Sunday, December 17, 2006

The McCain Mutiny

If John McCain had won the Republican primary in 2000, I probably would have voted for him. I think quite a few "independents" and "swing voters" also would have, given McCain's backstory, his earnestly maverick posturing, and Al Gore's mendacious fundraising and dog-ate-my-homework excuses. It all seems very different in retrospect, but at the time, McCain seemed like a decent option (though, as a card-carrying member of the infamous Keating Five, he too had his share of backroom baggage).

Still, McCain should and could have beaten a mildly retarded transplanted Texan, were it not for the nefarious push-polling by so-called Christians in South Carolina, working at the behest of Marion "Watch Me Leg-Press A Tractor!" Robertson. It was all very sordid and despicable, and of course it worked, and the rest is ugly history, repeating and rhyming in Oedipus Tex' own peculiar meter.

In the intervening years, McCain has made something of a fool of himself, letting his slavering preznitential ambitions get the best of his principles. He has publicly hugged the miserable fucks who slandered his wife and daughter, and begged for more. He has gone to the well and drawn on his admirable service to pimp a two-ply torture bill for Dick Cheney to wipe his ass with. He glad-hands on The Daily Show, then runs straight for Bob Jones "University" to strap on the kneepads for the theocrats.

Even worse, McCain's actual politics have drifted steadily to the right, to the point that he has outflanked the Cheney administration quite handily. His current fetish is the idea that with another 20-30,000 troops and a Friedman Unit or two, this thing can be turned around in Iraq. The bad guys will be killed, captured, or scattered, and the good and thankful citizens of Baghdad will finally pull out those Whitman's Samplers they've been hiding for four years, and welcome us with open arms.

Also, as they say, ponies. Everybody enjoys a nice pony.

And because our media sock puppets are largely callow and one-dimensional, they are stuck on the Straight Talkin' McCain narrative from six years ago. The maverick, the renegade Republican, el solo lobo. He's stickin' it to Whitey, not takin' no shit from The Man, unlike those candy-tucking feminized dhimmicrats. It's a stock line from a jaded profession that also endures its share of effeminized slurs from the closet-case Limbaugh wing, and doesn't have the balls or the sense to just pimp-slap them already. It's projected pronoia on the part of the useful media idiots who keep replaying the stock narrative, and McCain plays it to the hilt. None of them seem to actually listen to the guy long enough to realize that Iraq is about the only thing McCain talks about with any regularity, and on that subject, he's even worse than the current bunch of idiots.

So finally Bill Richardson of all people comes along to start setting the record a little bit straighter, 'cause right now it's all brokeback and shit:

"The leading advocate for escalating the war is Senator John McCain. I have served with John in Congress and I respect him. But John McCain is wrong, dead wrong to think that we can solve Iraq's political crisis through military escalation."

That's it in a nutshell. The time for a strictly military resolution is done; that window, whether we like it or not, has closed. That is not desire, not at all, it is simply fact. What's the solution? If I knew definitively, I'd be making six figures at a think tank, and making googly eyes at Paula Zahn while I explain important shit to her. (Paula: Call me anyway. I will rock you, as they say, like a hurricane.)

But I know enough to understand that McCain is simply trying to position himself as being the toughest hombre of the bunch. That's great, when it has a chance of working, but this is not a John Wayne movie. Iraq is well on the way to becoming a failed state with an emasculated council of powerless figureheads in the Green Zone, and its neighbors licking their chops over the spoils. Twenty or thirty thousand troops will not solve that situation, anymore than they will be able to secure a mixed, chaotic city of seven million people without a lot of dead civilians.

It's sad to watch a guy like McCain decline to this sort of standing. I'd have had a lot more respect for him -- even if his politics were exactly the same as they are -- if he had just had the balls to tell those who wronged him to go fuck themselves. Dick Cheney does it; there's no reason McCain can't do it.

But it's the worst of both worlds. He ingratiated himself to his tormentors, which is the absolute worst punk-ass move you can do in an alpha-male world, and he swung too far to the right long after it was even notionally cool. For the better part of this dreadful year, a clear majority of Americans have consistently registered their opinions that this administration has screwed this thing up royally, and they don't think the solution is more troops. McCain, in his earnest plea for yet another Hail Mary, doesn't seem to get this. Hopefully Richardson has set the stage for more Democrats to help him understand.

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