Sunday, October 05, 2008

i knew john mccain was an opportunistic jerk. it was apparent early in his presidential campaign, as he reached out to embrace the agents of intolerance as eagerly as he came to embrace many bush administration policy positions that he had at least initially opposed (though whether from principle or because, pre-9/11, he intended to run against bush for the 2004 republican party nomination), like tax cuts and torture.

i knew he was a jerk when i first heard the story of how he dumped his first wife after she got in a car crash and wasn't beautiful anymore, going on to marry an heiress twenty years his junior, who was.

but it wasn't until i read this in rolling stone that i began to understand just what an unbelievably gigantic fucking opportunistic jerk he really is.

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.

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