Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top Dog / Underdog

At Left: “Scrappy”—At Right: “Shitty”. Any Questions, Senator McCain?

Beware the party in a contest who goes on and on about their “underdogginess”. That person is almost invariably the player who had all the “ins” and connections and either frittered them all away, or got exposed as an unjustified “favorite” and is now in desperate need of re-defining himself to appeal to the crowd.

The dangerously flawed Senator John Sidney McCain is one such duplicitous crybaby and poor-mouther. The whole Group News Blog family caught wind of McCain's ultrasonic Lassie whining while we were still in Austin at Netroots Nation when Sen. Obama embarked on what could only be called a wildly successful tour of important places abroad. McCain bluffed Obama weeks before, challenging him to make the trip as he was in his eyes, callow and unlearned in the intricacies of foreign policy.

The hope was that Obama would go there and perhaps throw up on a head of state, or hopefully grossly violate the personal space of another one with an unasked-for massage, creating a wonderful YouTube-ready gaffe to splice into McCain campaign ads.

That “gaffe”...needless to say, did not happen.

In fact, something far worse went down. The trip was a damn-near P.R. multiple orgasm for Obama and his crew of handlers / managers (David Axelrod and Susan Rice to name a couple). It started with the “touch me, feel me” meet and greet with troops in Afghanistan where he waded into a crowd of soldiers who seemed unable to let him go. It was all olive drab, camos, goggle-eyes, hugs, handshakes and stunned smiles.

Then it was on to Kuwait, where an ESPN “SportsCenter”-grade “Top Highlight” took place before an audience of troops. The kind of thing that makes regular folks go “Wow!”...and makes an opposing campaign want to eat a broken-glass hero with a “Big Gulp” salt-water brine chaser, because their guy couldn't pull it off on his best day—even forty years and a broken body ago.

It was “The Wee Gator” who hipped us to the above piece of video, and I didn't realize just how much of a P.R. pimp-slap it was until I saw it. Like him or not, there was an easy grace on display—of an emotional / disposition nature, as well as a of an undeniably physical nature. Not so much a swagger as it was actually...a glide.

The whole trip was like that, what with the lunch meeting with the caped, doomed dandy of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, and the wingnut rankling hang-out / personal drive to the airport by Jordan's King Abdullah, with Obama riding “shotgun” in the black-windowed Mercedes 600 like they were long-time cool-out partners rollin' strong in a bangin' ride. He got great photo ops in the Middle East, spoke eloquently there, and wound up having an almost literary-grade written prayer of his stolen by a Yeshiva student and broadcast to to the world, showing again, a level of sophistication of thought and communication that makes Sen. McCain's inane and puerile “Bomb, bomb, Iran” “snap” seem that much more...well, inane and puerile.

The travel was capped off with Obama's European leg of the tour, as things got even worse (for McCain) in Berlin where Obama was greeted by a cheering throng of close to a quarter million people as he spoke metaphorically and powerfully on the perils of division (in that once wall-split city) between America and its allies. And then it was off to France where he hung tough with an ebullient Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President—who said of Obama:

“I wish Barack Obama luck — if it's him, France will be very happy,” Sarkozy responded to a question asking whether his ebullient praise of Obama was an endorsement. Referring to his initial 2006 meeting with Obama in Washington while Sarkozy was preparing his run for the French presidency, the Frenchman recalled, “There were just the two of us in the room, and one became President. Now it's up to the other to do likewise.”


On Friday morning, the conservative daily Le Figaro printed quotes from Sarkozy in which he boasts of having been the first European politician to meet and befriend Obama — and to predict the Illinois Senator's promising future. “Obama, he's my buddy,” Le Figaro quoted Sarkozy as he referred to their 2006 meeting.

The “Go abroad and fuck up” bluff was called and all McCain had was a shitty 2-7 hand (no “suits”) he dared play like he had aces fucking high. It got so bad that the poor schmuck was reduced to a nyah-nyah photo-op nightmare while Obama was in Berlin, Germany.

