May 5, 2008

If You Liked George, You're Going To Love John

His Master's Voice
[Image courtesy of 2MillionthWeblog.]

Last July, I wrote a post entitled The Inexplicable Charisma of Fred Thompson, in which I noted the following:
The cognitive dissonance embodied in John McCain's spiraling campaign, meanwhile, is awful to behold. He squandered the straight-talking, maverick image he carefully cultivated after being tagged as one of the Keating Five, and hitched his wagon to the wrong horse, toadying for President Bush when W was at his zenith and irreversibly associating himself with both the Iraq War and the man who is likely to go down as the worst president in history. Worse, with the memories of what Bush did to him in the 2000 election in the back of his mind, he couldn't pull it off without looking like he was trying desperately to choke down a bucketful of foulness and evil. He knows he sold his soul at a tragic discount, but while it's possible to be sympathetic towards him on some level, that doesn't make him any less worthy of derision.
While it was unquestionably premature for me to declare Senator McCain's campaign to be in a death spriral, recent polling indicates that I was pretty much right on the money with regard to American perceptions of the Arizona legislator's links to President Bush; fully 43 percent of voters say they are concerned that he is too closely aligned with the current adminsitration. (As it turns out, with the ludicrous policy proposals sputtering forth from Camp McCain - apparently based on equal parts hand-waving, smoke, mirrors and pandering - I was also right about the derision part.)

In any case, the press has been doing just about everything it can to resuscitate Mr. McCain's maverick straight-talker image and keep his campaign reasonably appealing to a nation justifiably beaten down by two terms of George Walker Bush. As I described in Holding the Media Accountable:
To date, for instance, Senator McCain has enjoyed coverage that is difficult to describe as anything other than "extremely friendly." He is routinely portrayed as a straight-talking maverick foreign policy expert with a reputation seemingly unassailable, no matter how many times he misstates the relationship of Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda to Shi'ite Muslim Iran or makes claims about the economy that are demonstrably untrue ... The fact that Mr. McCain divorced his first wife after she suffered serious injury in a car accident in order to marry his current, extremely wealthy spouse - with whom he had been carrying on an extramarital affair - or that he was at the very center of the Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal hasn't seemed to matter. While new developments about Senator McCain's apparent influence peddling continue to be unearthed, Senator Obama in particular has had to deal with insipid "issues" like his bowling score and use of the word "bitter" to describe some voters in Pennsylvania.
Make no mistake; the media is without a doubt as big a political force in the 2008 presidential elections as any of the candidates, and not in a good way.

So, how to cut through all of the misinformation, sins of omission and soft-headed press-created narratives clouding the facts and warping the political process? For those inclined to follow the continuing devolution of Senator McCain on an ongoing basis, I recommend Think Progress' McCain tracking page for a good, cumulative review. For those who want the thumbnail version, go ahead and take the Bush-McCain Challenge; its 5 questions amply illustrate how out of touch with the country the presumptive Republican nominee actually is, and how extreme his positions really are. Whichever you choose, however, it will be pretty difficult to draw a conclusion other than that if you liked George, you're going to love John.


Anonymous said...

PBI said...


What an awesome site! Between the borderline inappropriate-for-polite-conversation name, and the collection of Pravda-esque propagandizing from The New York Sun, Larry Kudlow, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post editorial pages - some of the most discredited sources in the American press - it's a cornucopia of material that richly deserves to be mocked!