Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 24, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE McCAIN MYTH....David Broder says John McCain "is the rare exception who is not assumed to be willing to sacrifice personal credibility to prevail in any contest." Bob Somerby is pissed:

The Dean doesn't tell us who assumes this — nor does he say if their assumption is warranted. And this is odd, because let's be frank: John McCain basically lied through his teeth all through his last run for the White House.

He lied about the Confederate flag — later said that he had, for God's sake. He lied about Bush's tax proposal. He ran a phone bank against Bush in Michigan, then openly lied about that. He reinvented his stand on abortion every time he opened his mouth. He kept telling a nasty joke about Gore — a "joke" which was utterly bogus on the factual level.

Today, he lies about the things he said about Bush's tax plan back then. But a tired old man somehow hits the key which produces this praise for McCain.

I'll give Broder credit for one thing: he's right about McCain's straight-talkiness being generally "assumed." And look — it's not as if the only way to fight this legend is by pretending that the polar opposite is true instead. McCain is hardly the most devious politician ever to take the national stage. But there's plenty of evidence that his MO is to get outsized credit for a very small number of mavericky stands while spending about 98% of his political life doing all the usual things that career politicians do. He hangs with lobbyists, he does favors for big contributors, he waffles on positions that might hurt him, he panders to constituencies whose votes he needs, and he very rarely takes a politically risky stand on anything. In other words, he's just a normal pol with a really good PR shop.

And for all the talk about how ambitious Hillary is, does anyone really doubt that McCain has her well beaten on that score? He ran as a conservative bulldog in 2000, he moderated his positions and seriously considered switching parties to run as VP in 2004, and then switched back to Mr. Conservative afterward to prep for yet another run in 2008. McCain really, really, REALLY wants to be president. Isn't it about time someone noticed that?

Kevin Drum 12:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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INKBLOT FOR PRESIDENT '08

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

You are preaching to the choir. The people who need to wake and smell McCain's shit are all the devoted members of his base starting with David Broder.

John McCain is a conservative in "maverick" clothing.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 24, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is a male politician and therefore "assumed" to be ambitious; Clinton is female, therefore any ambition shown is odd or "unseemly".

Posted by: alameda on April 24, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

He ran as a conservative bulldog in 2000, he moderated his positions and seriously considered switching parties to run as VP in 2004, and then switched back to Mr. Conservative afterward to prep for yet another run in 2008.

But the thing is, is that McCain runs his campaigns for prez. like he runs his Senate campaigns: for five years he governs as a Broderite, and then the sixth years he goes out a lies through his teeth. The 'honesty' lies in the fact that he admits afterwards that he lied through his teeth.

The advantage to McCrazy (the only advantage) is that you know what you're going to get: someone who careens from position to position from month to month based on whatever the press likes. Then he decides that was a dumb idea. He is at least efficient at being crazy.

Hill is cold and calculating, but you don't know what you're going to get because she becomes whatever she deems neccessary to mold herself into. She is, in effect, inefficient at being crazy.

max
['Anyways.']

Posted by: max on April 24, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Where in the hell is the Democratic National Committee? Could it possibly make sense to run a good national ad identifying all this stuff about McCain? How about one that demonstrates how the Republicans campaign with a shell game that focuses entirely on the personality of the candidate?

Democrats suck at national communication, period.

Posted by: urban legend on April 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

What was the "nasty joke" that McCain made about Gore? I only remember the one about Janet Reno being Chelsea Clinton's father.

Posted by: Bill Smugs on April 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

max said:

"Hill is cold and calculating, but you don't know what you're going to get because she becomes whatever she deems neccessary to mold herself into"

Care to give several examples of this? To me she seems a pretty consistent middle-of-the-road Democratic Senator.

Posted by: DR on April 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, don't make my previous comment a slam at Howard Dean as against Rahm Emanuel. The Democratic Congressional Committee's terrible advertising strategy blew the Tammy Duckworth election big time in 2006.

