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John McCain Should Probably Stop Calling Barack Obama "Dr. No"

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"While John McCain is putting the country first with the best ideas from both parties, Barack Obama has become the Dr. No of energy, refusing to accept any idea that will contribute to solving America's energy crisis."

-- McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds

"In addition to being the Dr. No of energy policy, Barack Obama also has revealed that he doesn't understand the fundamentals of a modern financial market..."

-- McCain policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin

"It's just very clear at this point that Senator Obama is Dr. No on energy security."

-- McCain spokesman Brian Rogers

Hugh Hewitt: "Last question, Senator. About your nuclear plans for 45 new plants, and congrats on that, by the way, Obama said today that it's not serious, it's not new, it's not the kind of energy policy that will give families the relief they need. Your reaction, Senator McCain? We've got about a minute."

John McCain: "Dr. No, Dr. No, Dr. No."

In case you haven't picked up on it, John McCain and his guys think Barack Obama is kind of like Dr. No.

Dr. No -- get it? He doesn't like nukes, or a gas tax holiday, or a national drilling spree - that's the "no" part. And he also thinks he's sooo smart -- that's why he's a "doctor."

He's such a killjoy, always shooting down all the coolest ideas, just because they don't make any sense in terms of "economics" or "science."

It's a zinger all right.

You can also see why, on a purely personal level, the "Dr. No" tag would strike McCain as such a gutbuster:

1) It's a novel about a guy who gets heroically captured by Asians and has the crap tortured out if him.

And

2) It's from 1958.

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It's too bad Hillary didn't get the nomination. He'd be getting her good for her resemblance to Mame.

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You get the feeling that selling John McCain an idea is like tricking your math teacher out of giving you a test by asking him about the war.

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But did anyone on Team McCain stop to think this through? Before they all went out to repeat this knee-slapper, did anyone bother to skim through the novel? They really should. Because saying "Dr. No" over and over and over and over is either a brilliant subliminal appeal to racists who enjoy mid-century genre fiction or it's a really, really tone deaf thing to call a man with a mixed-race background.

Dr. No is the illegitimate son of "a German Methodist missionary and a Chinese girl of good family." But you wouldn't know it from looking at him, since he admits, "(I) "had all my hair taken out by the roots, my thick nose made thin, my mouth widened, my lips sliced."

He's an ambitious intellectual: "I hid myself in the academic world," he brags, but only as a means to an end:

"I would proceed to the achievement of power -- the power, Mr. Bond to do unto others what had been done unto me."

He's an ideologue, but he's also in it for the money. The Russians are behind him now, but he's open to other offers:

"Perhaps communist China will pay more. Who knows? I already have my feelers out."

And he's got name issues:

"I changed my name to Julius No - Julius after my father and the No for my rejection of him and all authority..."

(... and Hussein, because it means "stud" in Arabic. No, I added that part.)

And what evil is afoot in Dr. No's Jamaica, besides hating America? Miscegenation.

"(The Chinese) keep to themselves and keep their strain pure." Pleydell-Smith laughed. "Not that they don't take the black girls when they want them. You can see the result all over Kingston - Chigroes - Chinese Negroes and Negresses. The Chigroes are a tough, forgotten race. They look down on the Negroes and the Chinese look down on them. One day they may become a nuisance. They've got some of the intelligence of the Chinese and most of the vices of the black man."

Okay, you and I know it's just a happy coincidence of slurs, and it's not like John McCain wrote it. But, then again, it's not like Barack Obama ever said goddamn America.

It's not that Dr. No is a bad book -- nearly a tenth of it is about torture, and torture is swell -- it's just not the sort of book you want to introduce into this campaign.

But is it really such a big deal? (There's nothing I hate more than petty gotcha politics about symbolic minutia. Like, I dunno, flag pins or the words "bitter" and "cling.") All they're doing is comparing the Democratic nominee to a half-breed communist super villain. Let's turn it around. What if Obama spent the next week calling McCain Dracula?

No offense, right?

He wouldn't really be calling him a macabre horny corpse that only sunlight can stop. He'd just be kidding around. About his energy policy.

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We're told that Obama doesn't understand foreign affairs. Here's some clear-eyed realpolitik from Dr. No:

"The Jamaican is a kindly lazy man with the virtues and vices of a child. He lives on a very rich island but he doesn't get rich from it. He doesn't know how and he's too lazy."

"The British come and go and take the easy pickings, but for about two hundred years no Englishman has made a fortune out here. He doesn't stay long enough... It's the Portuguese Jews who make the most."

We're told that Barack Obama might be good with words, but words aren't everything. Here's how black people talk in Dr. No:

"Somepn comin' across de water, cap'n! It de dragon fo sho!"