Sunday, April 29, 2007

Revisiting John McCain's Journey Up His Own Ass (and other bits and bobs)

Wow. It is, of course, old news that presidential "hopeful" John McCain is probably drawing more on hopefulness than realistic chances to win, and old news that he has must needed to suck up to conservative Republicans rather than his erstwhile large moderate base in 2000, but I hadn't really put it together as succinctly as this (via Slate's Today's Papers from a story in the WaPo): "Ron Kaufman, a former aide to Bush's father, gives us the best take on McCain's alternating praise and criticism of Bush. He bluntly states, 'It's ironic that McCain spent eight years sucking up to the White House, and now it's a negative.'"


He's right, though. I was one of those taken in by McCain's seeming moderatism and "Straight Talk" in 2000, going as far as thinking of voting for him then (had he won the nomination) and after 2000 settling on him as someone who, at least, I could tolerate as an honorable-ish politician, someone with whom you could disagree on priniciple but respect that he had conviction of his beliefs.

HA. How naïve, hoh boy. It's interesting to see, however, how much his extreme ass-kissing and sticking his head so far up his own ass he somehow ended up inside Bush's has backfired. I now think McCain was never that great shakes -- I mean, if he can't even keep up his "Man of Principle" Act throughout an unpopular war and unpopular president and falls on his sword to get a chance at the gold ring again before it's even in sight, well, how much principle would he keep to as an actual president? People aren't known for their bold, radical moves of principle after they enter a presidency (though one could argue Bush did do the bait-and-switch of moderatism and ended up making bold, radical moves of principle, at least as far as principles that apply in his own dreamworld. But I'm not sure bold and radical in this case don't stem from being a dipshit as much as "principle". And I suppose you could call it "principles" to follow your beliefs no matter what they lead to and who they kill, but that's not any kind of good principles people are usually referring to.)

All that puckering up to Bush, and it turns out that an ass is just an ass. Oh, sweet schadenfreude.

I have long been skeptical of McCain -- after all, he was not only a long-time politician, he was a Republican. He talked good on Global Warming, for example, but I read numerous articles laying out how he didn't spend his considerable political capital (now somewhat diminished) to actually get substantive bills through. He did go to the mat on campaign finance, which, most agree, hasn't really worked. (I still don't understand the intricacies of how and why it does and doesn't work, but at least he was working in an area I cared about.) Of course, when he REALLY went to the mat, all the way, offering his hindquarters up like an animal in heat, was for Bush after he lost the nomination in 2000 (in part due to dirty tricks, duly recorded and verified, such as Bush supporters spreading rumors of McCain's "illegitimate black child," presumably based on the RealFact that McCain has an adoptive Bangladeshi daughter. He says he's "very good, friendly relationship" with Bush in a 2004 interview on Democracy Now!. He has since, in order to try and win the Republican nomination, backstepped on his criticism of Bob "No interracial dating" Jones University and has spoken at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

That, of course, in addition to merrily speaking up for Bush in his 2004 speech.

Of course, I seriously questioned what world McCain was living in anyway when, on (I think) NewsHour with Jim Lehrer years ago, he said something to the effect that he didn't believe any of his colleagues in Congress were corrupt, or took bribes. This could be dismissed as normal politicking, but he repeatedly stuck up for it under questioning, saying that there had been occurences of bribery and corruption in the past, but he seriously didn't believe any of his colleagues were subject to such things. Considering that this was still in his supposed "straight talk" days, and that Tom Delay was still in Congress, then, frankly, give me a fucking break. I don't cotton to lies that insult my intelligence; I feel if you're going to lie, at least make it entertaining (or give it the sarcastic bite McCain sometimes used on The Daily Show to give a wink to his necessary kowtowing and politicking).

In utterly other news, MarketPlace on NPR just had a story about local currencies popping up in Europe alongside the Euro. Such currencies, like the "berliner", are apparently not even meant to supplant the Euro or simply represent exercises in Nationalism, but rather to emphasize a local resistance to globalization and embrace of local variety, and to encourage patronage of local businesses. Hear hear, what a good idea! This is an idea worth revisiting in the future. In the meantime, a relevant quote from one of the founders of modern economics, John Maynard Keynes (and apparently originator of the phrase "In the long run, we are all dead"):
"Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel -- these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let good be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible; and, above all, let finance be primarily national."

This, of course, is dismissed by people who are otherwise pro-Globalization Keynesians as him being creaky and soft-headed in a moment of weakness, but there you go.