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December 14, 2009


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I think that there are two factors behind McCain's conservative shift (e.g., on climate change).

The first involves recent staff changes. Most people have no concept of the extent to which the positions of professional politicians are influence by their staffs; yet another point of leverage for corporate lobbyists seeking to get the most bang for their buck, especially since many of those staff later graduate to private positions within the very companies they formerly worked with as congressional staff:

"The staff that remains, say former aides, lacks the institutional history on the issue and the ability to steer McCain toward productive solutions."

The second factor involves, probably not actual political competition from Hayworth, but the latter's use of his radio show in recent months to hammer McCain for a supposed lack of fidelity to conservative principles. This may have affected McCain's poll results, and in turn his political strategy.

I worried last year that 2008 might be like 1976, an election you would be very lucky to lose. Jimmy Carter got blamed for the economic ravages of inflation even though it preceded his presidency. Likewise, Obama will get the blame for the disastrous economic collapse that occurred prior to his election. As the pundits like to say, it's his economy now.

McCain is one of the nastiest pieces of work ever to get to the US Senate but he can work a room like few others. His legend is mostly a work of fiction but it's seductive in its own way. Particularly for its author.

There were some who thought the Country-First patriot would join Obama in a grand coalition to rescue this nation. Obama reached out but McCain's vanity works only in certain directions. Once he realized the Republicans (and their smarmy Gollum, Joe Lieberman) would successfully obstruct Obama's agenda, the upside vanished. McCain's default reality took over, which is pettiness mixed with incoherence.

He's an empty windbag now but a senator's gig still beats hanging out in a condo in Phoenix staring at Cindy. He'll always be our "straight talker", at least in the media. When he finally dies, they'll cover the funeral like he was a giant of our era. It's painful to think about but this era might really be that bad.

Brilliant stuff Jon, Emil, and Soleri...

I think this Talton point is worth ruminating:

"McCain is against everything. Like his party, he sees nothing wrong with the health care system. The GOP platform on the uninsured and underinsured seems to be: tough luck."

Maybe that's right in a deeper way. Maybe "tough luck" isn't a hard sell anymore. Maybe it is what the American character wants to hear right now: "Tough luck Jack. You are on your own. Work three jobs. Whatever. Bugger off bum." Maybe "tough luck" IS our new operating system. How else can you explain this scenario:

HCR is severely gutted and still 60 teabaggers, with attendant media, show up for a so-called "Die-In" in the halls of Congress. All to protest a lie about lie that doesn't even exist in the bill anymore. And never did.

Now flash backwards a day: Joe Lieberman kills the Medicare buy-in that effectively slices millions of middle-class, aging baby boomers out of some health care security and not ONE PROTESTER SHOWS UP AT HIS OFFICE.

I am totally nonplussed on how to explain these observations. Except to suppose that America's new group think is: "Tough luck. Suck it up sucker."

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