'You go to Germany and draw a quarter million “Shrprockets” watchers? Okay, I'll see that, and raise you a stirring visit to Schmidt's Fudge/Sausage Haus in Columbus, Ohio's German Village section, Goddammit!' IN...YOUR...FACE!'

TPM's Ben Craw summed it up thusly (and brutally)

Let's just confirm the basics here: John McCain is discussing the most serious issue of his campaign, the war in Iraq, and is harshly criticizing the positions of his opponent, Barack Obama (as he's been wont to do this week) ... in front of a big red sign that reads Fudge Haus while wind chimes ring hypnotically in the background. And the entire scene is sun-dappled. No, this was not a lurid dream generated from watching too much CNN in one 24-hour period, nor David Lynch's foray into political campaign coverage. This was an actual press conference given by John McCain on the same day that Barack Obama gave a speech in Berlin to a crowd of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people.

The only thing missing from this corrosive, through-the-boxspring bed shit was Hogan's Heroes Sgt. Schultz appearing in an anti-Obama “Swift Boat” style ad with a mouthful of “schtrudel” blubbering about how Barack Obama “Knows nufthink, nufthink!”

It nearly got that bad.

Wait...let me amend that. It has actually gotten worse.

We all understand the whole “Way of the Warrior” / Bullshit Samurai / My dog-eared old copy of Sun Tzu from college still-so-fucking-rocks” school of political skullduggery where the object of the game is to turn an opponent's strength into a weakness.

We've got that.

We know that's in Karl Rove's so-called “genius” playbook's first five chapters. We also know that Rove's “genius” mantle has taken several lead pipe blows upside its head post-2004. But, the strategy is still at least on-paper—a sound-ish one. Senator McCain's “people” have adopted it wholeheartedly, hoping to turn Senator Obama's affability and arena-sized popularity into a bad thing, while playing up McCain's stuffiness, “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer” speaking style , and seeming inability to even charm a squiggle of Polident from a tube as folksy, “You gotta like this guy!” positives. If Obama were more unctuous, and scanned as a jerk, this tack could actually work—especially if played with him in the annoying, spoiled, umbrella-protected P-Diddy role. But as seen in the “Basketball in Kuwait” clip, he's NOT that.

The other thing that works mightily against McCain's pushing this spin is that he is, bluntly, such a doddering, ill-tempered gaffe machine that he is almost patently unable to shine as a positive, under-doggy alternative to Obama's confident and smooth BMOC persona. It's one thing to play the Robert Carradine, lovable “Nerd” against the cool guy. It's another thing entirely to be the grumpy, sillyfuck idiot. Not the “Cool Doofus” (alá Animal House's “Bluto Blutarsky”) everybody loves, but the grumpy, sillyfuck idiot who spills scalding coffee on you and then blames you for making it worse by daring to wear a crisp, white shirt.

In his mad rush to embrace all things Reagan, he grabbed a double-helping of Mashed Grandpa, but forgot about the Roast Loin of Affability and the side order of “Cool”.

And desperate to forge a winning persona against Obama, McCain has opted to go with that of the feisty, “scrappy”, underdog who as Christopher Walken would say, “You've just...gotta love”.

His problem? There is a not-so-thin line between “Scrappy” and “Shitty”, and the Senator from Arizona while lusting for the former, is living in the latter.

The whininess, carping, and bitching to the “Refs” (The media) has blown up in his face—in spite of their willingness to follow him home and nibble at the meaty wiener he serves up from time to time. His getting busted in the Landstuhl Air Base lie about Obama's not being able to visit the troops there didn't help either. He has come across as petulant and petty. A “grade-grubbing” eyesore whose not-subtle play as “The Pity-Fuck Candidate™” (copyright TBogg) has worn as thin as a vain, silvery combover.

