Saturday, April 07, 2007

60 Minutes: McCain Says he Was Unclear

Would you care to re-define "safe," Mr. Senator? (image via reidreport)

On Sunday's episode of CBS' "60 Minutes," Senator John McCain, a man who used to have little need to apologize, will admit that he was unclear on the subject of safety in Baghdad, according to the Gray Lady:

"McCain, in an interview to be broadcast on the CBS News program '60 Minutes' on Sunday, acknowledged that his critics were right: 'Of course, I am going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do it in the future. I regret that when I divert attention to something I said from my message, but you know, that's just life.'"

It was difficult to observe the kidnapped British soldiers, who broke after less than a week of "interrogation" and not think of the old, unsinkable John McCain, who went 5 1/2 years in Vietnam before giving in to blinding torture. The new John McCain is almost unrecognizable from the old "Reformer" John McCain, whom we liked and rather admired once upon a time. (image via scrawville)

It is "just life," Yes, making mistakes; but it is not a life that would have appealed to the old Senator John McCain, leader of the 109th Congress' bi-partisan "Gang of 14 (The Band of brothers)," before he caught "The Bug."

The Bug, for the non-wonkish, is the overwhelming Thumoeideutic ardor that overtakes even the most sober and even-tempered of politicians once they get in the gladiatorial fundament of running for The Presidency. Nixon called it, "In the Arena." The symptoms of this often politically fatal mind-disease are: 1) a quickening of the blood, 2) feverish dreams of Air Force One, and finally, morbidly, 3) an unnatural craving to visit New Hamsphire in the dead of winter and live -- with one's own family -- on a tour bus eating bad, doughey take-out food.

Decent men -- honorable men -- like former St. Louis Congressman Dick Gephardt exhausted his political career in rabid, constant, pursuit of The Presidency. When, in 2004, his energies proved spent, he retired.

McCain, God help him, has caught the Bug. And sadly, he is making a mockery of what he has spent his entire career fighting against. The more McCain makes a proper fool of himself, the more we wonder if Al Gore's conscious recusal of himself from "The Arena," is not so much a coy flirtation as a Philosophical Act of Pure Wisdom. Maybe it is best to withdraw from this soi-dissant Arena before it absorbs one's soul, one's essence, and one's fundamental moral principles. Just look at McCain, the principled fighter on Campaign Finance Reform, the bane of southern aristocratic corporate stooges Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott, now in a frenzied rush to come up with campagn lucre.

And now The senator catches himself on "60 Minutes" in the midst of spouting absurd propaganda about the course of this catastriophic and needless war. The Reformist John McCain of Old would look sadly and resolutely askance at this John McCain of Late, who "does what he has to" to get to a Presidency that he may not even have in the bag. And what will the new McCain do then, defeated, when he has to look himself in the mirror, and spend the rest of his life wrapped an unspooled legacy untangled for naught.

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