Posted by: urban legend on April 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think that McCain gets credit for two things. First, compared to most politicians his pre-politics life was interesting and impressive. Second, while he's very conservative, he's not a slogan-jabbering zombie like the vast majority Republicans. (Sen. Simpson of Wyoming was liked for the same reason). EVery once in awhile he says something mildly amusing or interesting, and every once in awhile he says something that contradicts the Republican zombie slave party line.

In other words, he's being compared mostly to other Republican politicians.

Posted by: John Emerson on April 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Since the default position among the press is 'All politicians are liars, and politics itself is a giant, irrelevant, game', and McCain is the candidate who's basically gone on record admitting as much, why wouldn't he be the media's darling? He shares their world view, and gives them barbecue, and they all have a good laff at the rubes.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 24, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Both McCain and Hillary are ambitious and calculating. Shouldn't we just leave it at that? McCain has done a lot of calculating political acts but has he cried on national TV to get more votes? Rather than dwell on either one of these bad candidates, the best thing to do is to support Obama who is neither ambitious nor calculating but acts altruistically for the betterment of this country.

Posted by: TLM on April 24, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

He flip flops because he has flipped.

He'll flip the bird at anyone who gets his temper going.

McCain is able.

Able to....

What a terrific guy he'd be as our POTUS.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 24, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Let me stress: I wouldn't say McCain is more devious than all or most other pols. I wouldn't even know how to measure that. I would say two things:

First, the prevailing narratives have almost nothing to do with actual behavior. McCain did lie and mislead a fair amount during Campaign 2000, for example.

Second, he almost surely did this in part because he knew he could. Clearly, the press corps accepted his misstatements--pretended they couldn't understand the (accurate) complaints from rival camps. Many pols would take advantage of that kind of permission slip from the national press.

Posted by: bob somerby on April 24, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Where is even one brave soul who will say right out loud on the cable yakkers' shows:

"McCain will say and do anything to get elected."

They said it about Gore, endlessly. They're saying it about Clinton now. Now, when it's actually TRUE, the crickets chirp merrily.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 24, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

He's the pimp and the whore.

Posted by: rusrus on April 24, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Among adults, I think it's pretty well recognized that ambitious people are the ones who run for President. Please, like Barack Obama is not just as ambitious as the other candidates. There's nothing wrong with it.

If you're not ambitious, you're not going to bother to try and run, because it's a pain in the ass, as ambitious but lazy Fred Thompson found out. So I never understand why "ambitious" is supposed to be such a horrible slam against a candidate.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 24, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, McCain isn't Rove, Cheney, et al. cynical/evil/powerhungry, but he's close. If you examine his conduct on his signature issues--campaign finance reform, anti-torture, war etc. he's as bad as any national level politician in the past 35 years. He broke the laws he wrote himself, he cynically manipulates the non-partisan nature of the cfr groups to get the reformer cred and the cash, he has his lobbists and fucks them too; he pretends to be against torture--considering his life experience he probably is--but acquiesces anyway to appeal to his racist/xenophobic base; he takes the exact opposite views on open ended conflict on haiti and iraq to serve his momentary political needs--he lies about everything, always. He is corrupt has no principles, and lies constantly about his past and current positions, yet he manages to have a rep as being unique in shunning all three. And leaving his sickly wife to marry a young heiress to ensure a path to political stardom, well, that's pretty ambitiously cynical to me.

Hillary never did that--though she may have done the opposite. Nonetheless, she started out as a Goldwater Girl, then a few years later became a militant feminist, and has been everything in between during her poltical career to benefit her chances at moving up--from dropping the Rodham to voting for Iraq, she's sold out everyone of her supposed principles. As Geffin said, "everyone in politics lies, but the ease that the Clintons lie is troubling."

