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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

 
Cosmological Flyboy

by digby

Neal Gabler has a fascinating article today in the NY Times about the relationship between St. McCain and his Hannah Montana fanboys in the press. I think he really gets to the nub of the mutual fascination --- and outlines how McCain manages to fool a good number of Americans into thinking he is really a closet liberal despite being a raving wingnut:

Mr. McCain’s joviality and seeming honesty with the press in 2000 constituted a very effective scheme indeed, until it came time to woo actual Republican voters. As Time’s Jay Carney once put it, “You get the sense you’re being manipulated by candor, rather than manipulated by subterfuge and deception, but it is a strategy.”

What makes 2008 different — and why I think Mr. McCain can be called the first postmodernist presidential candidate — is his acknowledgment of the symbiosis between himself and the press and, more important, his willingness, even eagerness, to let the press in on his own machinations of them. On the bus, Mr. McCain openly talks about his press gambits. According to Mr. Lizza, Mr. McCain proudly brandished an index card with a “gotcha” quote from Mitt Romney that the senator had given Tim Russert of “Meet the Press,” a journalist few would expect to need help in finding candidates’ gaffes. In exposing his two-way relationship with the press this way, he reveals the absurdity of the political process as a big game. He also reveals his own gleeful cynicism about it.

This sort of disdain might be called a liberal view, if not politically then culturally. The notion that our system (in fact, life itself) is faintly imbecilic is a staple of “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and other liberal exemplars, though they, of course, implicate the press in the idiocy. Mr. McCain’s sense of irony makes him their spiritual kin — a cosmological liberal — which may be why conservatives distrust him and liberals like Jon Stewart seem to revere him. They are reacting to something deeper than politics. They are reacting to his vision of how the world operates and to his attitude about it, something it is easy to suspect he acquired while a prisoner of war.

Though Mr. McCain can be the most self-deprecating of candidates (yet another reason the news media love him), his vision of the process also betrays an obvious superiority — one the mainstream political news media, a group of liberal cosmologists, have long shared. If in the past he flattered the press by posing as its friend, he is now flattering it by posing as its conspirator, a secret sharer of its cynicism. He is the guy who “gets it.” He sees what the press sees. Michael Scherer, a blogger for Time, called him the “coolest kid in school.

This is the problem. The macho "maverick" is the coolest kid in school and all the breathless media villagers are thrilled to be in his orbit. It's why they are always telling us that his panders don't mean anything. Everybody knows that cool guys think crazy preachers like Falwell and Hagee are losers. It's a show for the rubes. Just like democracy.

It's the same thing that fueled their sophomoric coverage of the earnest Big Bore Al Gore and the green tea swilling ponce, John Kerry. Those flaccid wimps took themselves waay too seriously, with all their dull planning documents and long winded speeches about mortgages and lock boxes and such. JJ the Maverick knows it's all bullshit --- just like they do. Only the half-wit public thinks that stuff matters. In one ear and out the other.

Obama is cool, but not in the proper ironic, post modern way the press loves so much. His call to hope and change is probably going to give McCain and his fanboys a lot of laughs down the road. Look at all the silly hippies. And even if he were a cynic and a ironist, which he isn't, Obama is stuck with the liberal party and they are, like, totally uncool with all their useless blabbering about icky women's issues and goo-goo anti-war crap and talk about poor people. Talk about a bunch of bringdowns.

This relationship between the press and McCain is lethal. They're already subject to GOP narratives about the faggy, mommy party and having their awesome maverick actually in the race is a perfect opportunity to show their cool, manly bonafides. They'll be on the straight talk express no matter what crazy bullshit McCain spews out. Because they know he really doesn't mean it. He's a cool guy, just like them, and they don't mean anything they say either.


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