting for duty' salute? Did he hell! He tore into the Pro-Life abortion defender and left the life-long rifle-toting gun control advocate as dead as one of his imaginary "small varmints".

The ad is also self-satisfied and self-indulgent and way too wordy. The internet is cheap as spit and encourages verbal and visual flatulence. The voice over is repetitious and quietly hectoring like a Politically Correct uncle telling you not to talk to strangers but to take care not to hurt any leering pervert's sensitivities at the same time. Refuse interaction with a friendly smile before you run like hell away.

In addition to the funereal pacing the visuals are clunky, static, samey and weirdly old-fashioned as if directed by some old codger who cut his teeth on the Donna Reed Show way back when Christian Archibald Herter was Secretary of State. If this is any indication of the dynamism we can expect for McCain's assault on the White House it's gonna be a long long summer and a dismal autumn.

Indeed McCain seems bent on taking the high road, no doubt in contrast to the Dem's daily display of midget mud-wrestling but also - and more worryingly - because it appeals to his inner smug, of which he has more than a wee smidgen. It makes him look presidential but it also enables him to feel presidential. Hence the self-serving magnanimity of the ad. He is graciously exhorting the rest of us to strive to achieve to his high standards.

This is also the reason why he can be so vicious to fellow Republicans but so emollient with Democrats. Indeed the more extreme the Democrat the smarmier the Senator from Arizona becomes. Teddy Kennedy, Russ Feingold, take a bow. Such anomalous and, at times, reprehensible behavior shows his moral superiority to the world but also and more importantly to himself. John McCain is a man who believes he has a lot to personally live up to and he spends much too much time and energy living up to it.

This psychological flaw was the cause not the result of his over-reaction to his association with the Keating Five scandal in respect of which even the New York Times agrees he was completely exonerated. That would be enough for most of us. We did nothing wrong and we were seen to do nothing wrong. Case closed. Not Mac.

The mere breath of scandal about him sufficed to make McCain react as if he were actually contaminated. Like an hysterical bride fixated on some tiny flaw in her gorgeous gown, his sense of immaculateness was violated. His compulsive-obsessive need to reach across the aisle on the most inappropriate of issues was the result. The Maverick of the Senate was born! What better way to display one's sinlessness than high-minded cooperation with the bitter enemies of one's Party and noble, though at times brutal, at times snide, repudiation of one's own colleagues? If this is integrity it has its own peculiar pathology.

Thus the silliness of his crypto-Leftist stand against tax cuts "for the wealthiest 10% of Americans".

Thus his quasi-totalitarian impoverishment of the democratic process with the ludicrous McCain-Feingold Act which in the name of restricting the evil influence on political campaigns of unlimited funds ensured that only multi-millionaires are in a position to even contemplate launching a Presidential bid.

Thus his unlooked for apology on Martin Luther King Day for having opposed its establishment, a strangely irrelevant distraction which is completely superfluous to his current political requirements.

This is John McCain's Achilles heel and both he and we are stuck with it. It is a serious political weakness and it could prove his downfall. Whichever opponent he faces will have at their back the wind leaking from George Bush's tires. Nor, despite the predictable pieties, is there anything remotely gentlemanly or gentlewomanly about either of them.

They both secrete a ravenous ambition in their bodily fluids. They each have no scruples about exploiting, manipulating and inflaming the worst partisan passions of the electorate. They are both past masters at recruiting substantial millions of useful idiots and/or innocents to their 'cause'.

And one or other of them will stand at the head of a chronically failed party which, whenever entrusted with power, has unsurprisingly spawned spectacular failure both at home and abroad with the profligacy that only the congenitally unprincipled can achieve. The last successful full-term Democratic Executive was the Truman Administration and even the redoubtable Harry had the dogs in the street whimpering at the end.

Their last moment of real glory was when the Kennedy brothers faced down tyranny and Nikita Khruschev in October 1962. The surviving sibling is a ghastly measure of the degradation of what was once a mighty, wise and generous political party which in its day nurtured the American melting pot and from it forged a Super Power that kept the world free.

The present Democratic candidates are to their great forebears what Warren Harding was to Abraham Lincoln on the other side of the political divide. JohnMcCain is, I'll hazard, no Lincoln but, as man and politician, he is orders of magnitude both better and greater than those who now face him.

The party which he leads is by orders of similar magnitudes better and greater not only than their domestic opposition but is far and away the greatest and the best on the face of the globe in terms of philosophy, principles and personnel.

For all these reasons Senator McCain needs to do vigorous and unremitting battle against his opponents from now until November 4. Let him quell any neurotic urges he may feel to treat kindly a treacherous enemy simply because they are his the enemy. Let him resist any temptation he may feel to fashion a toothless Presidential persona more aloof than alluring. He need not get down in the gutter with his opponents but neither should he make believe that this will be anything but a bitter, bloody mother of all battles. He is in for the fight of his life and he needs to be ready to throw his best punches "from day one", so to speak.

Then when it's all over he will be in a position to display the only magnanimity that it's safe to show in politics - the generosity of the victor.




1 comment:

christmasghost said...

i have to disagree with you on this one. the ad, while 'seemingly' old fashioned, is a good one. would i want to see it as the main ad...no.
but, McCain is a smart guy, he knows that one of the tenets that this country was founded on "united we stand, divided we fall" has been trampled on so badly in the last decade [by the socialists posing as democrats] that it does need attention brought to it.you said:
"Thus his unlooked for apology on Martin Luther King Day for having opposed its establishment, a strangely irrelevant distraction which is completely superfluous to his current political requirements."
this is where i especially have to disagree with you. what he did was brilliant...a preemptive strike at the political correctness that would have gotten him if he hadn't of addressed it first.and when he was booed....every American was thinking the same thing [i don't count the hacks here...no one does] "how rude, how obnoxious....and haven't we all made mistakes?"
he was pointing out to the American people, and the rude idiots that booed him couldn't have helped him more if he had hired them to do it, that he is the adult in the race, he is the honest guy, and people can trust him. he is going to volunteer the info...you won't have to go-a-digging for the truth...he will just tell you. even if you don't want to hear it, but NEED to.
and the contrast between him and the idiotic dems in the race couldn't be greater.
especially since liberal talk show host [an endangered species] ed schultz [an idiot...granted] while introducing obama,called McCain a warmonger.obama's campaign apologized for it but ed won't back down. once again...the gift that keeps on giving.
obama and hillary are both PROVEN liars...sniper-gate and "my parents met at the selma march" come to mind as just the tip of the iceberg here....
and the ad shows something that every American already knows. McCain is HONEST. right down to the bone.
but we also know something else as well...you don't screw with McCain....he may seem like the nicest guy on earth right now, but come general election time all of obama's BS will be chucked right back in his face...with a smile.
don't underestimate how much the American people are tired and bored right down to the bone with childish bickering. that's why none of us ever rent three small children for that cross country trip, right?