“Electrifying and oh-so vital.” If that sounds like model Melania Knauss testifying about the sexual prowess of her former boyfriend, Donald Trump, guess again. It’s the sound of R.W. “Johnny” Apple of the New York Times‘s page 1 swoon at the feat of John McCain. The conservative Arizona Senator has the odd idea that he can win his party’s nomination by first seducing the national media. It’s a nutty concept, but like bad sex, watching it happen can be highly instructive.
Immediately following the McCain victory in New Hampshire, the Word went forth from Media Conspiracy Central: “We have finally found a potential President who listens to us, who loves us, whom we can train. Immediately cease and desist writing flat-out love letters to John McCain. Republican voters are getting suspicious. Replace them forthwith with love letters disguised as ‘news analyses.'”
The question: Just why are the “liberal media” writing love letters to John McCain?
A. Because he’s antiabortion, anti-gun control, anti-environment, anti-gays in the military, anti-minimum wage, anti-business regulation, pro-wasteful military spending, pro-Star Wars, pro-privatization of Social Security, pro-tax cuts for the rich, pro-impeachment of President Clinton for lying about sex, and pro-war on drugs (unless your name is Cindy McCain, of course, but I hate myself for even mentioning that);
B. Because he is a nice guy, a former POW, he likes to kibitz with us in the back of his bus, returns phone calls pretty quickly, has sensible, er, Democratic, positions on exactly two issues (campaign finance and tobacco), lets his staff have food fights with us in fancy Charleston restaurants (but no sleepovers yet) and, oh yeah, has shown the ability to “grow.”
If the media cared at all about liberalism, then choosing McCain over Bush would be like picking arsenic over cyanide. But ask them to choose between the funny guy who likes to tell dirty jokes over brewskies and one whose campaign is more tightly scripted than Cats (and even more annoying), well, pass me a cold one, dude.
This silliness cuts both ways. Bill Bradley, who is running the most progressive mainstream campaign since Ted Kennedy in 1980, had a chance to steal some of McCain’s thunder. But he choked on the really important stuff. While he had a pretty decent biography, storywise (scholar, athlete, etc.), Dollar Bill refused to play ball when it came to the true determinants of presidential greatness. He did not shmooze. There were no food fights. Hell, the self-important stiff wouldn’t even reveal his favorite movie. No doubt if he actually became President, he would diss Joe Klein over dinner. Unaware of just what country he was running in, Bradley instead issued long treatises on boring stuff like universal (yawn) healthcare. Better to interview Donald Trump and that Melania chick one more time. (And check and see if Warren or Cybill Shepherd might be available, too.)