The Bill O'Reilly Of Politics

by dday

I know how many houses I own (that would be zero). That's the difference between me and John McCain.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.

"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."

The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff. Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties.

So his staff is even lowballing it. I've heard as many as ten. Josh Marshall wants to start a contest. Actually you can look at the map of homes here. And as Matt Yglesias says, it's actually a hard question to answer, which should tell you what a man of the people McCain is right there. Obama generously pegs it at 7.

The fabulous life of John McCain is best understood as a burning desire for personal glory. The fact that he pays lip service to the opposite is a dead giveaway. Max Bergmann had the best take: he's a pundit.

Each of those statements from McCain sound like they came from an excited media pundit. Well that’s because they did.

McCain’s approach and tone on foreign policy has always been more emblematic of a tv pundit rather than a sober president. While McCain has attacked Obama as the "celebrity" candidate, the fact is that a bad place to be over the last 25 years has been between John McCain and a TV camera. The New York Times on Sunday noted that one of the first things McCain did after 9-11 was go on just about every TV program - where he incidentally called for attacking about four countries. In its biographical series profiling the candidates the Times also noted that McCain was attracted to the celebrity of the Senate with one close associate noting that McCain “saw the glamour of it. I think he really got smitten with the celebrity of power.” McCain clearly enjoys being on television and he has been a constant commentator on the Sunday news shows and the evening talk news programs.

But TV appearances encourage sound bites, over-the-top rhetoric, and good one-liners, not reasoned and nuanced diplomatic language. This is especially true from guests who are not in the current administration, since you are less likely to get invited back on Face the Nation if you down play a crisis or take a boring nuanced position. Thus on almost every crisis or incident over the last decade, McCain has sounded the alarm, ratcheted up the rhetoric and often called for military action - with almost no regards to the practical implications of such an approach.

And TV pundits make lots of money and maybe don't know how many homes they own, but they don't make for an attractive Presidency. McCain is the Bill O'Reilly of politics, always in the spotlight by making angry, irrational, hotheaded statements, drawing attention to himself with his quick draw, dangerous rhetoric.

A rich, out-of-touch, self-regarding, perpetually angry pundit.

UPDATE: Via yg bluig in comments, in case you thought the McCain campaign couldn't work in a POW reference in response to this one, think again.

(spokesman Brian Rogers) also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.