Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Paul Slansky Headshot

Yes, Apology Necessary

Posted: Updated:

Regardless of which poll you look at, forty-something percent of the people who will decide the fate of the country believe that it's an acceptable risk to place the ludicrous Sarah Palin one 72-year-old, cancer-ridden, given-to-apoplexy John McCain heartbeat away from the presidency.

Think about it. At least four out of every ten voters polled -- and but for the collapse of the economy it might even be more -- have said that it's okay with them if someone who they'd never even heard of eight weeks ago -- and about whom they've since learned is a compulsive liar, a proud ignoramus, a vapid self-promoter, a rageful hypocrite, an intolerant extremist, and a cold-blooded demagogue - becomes PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [exclamation marks unto infinity]

Still, for sanity's sake, let's assume that the utter fiasco that was the George W. Bush administration -- bookended by 9/11 and the bailout, and with Katrina bobbing around in the middle -- has finally driven a stake through the heart of the forty years of political ugliness that began with Nixon's racist "Southern strategy." Let's say the intelligent still outnumber the obtuse, by however shrinking a margin, and Obama wins. With the pressure of the campaign off, the loser will be free to resume his wild mavericky ways, and the press will celebrate the return of "the old John McCain."

Not so fast. John McCain was fond of saying, back in the day when the ability to instantly take over as president was being touted as his number one consideration in a running mate, that "Senator Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election. I would rather lose an election than lose a war." What he didn't tell us was that he'd rather lose every shred of honor and dignity he ever had and put the entire country -- and by extension, the world -- at risk than lose an election. There must be accountability for this egregious performance. John McCain owes America -- this country that he claims to put "First" -- one humongous apology for Sarah Palin.

John McCain's desire to be president -- not to do anything great as president, he obviously doesn't care about that, but just to be president -- led him to pick as his running mate not just the least qualified person ever nominated for national office but quite possibly the least qualified person imaginable. (Of course, President Palin wouldn't be his problem. He'd already be dead.) This man whose entire campaign theme -- whose entire raison d'etre -- is "patriotism" committed an act so contemptuous of the country he professes to love that it borders on treason.

Of course he didn't think up the Palin stunt himself. Obviously there were plenty of cynical people who saw -- as it turns out, with 200-200 vision -- that she could help them win. But McCain's at the top. The final decision was his. The fact that he was too weak to say no is not an excuse. Add to that his willingness to run the kind of hate-fueled campaign that he knows the repulsiveness of from first-hand experience and it seems clear that there has to be some acknowledgment of the enormity of what he's put his beloved America through.

Before John McCain is allowed to resume his position as a popular and respected fixture among the Washington press corps, before he's allowed to turn up on those Sunday morning circle jerks offering critiques of the Obama administration, before he's accepted back into polite society, he really should have to grovel a bit.

I'm just sayin'.

UPDATE: Several comments have prompted me to set a few things straight.

I am not suggesting that McCain SHOULD ever be allowed back into polite society after the grotesque spectacle of the past several months. I'm simply assuming that, given the free pass that the "left-wing" media seems to give to all Republicans -- and given its past fondness for him -- he WILL be. Nor do I think he's a figure worthy of respect or possessed of honor. I'm simply observing that this is how he's been treated by that same craven media.

To me, the man who told the vile joke, "Why is [then-18-year-old] Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" is far from honorable. The man who consistently offered up his POW experience as a protective shield against any criticism of his current actions has traded his heroism for shame. The man who hired the same scumbags whose scurrilous robo-calls victimized him eight years ago to trash Barack Obama has earned my scorn, not my reverence. The man whose campaign has devolved into a greatest hits compilation of inflammatory epithets -- "Socialist!" "Terrorist!" "Anti-American!" -- deserves not veneration, but rather contempt. And of course, the man who abandoned his disabled first wife in exchange for the beer heiress second wife who he once called a "cunt" in front of strangers has revealed a callous vulgarity that completely disqualifies him from admiration.

I'm surprised that the above piece was deemed by some to be insufficiently harsh, but I trust this clears things up.