Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain on the hook

UPDATE: Who would have seen this coming? The Times never got any real traction with their story; the 'story' was the political hit job the Times tried to do on McCain, and the entire spectrum of political punditry saw it that way. Leftists moaned that the Times was going to unify the Republicans around McCain. It was all about the New York Times this time, and their reputation is turning to dust.


The good senator is wriggling mightily this morning, doing a presser to refute the story published yesterday in the New York Times about a possible romantic attachment.

They say 'former staffers' (who are of course unnamed) related concern eight years ago (!) over a friendship between the senator and a female lobbyist thirty years his junior; they claim (anonymously) to have actually formulated policies amongst themselves to intervene, break up schedules, prevent access, etc., in order to reduce the chances of such an attachment blossoming and becoming public.

No evidence was produced. No sources were named. And of course, no more information is available to them now than eight years ago, during the LAST time McCain tried to become president, not coincidentally.

Clearly the notable points are:

McCain's currency with his pals in the media is worth nothing, now that he is the presumptive Republican nominee. All his past smooching with the press, even his endorsement by the Times, has come to nothing, as any sensible conservative would have predicted. This isn't the end, either, as we are going to hear rehashed Keating Five stories and all sorts of other stuff nobody's talked about for years.

McCain is still using the verbal 'quote' when he talks about "conservatives" coming on board with him. He is still on his high horse, and we conservatives are still out in the cold, rebels, unrepentant of our sins, to be welcomed to the warm hearth of McCain as soon as we get humble. It is the opposite of how it should be. He should be the one making at least a token apology for his outrageous positions of late. But he is still waiting for an apology from US.

McCain really really can't talk. I mean it's BAD, folks; when it's time for him to speak concisely, clearly and firmly on point of principle, he defaults to lawyer type talk, badly formed and semi-coherent, and furthermore, utterly unconvincing. He makes Bush look good. At least Dubya can simplify his language until his point is clear; McCain seems unable to bring himself to say anything really strongly, with the exception of a nice brisk "no" to any question for which that is the correct answer.

He seems determined to withhold soundbites from the press, and the result is that he seems unwilling to be firm about the points he makes. And when he does use firm language, it is not accompanied by clear and concise explanations. He's a fumbler, in some ways worse than Bush. Nobody expects anything of Bush at this point in terms of speaking. McCain now carries the water of the entire Republican party, and he's not doing much of a job expressing himself.

I sometimes wonder if he is intellectually overmatched by this job. I've never heard him sound like he really understands something, and he has admitted there are some things he knows little about; the economy, for instance. Is he really smart enough to do this, or is it all image and reputation, all war hero and maverick?

A maelstrom of doubt engulfs me. I hate when that happens.

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