Unknowable McCain

by Michael O. Allen on August 18, 2008

Practically everything the American voters know about Sen. John McCain have been fan notes penned by journalists who act more like his groupies than objective observers. The real McCain is, of course, not the upstanding tower of strength who is going to defend us all from enemies within and without.

The real McCain, as regular readers of this pamflet know, is a corrupt and craven politician and a serial philanderer who abandoned his family when they were no longer of any use to him. He married into money to further his ambition.

As a creature of Washington, lobbyists and journalists have been his company of choice, keeping his corruption in plain sight where the very same journalists he consorted with, journalists who habitually lionize him as incorruptible, would be sure to miss it.

Frank Rich of The New York Times tried to sort through some of the distortions about John McCain yesterday.

Excerpt:

The truth is we have no idea what will happen in November. But for the sake of argument, let’s posit that one thread of the Obama-is-doomed scenario is right: His lead should be huge in a year when the G.O.P. is in such disrepute that at least eight of the party’s own senatorial incumbents are skipping their own convention, the fail-safe way to avoid being caught near the Larry Craig Memorial Men’s Room at the Twin Cities airport.

So why isn’t Obama romping? The obvious answer — and both the excessively genteel Obama campaign and a too-compliant press bear responsibility for it — is that the public doesn’t know who on earth John McCain is. The most revealing poll this month by far is the Pew Research Center survey finding that 48 percent of Americans feel they’re “hearing too much” about Obama. Pew found that only 26 percent feel that way about McCain, and that nearly 4 in 10 Americans feel they hear too little about him. It’s past time for that pressing educational need to be met.

What is widely known is the skin-deep, out-of-date McCain image. As this fairy tale has it, the hero who survived the Hanoi Hilton has stood up as rebelliously in Washington as he did to his Vietnamese captors. He strenuously opposed the execution of the Iraq war; he slammed the president’s response to Katrina; he fought the “agents of intolerance” of the religious right; he crusaded against the G.O.P. House leader Tom DeLay, the criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and their coterie of influence-peddlers.

With the exception of McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of this profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct.

Continue . . .

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