Saturday, June 07, 2008
This blog has been horribly remiss in sadistic pillories of late, and we can now kick John McCain while he's down after the universal pummeling he took from the punditry in the wake of his Tuesday night debacle. Late to the party again! Still, things have been far too positive around here lately, the blog is turning into Pollyanna-land. Time for the gratuitous, time for a few vaudevillian slaperoos.
My mom flew in Tuesday night and her flight was late, so I orbited around the airport listening to McCain's arresting speech in New Orleans. It was a fascinating, disphonic, disconnected thing which started taking on a gruesome life of its own, and it moved me to think, "Sweet shotguns of Barry Goldwater! There is no joy in Pugville. Things are worse there than anybody knows, and I've got to watch this shit on video."
I did, and it was mesmerizingly bad. How can I describe how bad? First the symbolic venue: so, if you were a Republican candidate for President, would New Orleans be the setting you would choose to bemoan the evils of big government? Maybe if you're David Duke. The visual exposition: white-white man, green-green backdrop. McCain: the organic candidate. Right. He looked about as comfortable as ice cream in a deep fryer. The message: weird talking points which couldn't decide whether to push security or disaster capitalism (one example: "we should be able to deliver bottled hot water to dehydrated babies" WTF??). The delivery: sucked. McCain was like a punch-drunk old fighter shuffling back towards the ropes, gesturing with his gloves and saying, "Punch me, c'mon ya puppy!" At one point, slowly winding up for one of his jabs, he actually closed his eyes and grit his teeth, his smile shifting into a grimace-rictus.
If you want to cheer yourself up with visual evidence of how bad-off the Republican Party is right now, watch the video. The camera pans back at one point only to show that he's addressing maybe 70 supporters, most of them his VP candidates and their families. McCain himself exudes tragedy and paradox. He reminded me of the pained, self-hating Watto, the Star Wars character bound by tradition and overcome with greed. His few objectionably surviving scruples twitch and rebel, pricking through the armor of a career of flip-flopping, through the desensitization of decades in Congress, clear up through the tranquilizer his eyes say he took. His delivery was so pathetic it was endearing. Somewhere, there's a good man under all that pain who is killing himself.