This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.
In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.
In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
I’ve discussed this a few times in the past few days (elsewhere, obviously). I’ve found myself living in what is, by most accounts, a battleground state, even though no less a Republican spin-meister than Karl Rove predicts all of Colorado’s 9 electoral votes, as well as 264 others, will go to Barack Obama as he swings a full-on awesome 273 electoral votes and wins the presidency. Yes, that Karl Rove. The same one who said that McCain’s lies have gone too far.
When Karl Rove calls you a liar, you’re way deep in it.