Saturday, November 01, 2008

Just saw the Big McC on SNL...

See, as a long-time C-Span watcher, I know that John McCain is a really funny guy with an excellent sense of humor... and, I have admired him for a long time. I still do. But, I'm not voting for him. When Obama gave his big speech in Denver, I was groaning at about half the stuff he said. But, I am voting for him.

Here's an excerpt from The Economist's endorsement of Obama that I like:

The selection of Mr McCain as the Republicans’ candidate was a powerful reason to reconsider. Mr McCain has his faults: he is an instinctive politician, quick to judge and with a sharp temper. And his age has long been a concern (how many global companies in distress would bring in a new 72-year-old boss?). Yet he has bravely taken unpopular positions—for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America’s allies.

If only the real John McCain had been running

That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.

I wish we had the old McCain back, the guy I admired so much after reading The Nightingale's Song. (BTW - I'm pleased to say that I started the Wikipedia article for that book and added it to the McCain banner.) This is the guy who would go on TV ten years ago when all anyone would want to talk about was Monica Lewinsky, and patiently point out that the development of nuclear rivalry between Pakistan and India was much more significant and deserving of America's attention.

My simplified hypothesis (and I know that this is way too unsophisticated an analysis): The Svengalian Karl Rove and his ilk got hold of him, and we end up with Joe the Plumber fulfilling the prophecy of a 1993 Onion headline. I think that plain and simple, McCain entered into a Faustian bargain with the high-rollers of the GOP establishment, and (hopefully only temporarily) lost some of that which made him McCain in the first place. Maybe he was never the guy to be president? What's so horrible about being the loyal opposition, the guy that keeps the president on his toes? Check out this Daily Beast link, What Happened to the McCain We Liked?

My theory was that people like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty saw the Obama rally and decided they wanted no part of the 2008 GOP ticket. But come on, John... Sarah Palin? She's cute and sperky, no doubt, and has probably personified the archetype of the MILF for years to come (or at least some subset of the archetypes, at any rate). Believe it or not, I don't say that to be demeaning to her, but I don't have anything else to go on besides the last two months of seeing her be cute and sperky and mavericky.

John McCain, if you are reading this, you are a great American, but there are numerous great Americans who did not become president.

More on my pessimism and optimism about Obama later. (Hint: I want him to drink the Grape Kool-Aid on Free Trade.)

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