The Vanity Fair piece on John McCain is well worth reading, not because it pushes the “he was never a maverick” angle well (personally, I don’t completely agree with that angle), but because it paints an interesting portrait of an old man who only knows life in the Senate and can’t adjust to new political realities:
“McCain doesn’t understand, at a fundamental level, media and communications in the modern age. All of this stuff that’s changed in very rapid fashion—the Twitter, the this, the that, or the other. For him it’s the Sunday shows, and things like that. It’s kind of like, ‘Where’s Johnny Apple?’” (R. W. Apple Jr., the late New York Times correspondent and editor, had been a friend since their days in Vietnam.)[….]
The Senate is McCain’s whole life, his reason for being. “This is what he does,” one former aide says. “He is a United States senator. This is his ecology. It’s a big job, but it’s a really small world. It’s like a killer whale born in captivity in SeaWorld; it doesn’t know any better. It doesn’t know it’s supposed to be in the Pacific Ocean.”
The reason he hates Obama (the article describes in detail his dislike for Dr. Utopia) is “who the hell are you, punk, I’m John fucking McCain, king of the Senate”. It’s not so different from Marty Peretz “I’m the fucking editor of the great New Republic, who are you to call me a bigot.”
I’m not sure that there ever was a time when very many people cared about the Sunday shows or took The New Republic very seriously. But there was a time when there some kind of pretense of that. That time is over now and it’s tough for people who spent their entire lives buying into that pretense to adjust.
It’s just the
picturessenate that got small?
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
Like the man said: your old road is rapidly aging. Get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand.
The Senate is a big job, which makes McCain’s lack of interest in doing it in any meaningful way so much more annoying. He’s never actually done Senator; for him it’s been enough to be one.
He has no legislative record beyond McCain Feingold, which he has now trashed. Seriously: compare him to someone I find mostly loathsome, like Orrin Hatch, and see who has actually tried to legislate, rather than perform.
He has taken care of those who take care of him — see this NYT article from the campaign on his distribution of Indian gambling favors.
But that’s basically it: he uses the Senate’s power for his own interests; he gets his jollies being John F****** McCain, and for the rest, he is a noisy waste of space making the country worse.
No hero in my book, whatever courage he may have displayed long ago in another land.
@Cris: And the man who wrote those words is only 5 years younger than McCain.
It could just be because I wasn’t all that plugged into politics until a few years ago, but I never thought of McCain as one of the “top tier”–for want of a better term–senators. Did I miss something?
I read the first few paragraphs, and I can’t make myself care enough to read the rest.
That’s pretty much the story of the entire Village, Dems and Repubs, not just McOld.
So, McCain is the poster child of the Tea Baggers.
Nothing quite like watching public service turn into self-gratification. And with McCain who knows, it was probably always all about him.
The funny thing is, it’s not like he was ever a great senator.
I think this is why the few progressives in Congress come across as “radicals” — I guess actually legislating is a radical idea these days. Grotesque.
Meanwhile I have a job offer brewing in AZ. I just can’t live there. No way.
McCain was so pissed about the article he retired to his drawing room to listen to his gramophone, and bitch about “those newfangled horseless carriages.”
Yet McCain is still in the Senate. And he still has the power to fuck up Obama’s agenda. And he can still get on any tv show he wants and never be called out for his bullshit. He’s from a stupid redneck state full of stupid old people just like him (present company not included of course). He doesn’t need Twitter or anything like it to continue to be a shit-stain upon this country until he dies. He might not ever be president, but hell we call him “President McCain,” because that’s how he’s treated. He’ll never get out of the way because he’s a fucking asshole. He always has been.
Pretty much sums up the entire village ecosystem, eh DougJ?
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
Yes, it does.
That’s why they all hate Obama — he jumped the line. He was supposed to serve 20 years in the Senate, pay his dues, and then have a failed run for president. You know Ben Nelson keeps looking at Obama and thinking, “Goddamnit, that was supposed to be me having ‘Hail to the Chief’ played every time I walk into a room!”
The last person who might rightfully have made that claim was LBJ. Now that the Senate has become the place where good ideas go to be eviscerated we’re not going to see his like again.
Yes, and that’s basically the whole job as far as they are concerned.
Get of my lawn!
This is good news for Palin.
I’m wondering the same thing.
