Sunday, June 08, 2008

Is a Cranky McCain Suitable for the Presidency?

It sounds like John McCain isn't so happy about entering the "tunnel of unlove" of what's going to be an extremely tough 2008 election campaign. Jonathan Martin of the Politico has a story on how unhappy the McCain camp is getting over media coverage at the beginning of the general election campaign.
. . . [McCain's] campaign has spent the last several months finding ways to insert itself into a press narrative that’s been dominated by the just-ended Democratic fight. To that end, they picked up and extended the media-guilting campaign begun by Hillary Clinton and "Saturday Night Live" and sharpened their critique of Obama.

But in doing so, they’ve already raised the question of whether McCain can maintain his upbeat warrior image while running an uphill race against an opponent for whom the candidate can barely conceal his contempt, and covered by a press the campaign sees as biased.

The cranky edge in McCain's media demeanor can be seen in McCain's responses to questions about Obama in a Newsweek interview that's come up online. Concerning Obama's comments that he honored McCain's accomplishments even if McCain didn't honor his, McCain ended a long response by expressing resentment over Obama's treatment of him.

I think it's important to point these things out, and I will. And I don't believe it's disrespectful to do so. I think it's part of the evaluation process that the American people are doing.

By the way, do you think it's disrespectful for him to have distorted my comment about being in Iraq for a hundred years? Every objective organization in America said that's a false characterization of my remarks in the context of what's necessary to stop the casualties and have a victory, rather than saying we are going to be in a war for a hundred years. I have given other speeches saying we are going to win this
war, and we are winning it now, and he refuses to acknowledge that.

McCain could have stopped by arguing that he wasn't being disrespectful of Obama, but he just couldn't help express resentment over the pummeling he took for his "100 years in Iraq" remark. An underlying problem for McCain here is that the Newsweek interviewers were asking him a number of questions about his opinion of Obama. As spoiled as McCain has been by all the positive media attention he's received over the last ten years, it seemed like he was annoyed that the spotlight is now so much on Obama. Perhaps some of McCain's resentment is that "messiah" seems to outrank "maverick" with the media.

It isn't going to get any easier for McCain either.

Yesterday, the Mail had an online story about John McCain's first wife. Carol McCain was seriously injured by a car accident while McCain was a prisoner of war in Hanoi and ultimately needed 20 surgeries to address the problem. She was also permanently disfigured and it didn't take John McCain long to start sleeping around after he got back.

Ultimately, he traded up for his second wife Cindy.

In a lot of ways, I don't think the story of Carol McCain makes McCain look that bad. To me, the selfishness and immaturity is mostly just human. But the Mail story does take the glow off McCain's war hero image. and probably didn't do for his disposition.

To add insult to injury, Ross Perot (who helped Carol McCain financially while John was a prisoner of war) called up Newsweek to get some payback for old grudges by trashing McCain's character even more.

It makes you wonder how many other people have longstanding grudges against McCain.

In the final analysis, the question isn't about whether McCain can maintain his "upbeat warrior image." It's whether he has the emotional make-up needed to be president over the next four years. If he is elected, John McCain will have the shortest honeymoon since Lincoln's first inaugural. McCain would be facing enhanced Democratic majorities in Congress, an unpopular war and a potentially bad recession.

And he'll be responsible for all those problems from day one.

Aside from loyal supporters like Mark Salter, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham, John McCain will also be pretty much alone as president. Having never had political loyalty himself, McCain won't get any from either the Republicans who loathe him or the Democrats who would think he won because of racism.

The crankiness we see from McCain now will be ten times worse if he becomes president. The bottom line on McCain is that he just can't take the heat

No comments: