August 5, 2008


Did McCain Create an HDTV Monster?: The technology he helped bring to market could kill his candidacy (Timothy Noah, May 19, 2008, Slate)

[T]his past weekend, I watched Saturday Night Live with my kids. McCain appeared in close-up in a mildly amusing skit whose purpose (at least from McCain's perspective) was to remove the age issue from voters' minds by turning it into a joke. It worked for Ronald Reagan in 1984; why shouldn't it work for McCain in 2008? With me, though, it had the exact opposite effect. As someone who'd pooh-poohed the age issue, I found myself gasping at McCain's mug as transmitted in glorious HDTV. Wrinkles, blotches, liver spots, scarry tissue—none of these were hidden by McCain's makeup. As McCain cracked wise ("What do we want in our next president? Certainly someone who is very, very, very old."), I found myself thinking, Jeez, he doesn't look like a guy who'll turn 72 this August. He looks like a guy who'll turn 82. (Note to reader: The link I provide to the SNL skit won't give you any sense of what I'm talking about, because the clip isn't high-definition.)

For all I know, McCain is in fine physical condition. If he appears older than his chronological age, that probably has something to do with the torture he endured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam; nine years ago the Arizona Republic reported that he continued to experience "orthopedic limitations" related to his imprisonment, including pain in his shoulders and right knee. But TV is unfair, as Richard Nixon learned when his perspiration and five o'clock shadow helped give John F. Kennedy the edge in the first-ever televised presidential debates. Had HDTV been available eight years later, I'm not sure Nixon could have won the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency.

I'm not the only person who's noticed HDTV's cruel effect on McCain's puss.

The sad fact is that any discussion of Maverick's physical appearance is going to remind Jewish voters of the spiritual characteristic that's most on their minds: John McCain is a Christian. (*)

Better either to leave the whole topic alone, it seems to me, or to address the question of Christophobia head-on.

(*) [Note too the subhead, where "kill his candidacy" is so clearly code words for "this guy ought to be crucified"?]

He Is Who He Is (Tony Blankley, 8/06/08, Real Clear Politics)

It's getting tricky to know how to refer to he who presumes to be the next president. It was made clear several months ago that mentioning his middle name is a forbidden act. (Pass out more eggshells.) Then, having nothing honorable to say, Obama warned his followers last week that Sen.
McCain would try to scare voters by pointing to Obama's "funny name" and the fact that "he doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills." [...]

But He has made it clear that the mere use of His name would be freighted with coded innuendoes of something too horrible to say straightforwardly. One has to go back to Exodus 3:13-14 to find such strict instructions concerning the use of a name. Moses explained: "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I Am has sent me to you.'"

So perhaps we can call Him, for short, Sen. I Am (full code name: I Am who you have been waiting for).

Another aspect of the now-infamous dollar-bill incident that has gone unmentioned is Sen. I Am's choice of the dollar-bill reference itself.

He could have just said He doesn't look like other presidents. Even that is a little too cute for the nasty little point He slyly was trying to make, but at least He would be identifying Himself merely with the universe of American presidents. But His overweening pride found such company too base and demeaning for Him. So He needed to include Himself in the grander company of George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Jefferson and perhaps Andy Jackson. (I doubt He had in mind Woodrow Wilson on the $100,000 bill or Grover Cleveland on the $1,000.)

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2008 8:16 PM

On election night, will Obama be "I never was who I wanted (pretended) to be"?

Will Matthews and Olbermann call him "He still can be"?

Will Hillary say "I told you he never was"?

Will Jeremiah Wright say "He never was without me, and he couldn't be without me"?

Posted by: ratbert at August 6, 2008 12:04 AM

Noah's column reminds of what OJ said yesterday or the day before: every time they mention McCain's age or record, they strengthen the notion of his substance and in turn point out the ethereal nature of his Obamaness (pbuh). The harder they pull, the tighter the noose gets.

As for the Nixon-Kennedy issue, Kennedy at least had a legitimate war record to prove that there was some substance to him. How many super-rich kids today would have served?

Posted by: Dreadnought at August 6, 2008 1:25 AM

McCain's son, for one.

Posted by: oj at August 6, 2008 8:37 AM
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