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Paul Slansky

Paul Slansky

Posted: February 26, 2010 12:10 PM

With All Due Respect

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Lost in the coverage of President Obama's too-gentle smackdown of John McCain at the health care reform summit - I would have preferred to have heard something like, "You know, John, instead of whining about all of my broken promises, why don't you take this opportunity to apologize to your fellow citizens for inflicting that morally-impaired harridan Sarah Palin on them?" - was something sublime that passed this bitter old hack's lips while he was using his allotted time to remind viewers how consumed with resentment he still is about entering the history books as the first white man to lose a presidential election to a (half) black man.

Health care legislation, McCain bellyached, was drawn up not in full public view, as the president had pledged it would be, but was "produced behind closed doors," in the kinds of back rooms that McCain himself had hidden out in decades earlier while working on behalf of his old buddy Charles Keating, architect of the nation's biggest savings and loan collapse. Griped McCain about the health bill, "It was produced with unsavory - I say that with respect - deal-making."

This unctuous blurt epitomizes the shameless hypocrisy that defines the politics of the hate-fueled lunatic right, which our useless media insists on covering as if it was the responsible middle. (The craven spinelessness that defines the politics of the fear-fueled pathetic left is the subject for another post.) McCain called the process "unsavory," but did so "with respect." Let's take a moment to savor that.

And then let's take another moment to appreciate exactly who is so respectfully pointing his pious finger at Obaman seediness. A man who graduated from the Naval Academy ranking 894th in a class of 899. A man who left his disabled first wife for a rich young beer heiress, who, once she was less young, he did not hesitate to call - in front of witnesses whose reports have never been refuted - a "cunt." A man whose frequent explosions of temper earned him the sobriquet "Senator Hothead," and prompted one of those on the receiving end of his disproportionate wrath to observe, "His volatility borders in the area of being unstable." A man who got up in front of a crowd and told a joke whose witless punch line explained why then-17-year-old Chelsea Clinton was "so ugly." A man whose political career was built on little more than having been a tortured POW, but who lacked the guts to vote to ban waterboarding.

And finally, a man whose overriding need to be president - and whose delusional belief that his spluttering, unprincipled essence qualified him for it - led him to choose as his running mate a preternaturally ignorant, demagogic harpy whose entire platform turned out to be unearned umbrage. John McCain's casual willingness - while unironically touting his slogan "Country First!" - to risk placing this rabid witch one cancer-ridden 73-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency makes him, to me, not the patriotic hero he likes to paint himself as, but rather more of a traitor.

And, of course, I point these things out with all due respect. Which is to say, none whatsoever.