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November 05, 2008

Alas, Poor Maverick. I Knew Him Well

I had to feel sorry for John McCain as he gave his gracious concession speech in Arizona last night. Here’s a guy who has served his country with distinction (give or take the occasional banking scandal) for the last fifty years, who was smeared by the current president during his first ill-fated presidential run in 2000, who had to sell his soul to win the nomination in 2008, who picked the worst vice presidential candidate imaginable, and who then had to face the most dynamic presidential candidate in memory – all while dealing with two lengthy wars, an economic meltdown, and the same president who cost him the nomination in 2000 dragging him down by the gravitational force of his own leaden approval ratings. How was he supposed to win? Answer: cheating.

John McCain simply doesn’t cheat as well as his predecessors. Where were the butterfly ballots? Where were the angry hooligans shutting down polling stations? Where was the president of the Diebold Voting Machine Company promising to deliver the election for him? Where was the Ohio Secretary of State purging the voter rolls? The Florida Secretary of State stopping recounts? The Supreme Court? How is a Republican supposed to win an election without their help? They were as MIA as federal relief during Hurricane Katrina.

Not that McCain didn’t try to cheat. He did. But he did it the old-fashioned way. With sneers and innuendo. With thinly veiled racism and xenophobia. Even the jingoism which worked so well for W fell flat; it turns out Americans, real or otherwise, are tired of having their patriotism questioned. Who knew? This is the age of YouTube. Where was Obama’s “Macaca moment?” His embarrassing emails? His sex scandal? Isn’t there even one semen-soaked dress out there? The closest we got to genuine scandal was a sixties radical and a “terrorist fist jab.” Boooo-ring.


Senator McCain, maybe you thought you didn’t have to cheat. Maybe you thought you could win this election on the strength of your “ideas.” Your “character.” No. Because your ideas stank and your character vacillated daily between angry Vietnam vet and crazy homeless guy. Maybe you thought your vice presidential pick would win you the election. Perhaps if fetuses had the right to vote she would have. But I think most of the electorate came to the same conclusion that I did about Sarah Palin: we wouldn’t trust her to run a Girl Scout meeting, let alone the nation. Why? For one simple reason: she’s a loon. So that didn’t help.

There were certainly moments for optimism. Like when Obama had the audacity to become loved and you released a commercial criticizing his celebrity – that was good. Because the last thing we want is a president that people like. If only you had won, we wouldn’t have had to deal with that problem. Or when you suspended your campaign to solve the economic crisis? That showed bold leadership. Sure it didn’t work out but for a minute there it kind of looked like you knew what you were doing. Or when that modern day Johnny Appleseed, Joe the Plumber, endorsed you – that was a good day. After all, what’s folksier than a bald guy who doesn’t want to pay taxes? Or when Colin Powell endorsed you? Oh wait, my bad. There were probably other good days, but at the moment it’s hard to think of any.

Not that you have anything to be ashamed of, Senator. You won some terrific states. Alabama, for example. And Mississippi. And South Carolina. Louisiana. Is there a theme to the states you won? Perhaps. But I don’t think anybody should read too much into it. After all, not everybody can win the “cool” states. Somebody’s got to win the shitty ones. And that was you, Senator McCain. Even better, you did it without cheating. You won those states just by being not black.

The truth is, I used to like John McCain. And for a moment last night when he stood in front of his supporters, I liked him again. He was humble and gracious and offered a hand of friendship to the new president-elect. Where was that guy for the last year and a half? Pandering. Groveling. Scraping the bottom of every barrel that rolled his way. Appealing to our fears instead of our hopes. In short – sucking. So go back to the senate, Maverick. Make some noise. Rouse some rabble. Maybe even do some good like you used to do. But the next time you run for something, I’ve got some advice – learn how to cheat.

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Dwight K. Schrute

First again... fuckers

Ali

This is why you should train those Republicans, Michael, show them some of your super cheating skills. It's be a fantastic way to intimidate your peers.

gar

wow, so many feelings shared between us. you continue to be so awesome. i wish i lived in a major u.s. city so that i could see stella. i saw showalter in my hometown once, but, you know...

-gar

daveminogue

well said. you forgot to mention how everybody wanted to wake up drunk beside barack o'bama* feeling sore, very sore and humble. But no one wanted to wake up beside mc cain. However everyone wanted to dirty fuck sarah palin. Fact

*barack o'bama's irish now

Adam

McCain won my state but not my vote.

He totally blew it. He sucks!

Cat

I was also touched by his speech.

All in all, Mccain is a good man.

Reptar

Eh, I wasn't pulling for Obama or McCain. Just pulling for America. Hopefully Obama isn't like every other politician with tremendous promises of change and reform. Hopefully he makes a difference. This country needs a strong leader right now for sure.

(Which is why I wrote in Michael Ian Black.)

Calvin

White power.

Liv

Right on, Michael. I, too, used to like McCain; I respected him for his years of service to the country and for what he endured in Vietnam. I thought he was a good man ... he probably is under there. But his behavior in the election was just appalling; I lost all respect for him especially when he brought on that shrieking harpy. Come on; there were no other qualified Hillary-vote pullers in the party? Oh, right; women are so stupid we'll vote for anyone with ovaries; IT DOESN'T MATTER!

Sigh. Barack is president and for the first time, I'm proud to show my face as an American ex-patriate.

AmbroseKalifornia

Geez. I don't even know what to think here.