He seems to get outsized press attention, but otherwise…
War Hero! Fighter Pilot! Codpiece! is pretty much all the miserable old fuck ever had going for him.
Now he’s just a battered and miserable chunk of rapidly decaying and cancerous scar tissue who refuses to die, just to spite everyone.
“He is still big”…it’s the senate that got small.
I don’t watch much TV at all any more. Is McCain still a permanent fixture on the Sunday talking heads shows?
Hayworth = “glib galoot”. Nice turn of phrase, otherwise the Rolling Stone Myth of a Maverick article covered the same territory much better, and with heat seeking missiles instead of this “too bad so sad” spin. All of which is excellent news for John McCain!
In terms of actual accomplishments? No, you didn’t miss anything. There’s the campaign finance thing, and that’s about it. But he’s been a media star for more than 10 years now, because of that nomination battle against Bush in 1999-2000. Basically, the crop of reporters who were too young for Vietnam really glommed onto him because (1) they were impressed with his POW stories, and (2) he told dirty jokes on the campaign bus. Also he had that speech where he said that Jerry Falwell was an agent of intolerance. So he was kind of a non-religious, sense-of-humor-having Republican, which shot him to the top of his peers in terms of media attention. Liberal-leaning reporters might talk to the guy and come away saying, “No one who says ‘fuck’ that freely could be all bad.” He was like everyone’s favorite dirty-minded old uncle.
Ross Perot thinks McCain is a piece of $hit and always has. He should make the rounds on the sunday morning shows.
McCain’s stature as a “top tier” senator says much less about him than it does about the Senate. Being in the “top tier” in the Senate puts you just under “guy who sells drugs to elementary school kids” on the basic human decency scale. And, really, on that scale McCain doesn’t even crack the top two-thirds of the Senate.
Didn’t Ted Kennedy realize at some point the Senate was going to be it for him? I’m a Yankee and a Democrat, so take all the salt you wish, but Teddy had the noblesse oblige totally missing from McMaverick and every other rich Republican and all their cocktail party friends.
That’s why they all hate Obama—he jumped the line. He was supposed to serve 20 years in the Senate, pay his dues, and then have a failed run for president.
Given how few Senators have succeeded to the White House in the last century, I’d say Obama didn’t jump the line, but rather redrew the path. Hey, maybe there’s a reason all those powerful Senators couldn’t parlay their BMOCH cred into The Voters Want Him* in the WH.
(*No sic–I don’t know any women in the Senate complaining about this.)
Because, really, the entire idea of John McCain as some kind of Maverick and brash fighter for truth, justice and the American Way was all a media creation from the very beginning. He has always been a belligerent, impetuous, condescending, egomaniacal asshole. Always. It just so happens that he was able to charm the Village into overlooking his feckless legislative record, and so called “media professionals” were more than willing to indulge the delusion.
Agreed. Did you read it? He’s holding some ridiculous grudge against Obama for a minor incident in the Senate, where he wrote Obama a letter accusing him of misleading for political gain.
This, from the person we have watched abandon or repudiate every single “maverick” position he held to beat some third rate hack in a primary. I don’t know: is there a list?
Climate change, immigration, campaign finance, his insane inconsistency on abortion, where he told a San Francisco paper he’d never overturn Roe, and a month later wrote a letter vowing to overturn Roe.
He’s a maverick, all right. He’s completely incoherent.
McCain’s attitude is no different from the attitude of the kooks and cranks and crackpots who infest this forum.
I have actually heard people on this forum say “America can’t be broke, we’re the biggest economy in the world!” Same mindset as “America can’t be losing the war in Afghanistan, we’re the greatest military in the world!”
Same bizarre narrow-minded self-delusion. Just as it never seems to occur to John McCain that he no longer matters because he’s spewing bizarre gibberish with no relationship to today’s reality (“Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!” “I don’t care if we have to spend 100 years in Iraq…”), the kooks and cranks and crackpots on this forum keep spewing incoherent nonsense with no connection to today’s reality…and it absolutely baffles them that anyone would point out that they’re completely irrelevant to what’s going on in America right now.
Like McCain, all too many of the Balloon Juice commenters just can’t imagine an America that’s broke, that can’t win wars anymore, that’s got broken collapsing infrastructure and a failed disintegrating economy. To an amazing number of the people on Balloon Juice, doesn’t matter how much money America spends, we’re the biggest economy in the world so we can’t possibly ever run out money. Doesn’t matter how many wars we lose, we’re the greatest military in the history of the world so we can’t possibly ever lose in Iraq or Afghanistan. Doesn’t matter how bady decayed our antique broadband is, America is the technological leader of the world. Doesn’t matter how self-destructive and unsustainable our prison-industrial system is, America has the greatest justice system in the world. Doesn’t matter how thoroughly our medical-industrial system has collapsed, America has the best health care in the world.
Living inside a reality distortion field where they hoist the giant foam finger and shout “America is NUMBER ONE!” — that’s John McCain and all too many of the crackpots who comment on Balloon Juice.
What a sad bizarre spectacle.
Obama was supposed to be GRATEFUL just to BE in the Senate. That he would dare to think that he could become President?
who did he think he was?
Rant fail. You forgot to tell us that everyone who disagrees with you masturbates to pictures of the Holocaust.
McCain was a failed navy legacy who used his second wife’s money and family connections to buy his way into Congress.
That’s it. period.
Lots of people took The New Republic seriously before Peretz bought it.
Thirded, and if I weren’t so tired I would think of a few more adjectives to throw in.
In what respect do you disagree, DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice? Do you subscribe to the “he once had principles but he sold out” school of McCain theory?
insert “dumped his disabled first wife who waited for him for five years and their kids and then” between “who” and “used”.
Mister ‘3-4 permanent unwinnable wars’ is lecturing US on making up our own reality?
I don’t remember him being a hero when he came home form Vietnam. It was a bit startling when he touted that during the run up to his first run for prez.
The Charles Keating affair made him a bankster helper.
McCain hates Obama. His current diatribe is that Obama is an inexperienced president as far as war is concerned.
I wish the Dem in AZ would win.
@DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:
I’m also reminded of how the punditocracy is clueless when it comes to understanding or dealing with Obama. It’s a generational, class, and race thing. They are much more comfortable with someone who would meet Sally Quinn’s requirements with respect to social respectability. These programs, and even much of the new media, is desperately in need of new blood and new perspectives.
As an aside, a friend’s daughter recently passed away. The memorial service was Hawaiian, very casual and informal. I was struck at how uptight Easterners would not understand or, worse, see it as “exotic.” All of the deeply idiotic nonsense about Obama’s mystic Kenyan Muslim Chicago Machine origins, which is regularly regurgitated on the stupid Sunday shows, absolutely misses the actual context to his life.
I haven’t had time to read the entire piece yet. Does it mention anything about how McCain has reacted to being eclipsed by Sarah Palin?
@Mnemosyne: To be fair to mclaren, I hadn’t commented on this thread yet.
ETA: Yes, I had. Never mind.
Nick in PA
McCain is dumb old fuck who queered his ‘character’ act years ago. No fool like an old fool, and I’m old, so I know.
Fuck him. He got more good press and praise than any GOP scumsucker deserves. He might have been a good person once … way, long ago.
And he foisted … her … on the national stage. That one act would doom a saint to hell.
John McCain was the “George Bush” of the U.S. Navy. He was a crappy officer and flyer who remained in the Navy only due only to his father and grandfathers’ connections (they were both admirals). He graduated near the bottom of his Naval Academy class, instead of being thrown out, only because of his conncetions.
In spite of his shitty grades, he was slotted for pilot training. Naturaly, he became a shitty pilot. He was so bad he became know as “Reverse-Ace McCain” because he lost 5 U.S. Navy jets he was piloting. His nickname come from the term “Ace,” which is given as an honor to a pilot who shoots down 5 enemy aircraft. Losing 5 U.S. plane got McCain called “Reverse-Ace.” But for his daddy, he would have been drummed out of the Navy after losing the first.
One plane he lost was on the USS Forrestal, where his plane was shot out from under him on the deck prior to take off. During the ensuing fire, he hid out in the ward room while other, braver, men tried to keep his ship from sinking due to the fire.
McCain is nothing more than an extremely arrogant fool who depended on his daddy’s connections to get ahead. But for getting shot down, and screwing around on his first wife with a rich girl, we would have never heard of him.
Your impression of East Coasters is only slightly less delusional than McLaren’s insane version of Balloon Juice. I don’t know a single person even here in almost-Appalachia Western PA who would blink an eye at a Hawaiian funeral service. Even the local fundies and Teabaggers would attend and pay respect.