Hillary and McCain really are two uncommonly bad politicians.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 24, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK
And for all the talk about how ambitious Hillary is....Kevin Drum 12:12 PM
Strange, for all evil ambition, there is only one candidate who is so ambitious as to expect the presidency while serving a national office only a few years and in his 40s.
.....Hill is cold and calculating,....She is, in effect, inefficient at being crazy.... max at 12:24 PM/i>
There is no obviously no smear or slime that is beyond the anti-Clintonites.
he best thing to do is to support Obama who is neither ambitious nor calculating but acts altruistically for the betterment of this country. TLM at 12:34 PM
You left off the necessary sarcasm tag. The two attributes for becoming a candidate are exactly those: ambition to be top dog and calculation on how to accomplish that goal.


Posted by: Mike on April 24, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

People, I think, do get it. Enough so that Family Guy could get away with its "The John McCain Experience" bit last year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vIAfBqWOL4

Nevertheless, it really is time to pound on this. To be sure, I'm not convinced McCain is a bad person, though I do fear he believes his own hype.

Posted by: Jim D on April 24, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, and the whole thing about destroying her political party (and bankrupting her downtrodden postmenopausal base) in her vain struggle to set an unbeatable record for most delegates won in a losing campaign. When you care that much about yourself that you kill your party just because your ego can't handle the shock of admitting defeat, well...even John McCain isn't that ambitious.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 24, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with the commenters who note that ambition is not a bad thing. Obama is definitely ambitious also.

I think the words you are looking for here are "opportunistic" or "pandering."

(And Obama does some pandering too, but in more tolerable doses than either McLame or Hillary).

Posted by: Jim D on April 24, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

To be sure, I'm not convinced McCain is a bad person, though I do fear he believes his own hype.

He is, however, in Randolph Churchill's famous dismissal of Gladstone, "An old man in a hurry".

Which results, and resulted then, in a certain latitudinarian approach to political principles.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 24, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mike on April 24, 2008 at 12:52 PM:

..there is only one candidate who is so ambitious as to expect the presidency while serving a national office only a few years and in his 40s.

That's a hopelessly qualified statement, Mike...and a bad argument. There's been plenty of Presidential contenders with little national experience prior to entering the Presidential race, like Bill Clinton, for example.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

All candidates in politics are self-serving, ambitious, narcissistic (I would make a good President, better than YOU) and basically annoying.

I suppose the best you can hope for is one who is honest too.

Ain't seen one yet.

Doesn't mean I won't vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

Posted by: Carol on April 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

..there is only one candidate who is so ambitious as to expect the presidency while serving a national office only a few years and in his 40s.

Dude, he's on the penny, and the 5-dollar bill.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 24, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

The only political party that has been destroyed is the Republican party, and Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with that. That was George W. Bush with help from a large supporting cast including Tom DeLay and Bill Frist.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are right now strengthening the Democratic party. Did anybody notice how many Republicans are switching parties to vote for one or the other? While some may not be doing it for the right reasons, I'm certain that many of them are inspired by Hillary or Barack, and will be more open to Democrats in the future.

Posted by: DR on April 24, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "McCain is hardly the most devious politician on the national stage."

Campaigning in New Hampshire, McCain said -- and this is a direct quote -- that he was "the only one the special interests don't give money to."

In reality McCain is one of the top recipients of "special interest" money in the Senate, he has a long track record of doing exactly what he has been paid off to do with corporate bribes, and his entire campaign organization is staffed with and run by corporate lobbyists.

So I agree that I wouldn't characterize McCain's statement as "devious".

I would characterize it as a blatant, sneering, raised-middle-finger LIE to the American people, told by one of the most thoroughly corrupt, career-long white-collar criminals in the history of the United States Congress, told with utter confidence that not one of the bought-and-paid-for Republican shills who make up America's so-called "political press corps" will call him on it.

Kevin wrote: "Isn't it about time someone noticed that?"