It WAS a good speech. I wanted more from McCain too.

But fuck that Sarah Palin. Fuck her right in her sexy ass.

Also, now that she lost, she totally has to blow you.

Bailey

I think McCain looks like a good grandpa. I thought the same thing about Bush though.

Reen

Wow. Yeah, that's it alright. So well done.
And yes, even if we do have the real McCain back - it's all too little, too late.

I echo your comments about the red Southern states. To be sure, there are Dems stuffed in there, banging on doors and doing their best to educate and inform. And yes, there was some map changing, but not nearly enough.

I agree that for the bulk of the South, race was a factor. I'd also add the fear of change, and of course, sadly, the freshly Palinized energized base will only vote for the Pro-Lifers regardless of platform. Thank goodness for the East and West coasts and the heartland states (with heart).

You mentioned Colin Powell, I found this so moving and thought I'd share:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2008/11/05/colin.powell.reaction.cnn

Anyway, again, I love your political blogs. Politics is hard to swallow for so many, I applaud you for finding a way to make your points in an intellectual, humorous, creative, and easy to read manner. So we have to look up a few of those 5 star words. That's ok with me. That's kind of fun anyway.

Millar

"McCain vacillated between angry Vietnam vet and crazy homeless guy" and also, in my opinion, his 'third way': angry and crazy homeless Vietnam vet.

Hopefully he can settle back into tempermental, honorable, grandpa mode. His concession speech was a good start.

Jaime

"After all, not everybody can win the 'cool' states. Somebody’s got to win the shitty ones." Poor Baltic Ave and Mediterreanean.

My Mom told me yesterday that she thinks Obama is the Antichrist. She wasn't kidding either. And she's not the only one riding that bandwagon in my family. Sad thing is, at least in part, this perception was fueled by a McCain ad that ran implicating a. that Obama has a Messiah complex, and b. that he's the Antichrist. I have yet to see the ad, but here's an article Time magazine did on it: www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1830590,00.html

And I thought it couldn't get any worse than "terrorist." It makes me sad that people, to quote a good friend (right Ambrose? ;), "People that I love and respect, they say horrible fucking things like that." But it really disappointed me that McCain would approve that ad. I think he had some bright moments of character. Problem is, his party boos him when he shows it. That's a tough line to walk. Oh well, yaay Obama!

Senor Dave

Brilliant!

Tee

The point Palin missed all along, was that if they did have a vote, foetuses would incline towards being conceived consensually with someone who wasn't their own grandpa.

dzondzon

>>>But I think most of the electorate came to the same conclusion that I did about Sarah Palin: we wouldn’t trust her to run a Girl Scout meeting, let alone the nation. Why? For one simple reason: she’s a loon.

I take umbrage at your comparison of the state bird of Minnesota to "that chick."

Zane

I missed all the speeches because I was out that night but my husband said that McCain was gracious and redeemed himself quite a bit during. I was at the Madonna concert and she did a huge victory blah blah blah thing that the richy republican friends I was with all practically booed. Fun night for me.
Also, my 6 year old won't stop telling everyone what jerks they are for voting McCain and Yes on prop 8 (reversing gay marriage-the huge hot topic prop here in CA. I actually had a school mom-friend who said that she was okay with "Those People" marrying, as long as they used a different word for it and not defile the sanctity of the word "marriage"-OMG scary! I'll bet she doesn't even own the kid's book "Heather has Two Mommies.")

Felicia

I agree with McCain's inability to cheat well, but somebody managed to do it. How else does it make sense that Alaska had about 25K additional registered voters, but 12% fewer votes in this election than 2004. Methinks somebody wanted Ted Stevens to win so they could replace him with another Republican. Wonder who that could be?
And I think the bird you were thinking of isn't a loon. Palin's an albatross....

Jesse Dangerously

His concession speech was gracious, sure, but it was a gracious game of pin-the-blame-on-the-blackness. Just going by that speech, McCain and all that was to come with him wasn't defeated by Obama and all that was to come with him - the white guy lost to the black guy, full stop. Ohhhh I guess you just can't stop history from steamrollin' on through, eh?

Uh actually the steamroller of history gets tangled on every little thing. McCain/Palin lost by sucking in nearly every possible way, and it would have been more gracious still if his concession speech had contained a little footnoote or two acknowledging THAT.

Stacey E

Oh come on, Obama isn't a dynamic presidential candidate, just because everyone has been hyping him for as long as I can remember. Obama won for the simple fact that there is an overdose of stupid people in this country that actually equated McCain with our current pinhead of a "leader". The ugly, simple truth is that it's likely Obama won because we're never going to hear the end of the "look what the white man did to us ages ago, we're never going to stop going on and on about it". This idea that the races consist of white people and black people only is not only self centered, but it will keep up the nonsense that it will always be "us vs them". Strange how we keep hearing the constant talk about how races should all be viewed equally; until there's a chance that a black man will be the first to do something, and then it's a big deal. Then we never hear the end of it. I bet if we get an Asian or Jewish president, a hell of a lot less hype will be made about it.
I appreciate that you finally wrote something nice about Mr McCain; but praising him now, from anyone, is too little, too late.
John got hosed because a lot of really stupid people voted for a moron not once, but twice. Nobody had a chance of winning on the Republican side. That's hardly a victory for black people, or America in general. Electing a black man because the other one didn't have a chance. Woo-hoo.

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