Gaffes, Hypocrisy, and More
The campaign season that would never end is about to hit an orgasm of journalistic self-love (and love of expense accounts) as the reporters make themselves busy amid VP selections and national conventions. But the candidates themselves aren’t helping, with their own unique ability to create new controversies over gaffes, hypocrisy, and so much more.
The most recent example is John McCain’s stumble over the question of how many houses he owns, opening himself up to attacks of not just not knowing how rich he is, but disarming his greatest charge against Obama (who is an elitist celebrity). So how does he respond? By attacking Obama’s earnings from book royalties, and reminding voters that McCain “spent five and a half years in a home in Vietnam” (i.e. was a POW).
McCain is dangerously approaching Guiliani levels of Turrets here. (Biden’s best line was saying Guiliani’s speeches are nothing more than “noun, verb, and 9/11”.) After all, just about any time he’s criticized for flip-flopping, for warmongering, for a gaffe, or just about anything, he or his staff point back to an event thirty years ago as his excuse.
But he’s done worse. Like arguing for Congress to get back to work from its August recess to pass an energy bill – when he opposing the compromise being put together, and hasn’t been to work himself since April. I guess you learn how to be hypocritical and keep a straight face when you’re a POW.
And on top of that, there’s a story going around the blogosphere that points out the holes in McCain’s story about a guard holding him prisoner drew a cross in the dirt for him on Christmas Eve – even though it’s a similar story to one told about a Christian in Soviet captivity, and McCain hadn’t brought it up until 1999 (even though his 12,000-word essay for U.S. News in 1973 detailed his guards’ homosexuality and other vulgar anecdotes).
McCain loves ancedotes. And he likes to make jokes. At the religious forum last Sunday, Obama tried to be respectful and thoughtful about each question asked of him by the pastor, knowing the serious questions people have of faith in their public leaders. McCain instead cracked jokes and played to the crowd.
Including the hilarious one about how he thought people making $5 million a year were “rich”. He even admitted that might haunt him for saying it, but he did it anyway, and still hasn’t given a clear answer on what he honestly thinks would be a cut-off between middle class and rich.
But it doesn’t stop him from attacking Obama for making $4 million selling books (never mind that McCain’s wife Cindy made more than that from selling beer), or for owning a mansion now (never mind that McCain used to own a mansion, now owns a multi-home “ranch” and almost dozen other homes he can’t quiet pin down for us.)
God I wish this election would hurry up and be over with already.