07/31/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Is Theodoric Of York

The McCain-Bush proposal to suspend gas taxes and offshore-drill our way to lower prices at the pump and out of the energy crisis has been hashed over by analysts across the web and, of course, mostly dismissed as absurd. But that hasn't stopped McCain from pushing the proposal and gaining traction in some quarters as a result.

For the McCain camp, though, the backward-thinking plan represents action. McCain isn't going to sit around hoping for change, he tells us. We're hurting and he's going to do something to alleviate our pain!

But McCain is a hack doctor, his "treatment" certain to exacerbate our sickness -- and as any non-hack doctor knows, even doing nothing would be doing less harm. Opening up our coastlines to the oil industry to begin pumping crude in ten to fifteen years is a comically bad remedy. Removing the government's take from today's booming oil business profits in a period of raging deficit spending is not anything close to leadership. Dr. McCain's prescriptions are guaranteed to increase our agony.

2008-07-23-theodric.pngMcCain has exposed himself as our Theodoric of York, the benighted Medieval sawbones played by Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live. Theodoric is determined to do something for the sick and wounded who enter his barber shop of horrors. What he does is torture and kill them, hacking off limbs, opening veins, twisting necks, all while holding forth with authority on their alleged ills.

THEODORIC: Why just fifty years ago we would have thought your daughter's illness was brought on by demonic possession or witchcraft.

[mom laughs]

But nowadays we know that in fact Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach!"

MOM: Well I'm glad to see she's in such good hands.

The message of the McCain energy campaign is made plain not by the talking point audio of the advertisement but by the dramatic visual. At the center of the spot, meant to drive the message home, is (what else?) a pre-digital-era ancient analog gas pump, a true antique, a relic held over from the mid-part of the last century, the century that is already being called the oil century -- McCain's century.

The "creatives" hired by the McCain camp who worked up this ad apparently didn't get the memo: No really old anachronistic things can appear in any material connected to the McCain campaign. We've already got one of those!