Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In Search Of: The Real John McCain Episode #1

One of the many cliches I hear repeated over and over again regarding Barack Obama is the mantra like line, "Who is Barack Obama?" It's not like the information isn't out there. He's only written 3 books about himself and his beliefs. It's not as if his every action hasn't been scrutinized, analyzed and recast by every comentator in political and personality driven media.
But, who is John McCain? No one seems to be asking that. He's the Maverick, straight shooter, ex POW war hero. He's a lot of labels, but who is is he?
I admit, I haven't been helpful on my blog, thebrainpolice. I've cast him as a borderline senile unstable maniac with weak kidneys. I have portrayed him as a fake cowboy hero, a frankenstein experiment by the GOP mad scientists that went wrong, but maybe not that wrong. I just portrayed him as a remake of an old Japanese Monster Movie Star....and that's not all.
But I'm not in the buisiness of trying to make John McCain look good and, well, fun is fun.......but who is John McCain?
I first became aware of John McCain as one of the Senators, who in 1986, were involved in the Keating 5 scandal. Small potatoes by todays typical lobbyist and influence peddling pecadillos, but at the time it was big. Keating was a Savings and Loan executive who, in exchange for various regulatory favors, dispensed gifts and money to a bipartisan group of 5 senators. McCain, the young novice, in the long run, reaped the largest benefits.
In a sense, this scandal was the birth of the McCain "brand". Unlike the other four senators, McCain stood up in the Senate and declared himself guilty, but not nearly as guilty as the others....but he still felt bad about what he had done. This went over big with the media as "Senator Admits Guilt!" outranks "Man Bites Dog!" on the news-o-meter.
McCain didn't get the biggest payoffs from Keating. This was because he was a novice senator with very little influence to peddle. He sure wasn't shy about accepting the favors. If he had a problem with the way this business, a form of prostitution, was being done in Washington, you won't find it in the records of the Keating 5 Investigation.
He had his attack of Puritan self righteousness after the fact, an act of political calculation after he was caught, if you will. and yet, from that single incident, the media legend of the straight shooter began to grow and become embellished. A pretty neat trick.
To conclude this first installment in my exploration In Search Of The Real John McCain, I would like to observe that the lesson learned is that pseudo candor, or "Truthiness" as we now say in this enlightened age, usually trumps the genuine article.
John McCain was way ahead of his time here. He doesn't hesitate to flip flop shamelessly if it is in his political interest and he thinks he can get away with it.
Stay tuned for the next Episode #2 of In Search Of: The Real John McCain!

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