Tuesday, August 19, 2008

David Brooks, Party Fabulist

David Brooks besmirches the editorial pages of the New York Times today with an alibi for John McCain. It's essentially the same one Scotty McClellan was recently tossing off for the Bushies; it's like something from the cover of a pulp novel about ducktailed delinquents and the teen sluts who loved them, "They wouldn't let them be good."

It's the System's fault, Brooks basically asserts. The once saintly, famously straight-talking John McCain (like W before him) has devolved into a serial liar and all-round scumbag, because that's the only way to "win" in today's post-Edenic media climate. Of course, as is typical of such macho-fascists who do not do nuance or introspection, Brooks chooses "authenticating details" which reveal far more about himself and his subject than he intends. Writing of the weekly Republican lunches where party talking-points and armbands were issued, he alleges:

John McCain generally spends the lunches at a table with a gang of fellow ne’er-do-wells. He cracks jokes, razzes the speaker and generally ridicules the whole proceeding. Then he takes the paper with the Message of the Week back to his office. He tosses it on the desk of some staffer with a sarcastic comment like: “Here’s your message. Learn it. Love it. Live it.”
This sort of behavior has been part of McCain’s long-running rebellion against the stupidity of modern partisanship.

That's one way to read "this sort of behavior." Another, more plausible one, is: indicative of superannuated adolescent narcissism, of the class rich-kid's reflex contempt for everything that doesn't aggrandize himself (rather like W's penchant for nicknames like Turdblossom), and also his love of getting cheap laughs at his lame jokes from his sycophantic subordinates.

This reading accords much better with John ("You stupid cunt!") McCain's actual history, than with the rebranding hagiography (A Different Kind of Republican) that Brooks is dutifully trying to recycle from the 2000 runup. We should be very wary of it, shout it down at every chance. McCain, let us remember has been a full-time sleazebag all his life, far more like W (spoiled, mean, unprincipled and stupid) than has been reported. This is perhaps why his supposedly different campaign has been run by Bushians and the summiest sort of K Street profiteers.

In any case, apropos the Straight Talk, last night I happend to catch a snatch of the hideous Saddleback travesty wherein John McCain was asked to discuss his "greatest moral failing." I had a thrill of a suspense wondering if Saint John, could, unlike the sociopathic Bush admit to any moral failing. This was dispelled when, with an Oscar-worthy catch in his voice McSame replied, "My greatest moral failing, and I have been a very imperfect person, is the failure of my first marriage."

I doubt very seriously that this really constitutes McCain's greatest moral failing (I'm sure there have been many, many pimpings of the public trust with graver consequences), though it is probably the one that the cretinous Saddleback audience gets chubbies over. But it's worthwhile to parse the exculpatory strategy of McCain's locution. His failing was "the failure of his first marriage." He makes it into a thing that somehow just happened, like a bridge failure or the failure of an electircal relay. McCain the sociopath, and McCain the candidate (of course), is utterly incapable of straight talk here, for that woukld have required him to say, "My greatest moral failure was the desertion of my crippled first wife."

That might not have played so well with the Fox fans.


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