Isn't it about time that you noticed that the giant corporations that own and control America's mass media want John McCain to be the next president, and that the pundits, "analysts" and political reporters who work for those corporations are doing exactly what they are paid very large salaries to do by "not noticing" that McCain is a corrupt, hypocritical liar, while simultaneously waging vicious campaigns of character assassination against the Democratic candidates?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 24, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno, Kevin, maybe "polar opposite" is a tad much, but I'm pretty much with Somerby on this one. McCain isn't remotely the Straight Talker of media lore.

For instance, look at his voodoo economics. He personally has repeatedly (at least five times by my count) said that cutting taxes raises revenue (not cuts growth, raises revenue). He says a capital gains tax will help people with 401K's (but of course in the real world 401K's are taxed as ordinary income). He claims that allowing business to front load tax deductions won't cost the treasury money (somehow, he claims to think the time value of money applies to business). And so on. Everyone single one, just nutty, every bit as nutty as Ron Paul on the gold standard. And so on for St. McCain's statements in many other areas.

But he and his campaign think he can get away with it, because the press will just assume that he's earnest, no matter what. And so far that strategy is working pretty well I'd say.

Posted by: Crust on April 24, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't about McCain - it's about Broder.

The reason McCain's straight-talkiness is generally "assumed" is that Broder and his fellow Villagers assume it, and never question the legitimacy of their assumptions.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on April 24, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

oops, I meant (missing text in italics):
"somehow, he claims to think the time value of money applies to business but not to government"

Posted by: Crust on April 24, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

For me the best way to address McCain is "do you really want a maverick for president?" I mean, when you sit down and think about it, mavericks are not known for their leadership skills, social skills, diplomacy, or for working for the greater good. Mavericks focus on themselves and their own good. If McCain is elected, he'll have absolutely *no* influence over the Republican members of his party. He'll be a puppet of the RNC. There's no possible way a maverick can bring any kind of change even if McCain promises that.

Posted by: Halfdan on April 24, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

and bankrupting her downtrodden postmenopausal base - client #11

Kevin, this is as offensive as some of mhr's comments, could you please delete it.

And oh, client #11 - IT'S SURE GOING TO TAKE A LOT MORE BEFORE YOU MESSIANICS BANKRUPT US.

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

And he really, really, really wants to beat out Dad and Grandad. The only way he can do this is to be Commander in Chief - at any cost.

Posted by: Trillium on April 24, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers,

Preaching to the choir? Yes.

But the more facts we have, the better armed we are to demolish the "straight-talkin'" myth, which still has a lot of currency even among people that wouldn't care for McCain's politics.

Weenie,

I don't know about the Inkblot campaign. I saw that Domino had some recipes on the campaign website that she stole from Morris the 9-lives cat.

Posted by: thersites on April 24, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, he's just a normal pol with the so-called "liberal media" acting as his PR shop.

Fixed.

Posted by: Gregory on April 24, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites,
Dominominion is not directly related to Inkblot so that doesn't count. And even if she did steal recipes from Morris, so what? Morris is a bit fat slob, unlike the feline residents of the Drum household.

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm voting for Mike Meyer.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on April 24, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, I'll vote for you too. What are you running for, dog catcher?

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

As much as anything else, presidential campaigns are won and lost by the media narratives that rightly or wrongly come to define a candidate. In the case of Repubican nominee John McCain, the seemingly unshakable narrative of the political "maverick" could not be further off the mark. At almost every turn, McCain in his eternal quest for the White House has reversed long-held positions, compromised core principles and swallowed his pride in order to curry favor with both the leading lights of the conservative movement and right-wing Republican primary voters. The untold story of campaign 2008 is simply that of John McCain's transformation from maverick to prostitute.

For the details, see:
"From Maverick to Prostitute: The Untold Story of John McCain."

Posted by: Furious on April 24, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

The DC establishment and elites are supporting Obama but he would lose in a landslide to McCain.
Stupid dim Dems!

Go Hillary!

Posted by: JoseyJ on April 24, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Consider voting for thersites.
He was born 2700 years ago, and got killed 2750 years ago. Only slightly older than McCain, but the experience!!!!

Posted by: thersites on April 24, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

How could I vote for someone who was killed 50 years before he was born?

I think I'll stick with Mike.

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

DR, Hillary is only damaging the party now, and she has zero chance of winning, but her plan to the nomination (such as it is), if enacted, would destroy the party. If the superdelagates overturned the will of the voters, and nominated Hillary, they'd create a cleavage in the party and hand over the white house to John McCain. Everyone knows this, everyone knows she has no chance at the nomination, and yet still she runs--not on a positive message, but almost entirely based on smearing the democratic presidential candidate for president in hopes of making him unelectable--i.e. making him the "black candidate". That is narcisistic and reprehensible--and pure Clinton; the self is always incalculably more important than the party.

optical weenie, do you deny that Clinton supporters are likely to be poor, elderly, and female? And while I hold their intelligence in low regard, I do think that her lies to them--conning them out of money, really--are contemptible. She has no chance of winning, and many of the poor and uneducated cling to her as a reprive from the bitter Bush years; many women are so tainted by decades of sexism that desperately seek some form of validation, however symbolic and ultimately superficial, to take away the sting of their own stunted careers and fallen dreams. I do resent their anxiety being exploited for the fact that Hillary is too small of a person to recognize defeat when she is stairing at it--that and she needs somebody to pay millions for Mark Penn's shitty advice and she doesn't want to diminish her personal fortune when the rubes can help her erase (the financial) consequences (at least) of one of the worst decisons of her life.

Face it, optical weenie, a ten million dollar plus wealth transfer from the poor to the uber-rich is as regressive as it gets. As a good faith transaction, fine, but this is the furthest thing from that.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 24, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

[stupid bronze-age keyboards]

Posted by: thersites on April 24, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Client #11
So I guess only high information voters stair at things, like cleavage.

Man you are one maroon messianic and sure, go ahead and contact your local superdel-a-gate.

Posted by: optical weenie on April 24, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is confused and too old to be anywhere near responsibility. Like GW Bush, he's lied so much that when he says anything remotely truthfull he should be ignored. Meaning why pay any attention to him at all and that goes for the Republican voters as well because you didn't pick McCain, GW and Corporate America did. You've been hoodwinked again and if the Democrats think that the powers that be, meaning Corporate America, are going to allow a fair election, you're living in the wrong country. Just look at how many states do not have an auditable/verifiable voting system. Personally I think it should be a law that states w/o verifiable voting systems cannot participate in National Elections. Period.

Posted by: M. Edmund Howse on April 24, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

optical weenie,

Um, huh? Believe it or not, cleavage is also a term in political science. From the ever helpful dictionary.com:

a critical division in opinion, beliefs, interests, etc., as leading to opposition between two groups: a growing cleavage between the Conservative and Liberal wings of the party.

I was not making a remark directed at Mrs. Clinton's chest, dispite your juvenile interpretation. I thought that was obvious, but of course Clinton supporters are always finding lurking sexism and bias against her, no matter the facts.

This has nothing to do with being anything other than aware of the facts. Clinton cannot win. Barack may be all sorts of nasty things, but he isn't going to lose the nomination. It's too bad you, like most Clintonites, insist your petty emotions guide your behavior, instead of looking at what is best for the party.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 24, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised and kind of gladdened that the consensus seems to be McCain would be a tolerable Prez if our side loses. Maybe we should get used to it, Lanny Davis said today that if Obama is nominated the Republicans will win 49 states.

Posted by: loki on April 24, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm surprised and kind of gladdened that the consensus seems to be McCain would be a tolerable Prez if our side loses."

Um ... what "consensus" would that be? He'd be an awful president, easily as bad as Bush has been.

"Lanny Davis said today that if Obama is nominated the Republicans will win 49 states."

ROFL.... That's a hilariously stupid comment. Tell me why I should take it seriously?

Posted by: PaulB on April 24, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

...he very rarely takes a politically risky stand on anything.

Just offhand, there is McCain-Feingold, passed with one Republican vote in the Senate; immigration reform, which nearly ended his Presidential run; and the Gang of 14, which infuriated people on both sides. Going back a bit, he proposed a carbon dioxide cap and trade in 2003, and helped create the 9/11 Commission, both to Republican howls.

I would love to hear examples of Obama's bold stands in the Senate - he passed on the Gang of 14 and immigration.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on April 24, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

More from Broder: "That is why so many Democrats are praying for this divisive primary campaign to end. They sense, correctly, that the longer it goes on, the better it is for John McCain."

Posted by: vstol on April 24, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, PaulB, the consensus was of the 48 comments above mine. And Lanny Davis gives you an idea of the kind of zealotry Hillary's supporters are marinating in.

Posted by: loki on April 24, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, he's just a normal pol with a really good PR shop.

—Kevin Drum

NO! He's a "normal pol with a really good PR shop" who is also a war hero.

Hell, he's the closest thing to Audie Murphy that Broder has -- to beat his meat to every night.

Posted by: Econobuzz on April 24, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it time somebody noticed?

Well, let's see. Somebody noticed (ABC) that top bush administration officials sat in the White House and discussed fine details of individual torture schemes for prisoners (while continually proclaiming that "we don't torture) and when the story appeared, ABC itself immediately ignored it, followed by virtually all of the MSM

And it was revealed that dozens of retired military generals had been on the Pentagon payroll to very successfully appear as "independent experts" on military strategy while pitching the White House line on the Iraq war all over the MSM....but the MSM has given that story exactly the same treatment....nada.

So what in God's green earth makes you think that the MSM is going to bother doing 5 minutes of Googling to document that John McCain is wearing no clothes?

Besides.....they have more important things to do....there's a black bear on the rampage in New Jersey and they've got a helicopter overhead. It's what the public wants!!!!!

Posted by: dweb on April 24, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Immigtation Reform; so bold! A republican senator from arizona managed to support the bush administration, be a whore for big business, burnish his moderate credentials for the general (at a time when he was universally declared the gop frontrunner), and pander to latinos--all at the same time! Taste the maverick, taste it! And when it endangered his nomination...he backtracked like a true maverick! Brave Sir McCain, brave Sir McCain, he bravely ran away!

I'll grant that McCain's writing and then violating the same law is bold, but stating that writing McCain-Feingold was politically risky is about as genuine as saying the same thing about Hillary sponsoring the Flag-Burning Amendment.

However dumb the conservative base is, the Gang of 14 was nothing but a guarentee that the Dems could no longer filliabuster Bush's (or potentially pres McCain's) judicial nominees.

Tom, you seem to be under the impression that a pol getting good media coverage at the expense of his or her base by pandering to voters not normally predisposed to voting for said pol is bold and politically risky. If so, pretty much every serious contender for a contested seat is as brave as can be.

And yes, Tom, Barack passed on immigration--if, by passed you mean cosponsored the very bill that John McCain introduced. He also supported the Secure Fence Act--as well as climate change legislation. But hey, that's what actually happened, with nothing to do with all the fun stuff going on in Tom McGuire's brain.

But let's not forget McCain's bold stand to investigate what led to the most deadly terrorist attack in US history. Boy that sure hurt his reelection chances!

And not like you care or have either the intellectual capacity or integrity to recognize boldness independent of partisanship, but Obama scolded AA parishoners on MLK day in Ebenezer Baptist Church for their homophobia and mistreatment of gays. Definately not something he needed to do. There are other similar incidences, and he's a politician, so they aren't nearly numerous enough, but consider your dishonest request answered.

Tom, leave the learned and sane here, and go back to your pathetic website and genuflect to your patron saint of boldness and lobbist fucking--where people who want to take part in the orgy can do as they please...and the rest of us don't risk catching any of your diseases.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 24, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

..there is only one candidate who is so ambitious as to expect the presidency while serving a national office only a few years and in his 40s.

