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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.