And then, that desperation having grown like Topsy on HGH, we see a drunken flail like this one:

Again, I can understand trotting out that dog-eared copy of Sun Tzu, but this example of “strength to weakness” is Benny Hill ridiculous. Let's accept the GOP's playing the old “Black Man / Blonde White Chick” ad game they ran on the pitiful Harold Ford for what it is—a not-as-stealthy-as-some-are-playing-it dog whistle to “Purity Ball”-going Angry White Men™, okay? The “nyah-nyah, popularity sucks” whine that dominates the ad's first two thirds is so soaked in Haterade that the videotape is stained green. It offers nothing whatsoever as a positive for ol' PissyMac. What's more, if you want to cast Obama as little more than a faux-popular American Idol-esque candidate who can't really “sing” in comparison to the greats, the cast-er of those aspersions going for the same prize doesn't help himself by coming off as the political equivalent of Idol's William Hung—a creepy, sideshow bereft of talent that entertains with his awfulness, and that you wouldn't really listen to except to mock and deride for said awfulness...while everybody and their Mama knows he has no chance to win.

It's not a “scrappy” ad. It's a “shitty” ad. Borne of flop-sweat and henny-penny yard-running. A windmilling, pinch-eyed screamer of an ad with it's head turned fearfully away from its boxing opponent.

And when you close your eyes and windmill punches, you're always liable to hit someone other than the target you're flailing at. For example: Is conjuring up images of spoiled, promiscuous, blonde, cosmetically-enhanced heiresses really what the McCain campaign calls a “winning” issue for them?



But again, “When you close your eyes and windmill punches, you're always liable to hit someone other than the target you're flailing at.”

Paris' Parents to McCain: How Dare You
Posted Jul 30th 2008 3:59PM by TMZ Staff

This has gotta hurt. We did some digging and found Rick and Kathy Hilton gave the John McCain campaign $4,600 this year, and Johnny boy has now taken a shot at their lil' girl.

According to the Federal Election Commission website, the Hiltons contributed the dough last March. Initially, Rick put up all the $$$ but in April it was split between him and his wife.


The ad has stirred another controversy, as McCain has seemingly bit the hand that feeds him, namely the Hilton clan, Kathy and Rick who gave a large chunk of dough for his presidential campaign.

The ad says, “The biggest celebrity in the world but is he ready to lead?”
Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton are spitting mad with the McCain camp. It seems they now feel their daughter Paris is being slagged unfairly.

Just. Fucking. Brilliant. He not only manages to come off as a whiny-ass-titty-baby, but he adds insult to injury via pissing off toney-assed rich folks by slagging the daughter of one of 'em after cashing a fat campaign check from 'em. It smacks of disorganization, desperation and a level of doltishness you don't usually see in modern-day campaigns where people are paid lots of money to know who's a contributor and to know who not to take a PR dump on. He's managed to make the un-shame-able Hilton look like something of a victim of a cheap hit-job here. And quite frankly, the whole issue of his being woefully “out of touch” with the modern style and speed of political campaigns rears its ugly melanoma-ed head again here.

For one thing, these gaffes are the sort committed by someone operating like it's 1992—before there was an internet or heavy competition in the 24-hour cable news biz, or a blogsophere to call an idiot on his bullshit and screw-ups immediately. He seems to operate in a world where he thinks it's only Chancellor, Reasoner and Cronkite at the wood-paneled anchor desk—with D.C.'s Jack Anderson bustin' the keys on his Olivetti twice a week and just maybe if those “few” outlets miss his screw-ups and don't hold him to account on his lies, he'll somehow be okay. But...the lies and misstatements are now immediately called out—much to the senator's temple vein-pounding chagrin.

And this may seem a small issue, but dragging Britney and Paris out as comparable paragons of popularity is um...kind of 2006-2007 quite frankly. The creepy debs and hoochies du jour are folks like Kim Kardashian, Tila Tequila, and (“Yeccccch!”) trash like “The Hills” Heidi Montag. As we say around the way Senator McCain, “You late, son!”

But what would you expect for a would-be leader of the free-world who needs someone to teach him that booting up a computer doesn't mean kicking the shit out of it? Hmmmm?

There's nothing good in this for him. No positives to extract. To paraphrase Animal House's Dean Wormer “Pissy, out-of-touch and desperate is no way to go through life.” And what we are watching here is the not-so-slow shift of a man moving from being merely “Dangerously Flawed” (as if that's a small thing) to “Monumentally Stupid”. The former being bad for America, and the latter...being a sad and ugly denouement for him.