John McCain: Still Teh Awesome

February 19th, 2008at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Arianna has a great post on how John McCain still can do no wrong:

Despite an avalanche of evidence showing that McCain the Maverick has long ago been replaced by McCain the Pandering Pawn of the Party’s Right Wing, the press refuses to believe its own eyes.

The latest demonstration of the enormous lag time between the presentation of a new reality and the media’s willingness to update the conventional wisdom comes via those bastions of the traditional media, The New Yorker and the New York Times.

The latest New Yorker features a loving 7,000+ word profile of McCain by Ryan Lizza that portrays him as a moderate who has “the rare opportunity to reinvent what it means to be a Republican.”

Let’s see, McCain has bowed to the party’s lunatic fringe on tax cuts, immigration, the intolerance of religious bigots, and torture… so exactly how is he reinventing what it means to be a Republican? By shortening the amount of time it takes before a candidate is hijacked by the Right, perhaps?


But Lizza doesn’t want to buy it. Even as he lists all the examples of McCain’s “brazen pandering,” he insists that McCain is “principled” and “has a record of sticking to a position even when it puts his political future at risk.” Other than all the times he’s shifted his position in order to advance his political future, I suppose.

The media are so reluctant to give up their entrenched view of McCain that “principled” and “pandering” are no longer seen as mutually exclusive terms. Indeed, that was the animating premise of Nicholas Kristof’s head-scratching column in Sunday’s New York Times: that McCain has become the world’s most principled panderer.

“Mr. McCain truly has principles that he bends or breaks out of desperation and with distaste,” writes Kristof. In Kristof’s through-the-looking-glass world, it’s apparently a higher order of pandering if you start with deeply held core convictions that you trash in the name of political expediency while feeling really bad about it.


In the New Yorker piece, Newt Gingrich, in full stand up comedy mode, claims that McCain’s looming nomination “is the victory of the moderate wing” of the GOP — of which he now counts himself a member! — and that with McCain, “for the first time since Eisenhower, you have someone who has clearly not accommodated the conservative wing winning the nomination. That is a remarkable achievement.”

It says everything you need to know about how strong the Right’s stranglehold on the Republican Party has become that Newt Gingrich, the original barbarian at the GOP gate leading the 1994 right wing revolution, is now considered a voice of moderation. And that capitulating on torture and tax cuts and immigration and intolerance and out-Bushing Bush on Iraq can be seen as “not accommodating” the right….

See, this is why McCain scares me so much as a candidate. No other candidate has more unearned adoration from the media. No matter how blatantly dishonest and pandering he gets, the media will twist themselves into knots to either ignore it or to spin it as further proof of his straight-talking maverick integrity. They have fallen in love with that myth and will not give it up. Even the right-wing pundits who purport to hate him claim that it’s because he’s too independent from the crazy wing of the party.

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Media,Politics,Republicans,Torture

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