Dude, he's on the penny, and the 5-dollar bill.

-Davis X. Machina

Lincoln was 50-51 when he ran and 52 when he was inaugurated. He served his time in national office when he was in his mid 30s, after having served a dozen years on the state level.

Posted by: mdana on April 24, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Client 11 what a gentleman you are. I'm Barack Obama. I told a bunch of black people that they shouldn't be bigoted against gays and Jews. That was really daring of me. People have been beating me up for that all over town. Black people have defected from me in droves. So daring. Such political courage I have.

Posted by: Sam Spade on April 24, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

And not like you care or have either the intellectual capacity or integrity to recognize boldness independent of partisanship, but Obama scolded AA parishoners on MLK day in Ebenezer Baptist Church for their homophobia and mistreatment of gays. Definately not something he needed to do. There are other similar incidences, and he's a politician, so they aren't nearly numerous enough, but consider your dishonest request answered.

Wait, I thought doing stuff that pleased the media at the expense of one's base wasn't bold or politically risky? Didn't you say so later in the same post?

McCain has famously insulted Falwell, Robertson, and other "religious right" characters repeatedly, but again presumably that doesn't count as risky to you.

I can certainly see how people might think that both McCain and Obama's media reputations for bipartisanship or bravery are overrated, or might believe both of them. I can also see believing that taking stands popular with the media and/or with moderates and swing voters but not with one's base isn't bold or daring. However, I really can't see how one can believe that Obama is either braver or less partisan the McCain in his stands.

The only things that Client #11 pointed to seem to involve cosponsoring legislation that McCain also cosponsored. I would think that it would be hard to build a real advantage on that.

Posted by: John Thacker on April 25, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

"McCain has famously insulted Falwell, Robertson, and other 'religious right' characters repeatedly, but again presumably that doesn't count as risky to you."

Not really. His attacks on them during the 2000 campaign were basically an election strategy, one that failed. After that failure, he basically did a U-turn and has spent the years since then sucking up to them and pandering to them. Kind of hard to see any "risk" in that.

Posted by: PaulB on April 25, 2008 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Uh, PaulB, the consensus was of the 48 comments above mine."

Might I suggest you learn to read? That was not even remotely the "consensus" of the comments on this thread.

Posted by: PaulB on April 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

At Americablog, there is copious documentation of Obama using the same rhetoric, regardless of location about gay rights, homophobia, etc. Hillary can barely even utter the word gay (again, check Americablog in the past few days archive for evidence). So, yes, consistency of rhetoric and passing up opportunities to pander, for a politician running for president, is bold. He has done other things, and has built in into his persona--for example, telling a lot of angry dems that retribution isn't the answer. It's all part of his plan to get elected, so it's best to remember that political courage is relative, but he resists the simple, easy, pander more than most.

Certainly more than John McCain, who, as noted above, attacked Falwell and Robertson as part of his plan to appeal to Republican moderates and political independents, and when that failed and he wanted to try again, he sucked up to them and the rest of the religious right to win the nomination in 08.

John Thacker, I don't regard political boldness, as such, to be anything but an inane reason to support a candidate--I was just correcting the lies of Tom Maguire regarding obama's legislative record; if he "passed" on the immigration debate, then so did McCain.

Obama, like McCain and Clinton, has a very light legislative record--but his supporters are the only ones intelligent enough to see the flaws of their candidate and he's the only one of the three to be honest enough--through choice or circumstance--to not lie blatantly about his experience. I do like his work on containing loose nukes and transparency in government, and I think his light record is somewhat excused by his limited time in office, but I recognize the weakness in his resume.

I happen to choose whom I support for president by different criteria. The Clinton and McCain supporters who claim their candidate has a great resume--now those are the suckers.

Posted by: Client #11 on April 25, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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