Sunday, July 29, 2007


An article in the Washington Post today (“Waiting For His Bus to Come In” by Sridhar Pappu) describes Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign as “sickly, weak, feeble, pick your choice”. Which, of course, is exactly what the onetime Republican front-runner’s campaign for the presidency has become. But that is not what the article is about. Pappu’s article is about John McCain’s self-devised, self-help, one-man, ego-rehabilitation therapy program. Through Pappu’s eyes, we see McCain going back to the site of his greatest triumph, New Hampshire, where he won the primary over George W. Bush seven years ago. “It was here”, Pappu says, “where Mr. Straight Talk Express shook hands with everyone and won over the press. It was here where he was happy.” Now, without campaign advisers, entourage, or dough because McCain’s great ego caused him to make faux pas after faux pas and doomed any hopes his supporters had for a McCain candidacy, the erstwhile Republican shoo-in is on his own. He’s just a little guy going from one small gathering to an even smaller gathering of hardcore groupies and he’s glorying in the approval and in his memories. McCain tells terrible jokes and he shmoozes. But there is no campaign. There is only a 70-year-old has-been soldier, has-been Senator, has-been candidate, has-been pooh-bah who is healing his wounds the only way he knows how. Is it sad? Is it poignant? Is it depressing? Is it embarrassing to read about John McCain booking himself into Rotary Clubs and any hall that will have him just to feed his addiction for applause and approval? No. McCain is a pragmatic man. He is doing what he has to do to live with himself, and to go on living at all. McCain is dealing with that period of time between death—in this case, the death of his hopes—and the acceptance of death. McCain’s campaign and McCain himself are sickly, weak and feeble. He has simply gone on a cross-country tour to feel like a man again. You do what you gotta do. But McCain is irrelevant. Right now, he’s dealing with the death of his hopes. Should John McCain ever try to come to grips with being irrelevant, it will require a cadre of mental health professionals being on-call 24-7.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

I seem to have been right about McCain, that he had no special pipeline to the White House.

Insufficiently Bush-cultist, then later excessively Bush-cultist, but never the right amount of Bush-cultist. :)