12/01/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John McCain's 'Idiot Wind' Campaign: Dylan Nails It Again

It's always been one of my favorite mid-period Dylan songs (from Blood on the Tracks, for you youngsters), so it was good to see it getting thrust into the final days of the election campaign. I speak of "Idiot Wind' from the mid-1970s. It opens, "Someone's got it in for me/They're planting stories in the press/Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out quick/But when they will I can only guess."

The Washington Post, preparing a lacerating editorial attack against John McCain for his dirty campaign tactics, asked the latest GOP bogeyman, the Palestinian professor/scholar (and Obama acquaintance) Rashid Khalidi, what he thinks of the current uproar. He wrote back briefly, "I will stick to my policy of letting this idiot wind blow over."

The Post then put "Idiot Wind" in its headline.

Indeed, I think when the dust settles, so to speak, next week, perhaps the phrase"Idiot Wind" will endure as the lasting depiction of the McCain-Palin campaign. We don't need a Weatherman, such as Bill Ayers, to know which way the wind blows. He's bringing it all Barack home.

The refrain of Dylan's "Idiot Wind" captures the tone of the McCain-Palin campaign perfectly:

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

And then there's this:

You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies.
One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzin around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.


I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can't remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed,
Your eyes don't look into mine.

And finally:

I've been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I'm finally free,

Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher and its popular new blog, The E&P Pub. His most recent book, on Iraq and the media, is "So Wrong for So Long.' During the 1970s he was executive editor at the legendary Crawdaddy magazine.