When the world caves in on John Sidney McCain III, he throws a world-class asshole purple-complected fit ... Rolling Stone has the goods on him. I couldn't put the article down.
Liberals have come to loathe the man. It's not actually his unblemished history of reactionary politics, but the obvious character-less and unprincipled thirst for power. So far from a straight-talker ... and that is all an act and always was ... he'll say pretty much anything to get what he wants. Now you had to feel ever so slight a chill of sympathy for the wizened old creep that he was forced to smile ... and does anyone have such a forced smile as McCain the third ... as he cozied up to dubya. But beyond that, most liberals have to look at why we once kind-of liked him. In 2000, he seemed like a "genuine" conservative, a mensch who was smiled by the reptilian forces of evil. We did buy it, you know. I remember various of us pointing out that he was a reactionary. But he was the okay reactionary.
Turns out that was never true, and it should be a lesson to all of us that a reactionary is a reactionary, even if they put a pile up a bunch of makeup on their scales.
I'm impressed that the Obama campaign is prepared for the late-game slimeballing approach that they had to know was coming. Kerry seemed stunned by the vicious of the swift-boaters, and he retreated behind the concrete contours of his high-cheeked visage. Obama is ready, and today released a 13-minute documentary on McCain's should-be-infamous pandering to the criminal savings-and-loan thief Charles Keating. They have preempted McCain's mudslinging with on-air commercials and web ads ... can't find the links, but I will try later.
And before we move on, read this if you want to be really paranoid and think aloud what we all lay awake fearing.
And before we move on, redux, wasn't it ghoulishly gratifying to read William Kristol today debasing himself in a completely transparent genuflection to Mrs. Lipstick in the New York Times today. I mean, piffle like this, the starting and ending lines of the column: "I spoke on the phone Sunday with Sarah Palin ... And maybe I’d add, Hockey Mom knows best." The "contract statement" makes hay of the fact that one or the other of them knows how to "dial" a phone, and the conclusion is that someone whose children play hockey is naturally suited to lead the most powerful country in the world as the very struts of the empire are revealed as rusting.
Between Kristol and David Brooks, there is a putrid river of insincerity, but there they are stuck out on a twig trying, trying to make a case for the most ludicrous VP candidate ever. Nauseating. Truly disgusting. There is not now, if there ever was, a genuine neocon intellect. It is all stance, a peacock-proud announcement of correctness in the face of evidence, where perky smiles and winks and nods and ditto-heads replace thought and analysis. How ashamed they must be. (If you choose to follow my links to these poseurs, may I suggest a quick jaunt to the bathroom for a Gravol ... this is stomach-heaving piffle.)
As the careful reader of my scribblings will know, my native interests go to history, and I have a recurring fascination with Central Asia. I am now in the middle of the first read of the history of the Safavids (1501-1722) of Iran, after a re-read of a the Ottomans and a first read of the Moghuls. In the premodern era, when a monarch died, people were afraid because all bets were off. All hell could break loose. What if the new king was a madman, what if he started killing people, what if the party which which you were associated fell out of favor? What if he were weak, and the ineluctable enemies surrounding moved in?
We live in a microcosm where the 50s notion of happiness and security in the family-owned home blinds people to the brutality of history. So when I am in my blackest mood, I realize that President Palin would be a familiar threat to the inhabitants of kingdoms up and down the eons of history. Things actually do go bad, and the familiar turns into hell. People can be really stupid, they drink their own koolaid. I mean, sensible people buy Chevy Suburbans ... why shouldn't Sarah Christian be a gawd-anointed President.
Still, I drink the polls every day like a parched man in the desert. We really are up right now. It might work out. Watch talkingpointsmemo and dailykos. Don't let your guard down, but enjoy the nervous optimism of the next few months. Still, we might actually win this one.
Photos by Arod of street art on hoardings. Tonight's drinks: a pair of Manhattans ... the old standby, the perfect end to a Monday.