Can it be love?

I think so.

Although James Wolcott doesn't seem terribly in love with John McCain. Not if this venom-dripping screed is any indicator:

I'm watching "maverick" John McCain on Fox News Sunday.

I hereby declare Operation Reach-Out over. There's no reasoning with these madmen. Certainly not this insatiable warrior.

At the time I thought my friend Camille Paglia might have been a wee tad hyperbolic when she wrote for Salon during the 2000 campaign:

"The TV camera does not lie: Just as it showed from the get-go that ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was a nervous, shifty, sweaty, petulant mental adolescent, so has it exposed McCain over time as a seething nest of proto-fascist impulses. Despite his recent flurry of radiant, P.R.-coached grins, McCain has the weirdly wary and over-intense eyes of Howard Hughes and the clenched, humorless jaw line of Nurse Diesel (from Mel Brooks' Hitchcock parody, 'High Anxiety')."

In another Salon column, Camille described McCain as a "choleric hawk," "a manipulative waffler with a mediocre legislative record."

On Fox, his eyes are less lasering, his jawline more relaxed, but a choleric hawk he remains, so fanatically hawkish that he opposes a drawdown of US troops in Iraq: "We don't need to withdraw--we need more troops there," and should reinforcements be unavailable, we should maintain current troop levels so that the newly trained Iraqi units aren't replacements for departing US troops but a "supplement" to them.

Chris Wallace pointed out that the leaks and hints coming from the military brass and the Def Dept are signaling withdrawal at the same time the President is refusing to set deadlines and timetables--why is that?

"I have no idea."

There's more such lovey dovey sweetness:
McCain will hear none of this defeatist talk. "We can't afford to fail," he emptily intoned, and then cleaved to Bush, claiming that Bush is no cold-hearted monster with no time for a Cindy Sheehan, no:
"He cares, and he grieves."

Message: He cares. Bring 'em on. Watch this shot.

It was also clear from the tone of McCain's remarks that he favors military action against Iran. It's difficult to think of any military action he wouldn't favor.

This man is too dangerous to let anywhere near the presidency. He's simply Dick Cheney with a better backstory.

I've been more disappointed in McCain than in any politician ever before (McCain-Feingold came close to high treason), but Wolcott's making him look downright attractive. He's making me like McCain against my better judgment.

No question about it; Nightingale Wolcott really can write! But is this any way to help Hillary?

Such blind devotion is so touching that I'm almost touched.

posted by Eric on 08.16.05 at 10:39 PM


That's just was I was thinking as I read this. If McCain can cause this kind of reaction in Wolcott, maybe I need to give McCain another look-see. Wolcott never goes for reasoned argument where a small-minded put-down will do.

Scott   ·  August 16, 2005 11:15 PM

Hmmm.... Very interesting. This James Wolcott has been an interesting foil of yours in some ways. Yes, I can see that he could have an affinity with Camille Paglia. I stopped reading Salon after Camille Paglia quit writing there. I have always either violently agreed or violently disagreed with her opinions, but I find increasingly now that I agree with many of the judgments that I had at that time disagreed with her. The two I can think of at the moment are her positive assessment of Bush and her negative assessment of McCain.

In the 2000 Republican primary, I voted against Bush and for McCain. I admired McCain primarily because of his conduct as a P.O.W. in Viet Nam. That he may be a hawk is a plus in my eyes. Unfortunately, as we saw with the McCain-Feingold Strangulation of Free Political Speech Act, he is also a statist, not that different from Hillary Clinton or other Democrats. I would be hard put to choose between them.

Camille Paglia has an excellent visual, intuitive, Right Hemisphere, sense of things.

The irony is that I really like Wolcott's writing; I just disagree with his thinking.

Can such things be?

(There are plenty of people who think the same way as Wolcott who bore me to tears. I'd never bother with them, because they don't stimulate my imagination the way Wolcott does. Who knows why?)

Eric Scheie   ·  August 18, 2005 10:38 AM

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