I have a 78-year-old mother who is sharp as a tack, so I’m very sensitive to deploying ageism as a campaign tactic.
That said, my mother doesn’t forget what she said eight minutes ago and hasn’t recently engaged in physical battery on anyone. She really does stand on principle, and when she takes a position on something, she doesn’t take another stand the next day like she’s drawing her line in the sand for the first time. And she’s very eloquent. If she ever needs to explain where she stands on a particular issue, she doesn’t repeat the same one-word dismissal over and over and over by way of articulating her position. She can explain what she believes in and why.
John McCain is younger than my mother and he is too old to be President. And no one in the media, outside of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, seems to care.
The extent to which John McCain is getting a pass in the media is almost maddening right now. Barack Obama has a preacher who has a rightful if sometimes extreme grudge at having grown up as a black man in an America of Bull Connor and unprosecuted lynchings and the Tuskegee experiments. The Senator has denounced his pastor’s comments on several occasions–repudiated them, even. Yet, nary a night goes by on FOX News or Hardball where the name of Reverend Jeremiah Wright isn’t raised in some context unfavorable to Senator Obama.
John McCain has recently recruited a spiritual adviser who despises homosexuals and helped pass an anti-gay amendment in Ohio in 2004 that George Bush used to his advantage to curry favor with the far right in his re-election bid. And he sought and received the endorsement of another televangelist who has a different but no less controversial view on people with The Gay.
That could be excused as expedient–though reprehensible–politics. Except for his appearance on This Week last Sunday when he explained his acceptance of the endorsement–that he sought–of firebrand evangelist Pastor John Hagee who has called the Catholic Church “the Great Whore” and blamed Hurricane Katrina on God being fed up with the prurient tomfoolery of New Orleans’ gay community. Was it a mistake, George Stephanopoulos asked him? “Yeah, it probably was.” But? “But I welcome his endorsement.”
This is befuddlement writ large. The press would have disemboweled Barack or Hillary if they’d come back with that half-baked and hypocritical logic. That’s an “I voted for the $87 million before I voted against it” fivefold.
Keith Olbermann did a handsome number on the Republican standard-bearer this evening. McCain made big hay of the appalling response to Katrina this week. He said if he had been President, he wouldn’t have flown over like Bush did. “I would have ordered Air Force One landed at the nearest Air Force Base and I would have been over here.” He called the President’s response a “disgrace” and said that would never be replicated under a McCain Presidency.
McCain was touring the Ninth Ward in New Orleans this week. “We need to go back to have a conversation about what to do: Rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is.”
When he was asked about the “tear it down” comment, McCain replied, “I don’t remember ever saying it.” A day later. If that was a convenient Ronald Reagan-esque “I can’t hear you” dodge, he could have chosen better: When your campaign is already rife with more than its share of senior moments, you don’t need to give the press any more ammunition.
Oh wait, the press doesn’t need any ammunition for McCain, because all of their guns are trained on Hillary and Barack.
Rachel Maddow has been railing on the pass that McCain has been getting a free ride on his John Hagee endorsement. When McCain was in New Orleans this week, he was asked finally by a reporter how his visit squared with Hagee’s comment that God was smiting New Orleans with Katrina because of the disproportionately high number of Rusty Trombones and Filthy Sanchezes that would be forthcoming the following week.
McCain responded with an eloquent Obama-like oratory that will no doubt promote reflection and a deeper discussion of the issue between thoughtful Americans. “It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense. I don’t have anything additional to say. It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, I don’t have anything more to say….it’s nonsense. I reject that categorically.”
McCain lost his nut badly somewhere along the way. There are many lucid 71-year-olds out there, but they’re not letting John McCain into the clubhouse. Forget President. He should be sitting at home with a tumbler of scotch writing letters to the editor, complaining to his war buddies about the gooks and the coloreds, and spending his afternoons at the OTB snarling at every loss.
Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the press comes around. They’re hungry lions, and they’ve got a bleeding gazelle that’s completely escaping their attention.