Perhaps you mean the Southern East Coast. If not, then I can only conclude that you are not aware of the number of liberals who make up the majority of the population on the East Coast. Perhaps you should make it a point to visit here one day.
I don’t know how much this clouds McCain’s view of Obama, but let’s not forget that he was raised in a still segregated military culture and that his grandfather, the first John Sidney McCain, was from Mississippi. Indeed, McCain himself didn’t move to Arizona until he took up with Cindy, spending most of his life in the South.
It would be foolish to say that McCain hates Obama _because_ he is a racist, because in spite of his background we can’t know what he really thinks on that matter. But McCain is so old that he comes from a time and place where blacks were told what to do, not give orders, and I can’t help but think that there’s some cognitive dissonnace that’s driving the hate.
I wasn’t referring to all East Coasters. I was referring to the Beltway class. These are the people who live as far away as they can from the larger, black, population of Washington, D.C., for example, and were afraid that the Obama’s would invite too many “real people” to White House events.
And keep in mind the incredibly dumbass remarks of Cokie Roberts on the August 10, 2008 edition of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
I’m not sure why you tried to make this into a “liberal” thing.
In Brachiator’s defense (a sentence I never envisioned writing), it sounds like he’s reporting actual observed behavior at this funeral, not speculating on what East Coasters might have behaved like if they had been there.
My argument is that Southern California is notoriously the land of the rude and the rude tend to congregate here from other parts of the country, so the likelihood that these particular East Coasters would have behaved the same way at a “strange” funeral in their hometowns seems pretty high.
(That was the hardest thing to get used to when I first moved to LA — Jesus fuck, people are rude compared to Chicago! I eventually got used to it, though.)
People keep saying this, and it seems so weird to me. I lived in LA for ten years. People were so NICE. There was none of the festering hate and superficiality of the South.
Um, I am not sure where in Los Angeles you were living, but there is literally no way you were in that city for ten years and never encountered an exponential level of festering hate and superficiality. Especially the superficiality. That is one thing Los Angeles does better than almost any other city in the world.
And as someone born and raised in Texas, there’s no other region in the country that can hate like the South (especially the Deep South). Hating in the South is a way of life for a lot of folks down there. It’s all they know.
In NYC where I grew up, people can be rude as shit but generally end up being decent to each other. It was a real culture shock to me when I lived first in NC for law school and then here in the DC area, that it is not considered socially acceptable to express impatience at a slow checkout line, blare the horn at someone who doesn’t move a nanosecond after a light turns green, and cuss like a sailor whenever you feel like it.
As noted, however, at the end of it all people mostly end up behaving decently to others in public. Thus it is my opinion that people are better and healthier human beings when they are able to vent things freely — as opposed to the “festering hate and superficiality” (well put Uloborus) — of more repressive cultures like the one here in this snakepit of a Nation’s Capital.
I spent most of my time between Hollywood and Glendale, and worked in East LA, but you know, you travel around sometimes. I got a lot more ‘Merry Christmas!’s from strangers in Los Feliz than I ever did in the South. Lord knows there was an enormous diversity of people, but I just did not run into endemic cruelty or pretenses of being decent people like I did in the South.
Ah, that may be the difference. Here in Los Angeles, there really isn’t a hierarchy like there is in the South and the population tends to be transitory, so no one knows who the “right” people and who the “wrong” people are. Movie stars might get a little extra deference because it’s a company town, but that doesn’t have anything to do with being from the right family.
Basically, people in LA try to ignore the existence of others as much as possible, and tend to be impatient when their attention is drawn to them. It’s not so much active rudeness as, “Huh, what, were you talking to me? Really?”
A couple of things here. I see how some might have misconstrued part of what I wrote earlier. I was in a hurry, but the main thing was that the actual invitation to the memorial service emphasized that it was to be casual. Still, a couple of people, who happened to be East Coasters, initially couldn’t quite adjust to the Hawaiian spirit, and to the idea of not wearing a suit and tie. But because everyone was friends, and because of who the service was for, and because of the family, everything turned out fine.
