Bring It On!

Dorian Gray Aboard the Straight Talk Express

September 19th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

An Unhappy CamperJohn McCain is a changed man. He seems to have gone from scrappy old dude to doddering old dude in the past few weeks. Could it be the addition of Alaska’s First Dude and wife to the campaign that kicked off the whole Republican era of Extreme DudatudeTM?

Rumors have circulated since Palin’s last-minute anointment that McCurmudgeon didn’t want her. His most frequently mentioned favorites were Joe Lieberman or Mike Huckabee, both of whom seem to be better fits than the Palinator. There’s never been a good explanation for the change, but it’s hard to believe America’s POWTM would willingly give up the spotlight without a fight. Perhaps the RNC holds pictures of him in compromising positions with an elephant over his head.

Not that McCain was ever a ball of charismatic fire on the stump, but he seemed to deteriorate quickly from his convention speech on - quite a curious thing for a man who enjoyed a healthy poll bump and who lead Obama for a short time. You’d think he would’ve seemed happy, or at least alive.

Instead, he’s more lackluster than normal. He seemed like a tiny little man eclipsed by his alleged No. 2 at his own convention and appearing to be in snit about it too. After the convention, Palin began co-appearing at nearly all of his campaign stops, diverting from the normal practice of splitting stumping duties. Despite having enough baggage to require a team of hearty Sherpas, she’s clearly now the star and he seems to be there only because it’s too late to take his name off all the campaign signs.

A Pre-Dementia Octegenarian
John’s recent contributions to his campaign haven’t been barn burners. He said the economy was fine thankyouverymuch. The next day it was a full-blown crisis requiring his much despised regulation and a bailout (or not) of insurer AIG. He went on The View to be embarrassed by the least political - but apparently clearest-headed - panelist. Having McPalin do a few solo speeches didn’t last long either. She drew healthy numbers - although sometimes artificially enhanced for better flavor - while he stuck with a couple of dozen people at town hall meetings in East Gish, ME. He even seemed confused over which continent Spain is on. Of course he’s proved in the past that he’s geographically challenged, but at least he could hit the right hemisphere most of the time. He looks, for all the world, like a pre-dementia octogenarian. His body moves slow and his mind even slower.

People on the right and left are calling him an out-and-out liar. Ominously, even Karl Rove thinks he’s running a negative campaign. The old John McCain would have at least responded to his critics with a hearty “f*ck you”. Now the most anger he can muster is to testily tell MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski she’s “in the tank” with Obama. WTF does that mean?

Rumors are beginning to spread about the change, but don’t seem to have solidified into a meaningful metaphor like Bush’s Bubble or Cheney’s Undisclosed Secret Location. To make matters worse, the campaign doesn’t have a good way to respond because they’ve locked down or pissed off most of the media. They need a nuanced narrative out there, but instead they’re sending dumbass shills out to say Email John invented the Blackberry or let Carly Fiorina off her leash to say both halves of McPalin are unfit to run a doughnut shop. McCainiacs, you need to get your guano together.

Star Power Snuffed Out
My theory is this. I think the old man has looked back at what he’s allowed to be done to him and done in his name and realized he doesn’t have a shade of integrity or dignity left. Whether you believe him or not, McCain actually does think he’s a principled maverick, beholden to no one, and ready to stand up to bullies like he stood up to the guards at the Hanoi Hilton. But he’s looking in the mirror and sees Karl Rove on steroids looking back. He sees that he no longer runs his own ticket, it runs him. He sees his modest star power snuffed out by the Messiah. What little remained was stolen by a small town mayor who illegally appropriated funds to make her office look like a whorehouse. Even if you’re more craven than George Bush, that has to be a painful thing to see.

So no, he’s simply going through the motions, muttering to himself about how his previous campaigns imploded. He’s an updated version of Dick Nixon drunkenly walking the halls of the White House and talking to dead Presidents. It’s a painful thing to watch and the saddest part is that he did it all to himself.

The Maverick chose not to fight back when his minions did clearly improper and outrageous things. He chose to become a steer at the point of Alaska’s famous moose-skinner. He parroted unprincipled lies to anyone who would listen because his handlers told him he needed to. He never embraced his position as the world’s greatest Pandermeister, but now he can’t avoid it, and it makes him sick to see it.

When he looks ahead, he doesn’t see a grand coronation/inauguration, dancing with C-Word all sparkly in her $300,000 getup. He sees a vindictive little harpy of a No. 2 who will hog his stage for his entire term. He sees a Bush legacy of more problems than even the best President could handle. Or at best, he sees a loss that will send him back to Arizona consigned to the dust bin of history by his humiliation and age. What he sees in his future is terrifying, the embodiment of being careful what you ask for because you may get it.

In short, he sees Dorian Gray riding shotgun on the Straight Talk Express.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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