THE BLOG

With All Due Respect

04/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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.