And it was this, that everyone got into the spirit of things, that I was reminded of Cokie Roberts’ stupid remark, and the idiocy of people who cannot comprehend Obama’s Hawaiian background and try to twist themselves into knots viewing him as “exotic.” I think I recall that he referred to his grandmother in a term commonly used among Hawaiians. And I also noted one of the replies to the blog post that dealt with Cokie Roberts’ dumb remarks:
Fair enough. It’s not an interactive town. Too many people, too many conflicting cultures. But my interactions with people had a much higher rate of feeling like I was treated with respect and goodwill than in the South. I can’t recall ever having profanity screamed at me from out of the window of a car in LA, and it happened more than once in Kentucky. And honestly, I don’t even consider that an outlier. It describes the Southern society and its barely constrained maliciousness well.
@Mnemosyne: Also, too, the family was Hawaiian Americans who lived in LA. So, again, it was a part of America embracing their friends as a lovely soul was remembered and celebrated.
He called her “Toots” because the Hawaiian term for grandmother is “Tutu.”
When G and I go back to Kauai next year, I totally want to go to Tutu’s Soup Hale just because I love the name so much.
I completely believe you, and it’s the reason why I’ve avoided living in the South like the plague. (Well, I might be willing to live in New Orleans if under duress, but that’s supposed to be a tiny island of not-insanity in the South. Did you know that Plessy v. Ferguson was bankrolled by an anti-segregation group based in New Orleans that was trying to get Jim Crow laws overturned? Homer Plessy was their Rosa Parks, but unfortunately they were defeated by the Supreme Court.)
It’s on my mind because we just got back from a trip to visit family in Chicago a couple of months ago and it was astounding to me that you actually had people going to public spaces and mingling together to enjoy them. We went to Millennium Park where people were sitting on the lawn for a concert, watching Buckingham Fountain, etc. It was weird after being in LA for so long to see people actually interacting with each other.
Avoid living in the South like the plague.
Not clear to whom you refer. It you’re talking about McCain, yes, his behavior certainly qualifies as bizarre.
Sociopathic compulsive lie fail. You need to improve your lying skills — another session learning from Karl Rove might do the trick. At present, everyone is too well aware that you’re gibbering delusional nonsense to take you seriously.
You forget to accuse me of mental illness while explaining that you’ve gotten help for the severe emotional disturbances you suffered in high school. Also, you haven’t screamed the obvious lie that I adore giant corporate monopolies lately: presumably your meds have made you forgetful. You need to make up a checklist of smears and run through ’em systematically, the way the Swift Boaters did with John Kerry. Remember, Mnemosyne: when you’re using the Big Lie technique, everything depends on repetition, repetition, repetition. Gotta keep screaming the same lies over and over. If you vary your lies from one day to the next, it doesn’t have nearly as much effect.
Meanwhile, the Balloon Juice commenters show once again they differ from the Tea Partiers only by the most miinuscule margin. Tea Partiers demand the government get out of their medicare while they howl for more benefits…Balloon Juice commenters ridicule the suggestion that America is insolvent while constantly whining that there just isn’t enough money for [fill in the blank: nationalized single-payer health care, national high speed bullet trains, development of a national alternative to the internal combustion single-passenger car, etc.].
We now return you to the regularly scheduled Karl Rove style smears of Mnemosyne & company.
Comment #166 on the “Marked for Death” thread, immortalized forever.
So do you post these things in a fugue state and just don’t remember them later, or are you a blatant liar who assumes that no one is going to call you on your bullshit?
Oh, and here’s the link to the thread since I can’t link directly to the comment. Comment #166.
Who’s the liar now, mclaren? Still going to try and claim you never said it?
from the article:
Now there’s yer high standards!
Let me be the 62nd person to ask: You mean he really isn’t aware of all internet traditions?
Seriously, though, he was born into and grew up in the DC establishment. He’s lived in it all his life and knows he is by-damn entitled to do so until he drops.
Tutu’s Soup Hale certainly looks like a fun place. I haven’t been to Hawaii yet, but when I get there, this will definitely be one of my stops.
This also reminds me of the Hawaii eateries that feature variations of spam.
Was it Taibbi who wrote the profile of him in Rolling Stone during 2008? I think that’s the one where he enumerated the similarities between McCain and Dubya — overblown sense of entitlement, using the Daddy and Friends Network to get out of trouble, etc.
With one important caveat mentioned: “Bush is a much better pilot.”
LMAO @ including DougJ’s Balloon Juice title
@Loneoak: I didn’t even make it that far. I just really can’t give a damn to read anything about the miserable old fuck.
John Sidney McCain III is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.
His wife’s family money, by the way, came from bootlegging.